11th August 11, 1823
[Extract from Mr. NIMMO’s Report on the Western District.]
‘The plains of Connaught are in general numerously provided with roads. These seem to have been multiplied in a degree which the country is hardly able to support. A great many of them having got into bad repair. The Counties have confined their expenditure to the leading post roads, and are endeavouring to form those of broken stone.
Materials of the best description are, in general, in abundance – but the original construction of the roads having been exceedingly unskillful, both in direction, level, and the repairs carried on by a class of persons who make a trade of it.
There is no attempt at operating a permanent improvement; the less labour bestowed on the road, the cheaper the work can be done by the perch, and the easier for the persons actually employed, who are not, properly speaking, paid for what they do, but have the amount of the presentment allowed by their landlord, as a set-off against the rent of their holdings. a
“In the county of Galway I found nearly all the money presented at spring assizes had been issued in the way I have above stated. I endeavoured to improve the system, as far as the public was concerned, by giving a few simple directions for making the road of a proper shape, picking out stones, cleaning the drains, breaking the new materials properly, and combining them with the old. I established a system of inspection to see that this was done; and on the other hand, took care that each labourer should be paid his wages in person, leaving him then to settle with the landlord as he might think fit.
“For these reasons, the presentment roads have been mostly executed by the perch, under the original overseers. In a few instances it appeared advisable that an additional sum should be laid out for work not contemplated in the presentment, in order to have the road completed in a proper way. Of this kind, the road from Tuam to Galway may be instanced; being, after the mail coach lines, the most leading road in the province, and which would have been left very imperfect, if the presented portion only had been repaired”.