Painter wages war on pot-holes: Alan Murdoch goes on the road with the safety campaigner of Cavan, who has a colourful way of highlighting danger

THE YELLOW HOLES of Cavan may sound like a country and western lament, but in the neighbourhoods of Bailieboro and Cootehill they are the stuff of angry political debate.

The county's pot-holes have prompted Martin Hannigan to take the law into his own hands. Every weekend he spends night-time hours painting around the craters in glaring yellow. Particularly deep chasms get giant arrows, or the words 'STOP' and 'DANGER'.

His efforts are aimed at embarrassing the authorities into action, and do indeed tend to be followed by filling-in jobs by council workmen. When the fancy takes him, he leaves a sign announcing: 'Pot-holes courtesy of Cavan County Council.'

Hauliers say pot-holes add to costs in vehicle repairs and slower deliveries. Mr Hannigan has a collection of hubcaps dislodged from cars, trucks and milk lorries after hitting the holes, which also rip tyres and destroy exhausts.

Police officers privately praise the doughty campaigner's highlighting of potential hazards. People buy him paint and write grateful letters to the local paper, The Anglo-Celt.

Mr Hannigan, by day a stainless steel polisher, has a boiler suit emblazoned with the words 'Pot-hole Terror'. He is losing patience, and is now withholding his car tax until he discovers where a recent 20 per cent rise is going. 'It isn't being spent here,' he insists.

He has gone on hunger strike for better roads, once for 48 hours and last September for 13 hours at the place where a pot-hole-related crash almost killed a motorist.

Undertakers have even had to arrange road repairs before their hearse can collect a person's remains, Mr Hannigan says. 'They make you wait till you're dead round here before you get your road fixed.'

The Irish environment minister, Michael Smith, recently raised funding for Cavan's main roads by 19.7 per cent, but there was no new funding for secondary roads.

Brian Johnson, of Cavan County Council, said councils had been starved of funds for years for these routes, 60 per cent of which needed attention. Increased EC structural funds should soon be made available, however.

Mr Hannigan says there was a devious move to silence him. After he was accused of 'tarnishing the name of the county', the local employment office wrote saying it had a post that 'may be suitable for you'. It was for a council labourer.

Though previously out of work, Mr Hannigan told them he was now working. But only by day . . .

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary Teachers Required in King's Lynn

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary Teachers needed in King's Ly...

Primary Teachers needed in Ely

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary Teacher needed in the Ely ar...

Teaching Assistant to work with Autistic students

£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Randstad Education Leicester ...

KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: KS2 Teacher needed in Peterborough a...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain