Drive down many a county road of late and you’ll have met one, two or in some motorists’ daily experiences, a half dozen potholes.
Once considered a tarmac infestation exclusive to Cavan and the inspiration for many a Niall Tobin joke, potholes, like dole queues, are, regrettably, back in fashion.
Byroads close to the new routes taking shape along the Suir Valley have taken quite a battering over the past 18 months.
While politicians await the photo opportunity that the opening of a bypass/motorway always brings, Joe and Josephine Citizen are having their cars re-aligned to cope with their pothole dipping, often unavoidable due to oncoming traffic.
Loaders, trucks and heavy machinery of all description have been the creators-in-chief of these water-filled irritants, sending many behind the wheel on a visit to the local mechanic.
Picking up on this increasingly prevalent mood, IFA Countryside Chairman David Wilkinson spoke last week about the impact caused by poorly kept roads on the rural economy.
“The deteriorating condition of many secondary rural roads, with some of them hardly drivable, has the potential to damage local economies and cost jobs in rural communities,” he said.
“However, this pales in significance to the very serious risk of accident and injury that rural road users encounter on a daily basis trying to avoid potholes and collapsing verges.”
Added Mr Wilkinson: “Rural dwellers and businesses are insisting that an immediate plan of action is put in place to address the issue.”
He called on Transport Minister Noel Dempsey to establish an all-party action committee of Councillors in each county, so that the worst affected country roads could be prioritised and remedied.
But Mr Wilkinson has issued a request to roads users to play their part in reaction to the increasing (deepening, widening) pothole problem.
“We are asking road users to assist us in getting our message across to politicians. They can do this by taking a photo of a pothole, verge collapse or any other example of a road in a poor condition with their camera or mobile phone and sending it into us.
“We will forward all images received to the relevant County Council for action.”
* Pictures should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, 087-9036910 or the old-fashioned postal way to: Rural Roads Campaign, IFA Countryside, Irish Farm Centre, Dublin 12.