SPENDING €100 million on the second phase of the northern distributor road is “unnecessary” in the current climate and could increase taxpayer subsidies to the operators of the Limerick Tunnel, according to Fianna Fail’s Willie O’Dea.
And in a formal submission to Clare County Council on the relief road - which will stretch from Knockalisheen to Annacotty - Deputy O’Dea has also backed residents on the outskirts of the city who fear houses will have to be knocked, flooding risks aggravated and farmers put out of business. Clare County Council is taking the lead in the scheme, which is also supported by Limerick City Council as a project which will stimulate economic growth by opening up the northside of the city and improving links between Shannon Airport, Limerick city, UL and industry at Plassey.
But Deputy O’Dea says the money would be better spent improving existing infrastructure.
“The upgrading of the existing road network and the enhancement of key junctions could go a long way towards fulfilling the aims and objectives of the proposed Limerick Northern Distributor Road.
“It makes little sense to spend over €100 million on this proposed road when the national economy is in recession and the state is already subsidising the operators of the Limerick Tunnel because it is underperforming,” he stated.
The NRA expects millions will be paid to the Direct Route consortium this year under a revenue guarantee clause built into the tunnel operators contract if traffic volumes fail to meet expectations.
“This proposed road would only exacerbate this problem and cost the state further unnecessary and much needed funds,” Deputy O’Dea stated.
The Limerick City TD also agrees with those of his constituents who believe the road will disrupt their livelihoods and communities.
“In order to proceed to construction, a number of homes would have to be demolished in both Lisnagry and Parteen. Furthermore, in Parteen the proposed route would divide the village in half. I share the fear of local residents that the construction of a major road through Parteen would mean the end of village life as the local tightly bound, rural community know it.
“Agriculture in both Parteen and Lisnagry would be greatly affected by the construction of the proposed road as large tracts of prime land would be dissected. The dissection of these landholdings would make farming an unviable activity for many families in these areas,” stated Deputy O’Dea.