Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar has announced details of a €330 million investment programme for regional and local roads.

The 2014 package will allow for the maintenance of 1,900km of regional and local roads, 2,150km to be strengthened, while there will be 245 low-cost safety projects and 162 bridge repair projects.

Mr Varadkar said that maintenance must be the top priority, particularly following the recent spell of bad weather.

He said: "Local authorities will also have more discretion than ever before about how they allocate funding under the various grant categories, which will allow them to target resources at roads damaged by the recent storms.

"More than €106 million is available in 2014 for works that the local authorities will have full discretion over.

"The focus on road maintenance and repair comes against a backdrop of ongoing limited resources and an overall cut of 17% this year on the 2013 funding.

"As a consequence, new schemes focused on improvement rather than maintenance will be curtailed for 2014.

"Our priority is to maintain the existing road network, and unfortunately there is little scope for carrying out new road improvement projects."