THE CEO of Shannon Foynes Port Company Pat Keating has called on the local authority to act fast on the new Limerick to Foynes road, as the current N69 route is an “impediment” to business.
Mr Keating told the monthly meeting of the Adare Rathkeale municipal district that delivery of the new road is “vital” to the growth of the port, especially in the wake of Brexit.
“Getting this road from Limerick to Foynes is absolutely critical. How it gets there, I don’t care, but getting it is absolutely critical to us,” said Mr Keating.
Mr Keating was addressing the meeting with the port’s master 30-year plan, outlining the key areas of growth that are to come at the port.
“Without this road, a lot of the investments and the opportunities that I’m talking about won’t be realised,” said the CEO.
“Anyone who’s familiar with the current N69, you bring potential people who are investing maybe €20m to €100m out that road, and it’s just people’s perception is detrimental to our cause,” he added.
The working uses for the current road were also cited as being unsuitable, with large vehicles travelling the length of the road and passing through villages along the route.
Mr Keating said that delays on the slow-moving N69 is “costing people money, because time is money”.
He also described the perception of the road as “never-ending”.
“It’s one of the biggest hindrances to us at the moment in the delivery of our programme. I know there’s a lot of work done on, and it’s moving, but we can’t take our eye off the ball,” said Mr Keating.
“People are talking about the Limerick Cork road, and that’s important as well. I would argue that this is equally important. We’ve got to keep the pressure on,” he stated.
The port boss also said that there are risks involved with Brexit, but that he thinks there is opportunity for foreign investment from companies who might otherwise have invested in Britain.
Mr Keating also outlined plans to reinstate the Foynes Limerick rail line for freight purposes, at a cost of €25m.
This would involve the renovation of 40km of railway lines this year, which Mr Keating said is a “good deal” compared to the cost of a new railway.