Potholes: one in five

IT'S been dubbed the year of the pothole – Ireland's roads are costing drivers hundreds of euro in car repairs.

In a new survey, the Automobile Association (AA) has claimed that one in five drivers have had to pay for work on their vehicles caused by hitting one of the thousands of potholes around the country.

The poll of 7,000 drivers shows that since the start of the year, around 23% have had to call the AA or pay for garage repairs compared to just 2.6% for the same period last year.

"Often a pothole just hits the car and gives the driver a major fright but does not actually do any damage," said Conor Faughnan of the AA. "However, there are plenty of cases where it is an expensive repair."

The highest level of incidents reported related to Munster roads (31.7%), followed by Leinster (28.3%), Connacht (27.8%) and Ulster (23.2%).

"Following the very severe winter, secondary roads are in poor condition and cash- strapped local authorities are struggling to fix the potholes," said Faughnan.

"We had one person tell us that a broken front axle cost over €10,000, although damage that severe is very rare.

"And there is the possibility that a pothole could cause a serious accident. Mostly, however, it was replacement tyres, wheels, track rods and suspension damage."

Some 57% of drivers who reported the potholes to the local authority say that nothing was done while in just 17% of cases, the road damage was repaired.