East Derry Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Ó hOisín has expressed his concern over the level and amount of claims made against the Department for Regional Development for damage caused to vehicles or injuries sustained due to unsatisfactory road maintenance.
Speaking after this weeks Regional Development Committee meeting which received a briefing from Departmental officials Mr. Ó hOisín said,
“In a recent Ministerial question it was revealed that in the last five years nearly 15,000 claims have been made against the department.
“Of these claims 4849 were for personal injury and 10,024 for vehicle damage.
“Whilst a large percentage of the injuries claims were unsuccessful, over 55% of the vehicle damage claims were successful.
“These figures I believe do not reflect the overall amount of damage to vehicles due to drivers not reporting because of the complexity of proving the onus of responsibility on the driver and the requirement to prove negligence of the Department.
“While it is right and proper to scrutinise all the claims it is also right that motorists were not being penalised for damaged and unfinished workmanship such as raised ironworks and kerbing or roads that have fallen into disrepair.
“The Minister Danny Kennedy must act now to ensure a programme of repair works as the money spent on claims could well be used in maintaining a safe and proper road network.”