Giant potholes have left jobs in jeopardy after hauliers started refusing to travel to a meat company over safety fears.
The Traditional Meats Company in Dromone, Oldcastle, Co Meath, says it is in danger of losing contracts over the potholes, which recently activated an air-bag in a lorry driving over the dangerous crevices.
Plant director Frank Twomey says he may be forced to lay off some of his 45-strong staff unless trucks can access the factory to load products for export markets. He said: “We are looking to ship our product 2,000km to France and Europe and it is the 200m approach to the factory that is an issue.
“There is a huge problem in north Meath with potholes and it’s now affecting our business. The haulage company is refusing to come back up the road to the factory and you can’t blame them as it cost them €500 to replace the air-bag suspension.”
At present, more than 50 trucks visit the beef processing plant each week to deliver and collect produce and most drivers have already expressed their concerns for damage to their vehicles to Mr Twomey.
Truck drivers are actually asking to start a petition in support of the company, according to Mr Twomey.
He added that the company had applied to Meath Co Council more than 18 months ago to take part in a Community Involvement Scheme and contribute 10% of the costs of roadworks.
However, the council says that after costing the works earlier this week, there is not enough monies left in the scheme to fund the €40,000 needed for full repairs. The Traditional Meats Company puts about €19m annually into the local economy through the purchase of meat from local farmers.
As well as levies and rates, the company pays out €22,000 in motor tax but in recent times has had to shovel gravel into the potholes to make the road passable for vehicles. “Where are our motor tax levies going?” asked Mr Twomey.
“Even if they did fill in the potholes, that’s no use as the road would just disintegrate. The road needs to be totally resurfaced.”
Meath Co Council said: “It was suggested to Mr Twomey that he apply for the scheme next year. The council will also consider that section of road for restoration under the roadworks programme in 2015. In the meantime, pothole repairs will done in the next three to four weeks.”
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