LIMERICK council management have been accused of trying to “sabotage” and “circumvent” the democratic process.
It comes after members were presented with broadly the same plans for the Limerick portion of the €150m road, which could cross over the Mountshannon Road and the Plassey Park Road.
Dr Mikael Fernström, of the Lisnagry/Annacotty residents action group, said the residents are “very upset” at revelations in the Limerick Leader that the controversial plans are back on the table.
While the local authority did not confirm the contents of a behind-closed doors meeting held with councillors late last week, members said the executive returned with broadly the same route which was rejected by a vote of 26 votes to three back in August.
Dr Fernström said: “It is so cheap, so low, from the executive to try to circumvent and sabotage the democratic process.” The move, he says, will see his group facing further bills to mount a defence against the plans when they come up for vote again at County Hall. Residents are opposed to the route selection argue that if the road is built, it will see its Shannon burst its banks more often.
They also point out that lands around the route would be sterilised making planning applications impossible.
Fine Gael councillor Michael Sheahan said: “It’s obvious the local authority themselves have not, at this moment in time, an alternative to the present crossing.”
He said he would continue to work with residents on both sides of the Shannon to provide an alternative the crossing – and called on the University of Limerick to enter the debate. Another councillor – who did not wish to be identified – said there was “huge discontent” at the meeting. “The council executive and management were trying to say, ‘We didn’t explain the proposal first time round. You might not have understood the technicalities of it.’ But actually, we did, very much,” the councillor said.
Sinn Fein councillor Séighin Ó Ceallaigh – who opposes route selection – said the Northern Distributor Road should be upgraded and linked to the M7 motorway to give “a real link”.
A council spokesman would only confirm that elected members were briefed on the project.