TRANSPORT Minister Pascal Donohoe’s decision not to proceed with the M20 Limerick to Cork motorway is “short-sighted”, according to his Fianna Fail opposite number Timmy Dooley TD.
Minister Donohoe said last week that the motorway project - which had a price tag of around €1 billion when shelved by Minister Leo Varadkar in 2011 - would not be revived on cost grounds.
He explained in a written reply to County Cork TD Michael Moynihan that his predecessor (Varadkar) had “indicated to the NRA that it should withdraw its application to An Bord Pleanála for the M20 Cork to Limerick route”.
“I understand Minister Varadkar was concerned that to proceed any further with the scheme to build the M20 would have exposed the NRA to significant costs arising from a consequent requirement to purchase the CPO’d land within a limited timeframe. This would have had to be done without the reasonable prospect of proceeding to the construction stage quickly. Given continuing budget constraints and the need to focus on road maintenance and renewal, I do not currently plan to review this decision.”
But Deputy Dooley said there was a strong economic case for proceeding with a project that would reduce driving times between Ireland’s second and third cities.
“The fact is it is in the long-term economic interests of the region and public safety to proceed. Tender prices would also be extremely favourable and the government’s borrowing rate is extremely low. If we invest in the long-term for the south-west we will reap the benefits for years to come,” said Deputy Dooley.
He was also concerned for public safety arising from the many large vehicles wheeling through towns like Charleville.