John Garrett, Caroline Kelleher and Kieran O'Donnell at the meeting
LEADING local businessman Tadhg Kearney has warned the M20 project could “suck everything” from Limerick in favour of Cork and Galway.
The Thomas Street jeweller was speaking at a meeting held by Senator Kieran O’Donnell on how to lobby for the €1bn motorway between Ireland’s second and third cities.
More than 100 people were at the South Court Hotel for the meeting on the motorway, which is widely expected to be included in the government’s mid-term capital review.
While many spoke in favour – including Mr O’Donnell, who said it is the “single most important piece of infrastructure needed in the region” – Mr Kearney says the road could do “serious detrimental harm” to Limerick’s economy.
”Cork is a much larger centre, and I’m concerned it will suck everything from this region and give nothing back. The larger area tends to have that power,” he said. Mr Kearney also warned Galway could also benefit.
“My concern is the attraction at both ends being Cork and Galway, with the tunnel bypassing Limerick city centre. It will be good for the port, good for the airport, and good for the industrialists. But it has a danger of doing serious detrimental harm to Limerick city centre,” he told the meeting.
Farmers and residents based along the proposed route of the M20 as it was when it was axed in 2011 also expressed concern, with many believing it is likely the same route will be favoured.
Mary Fox from Bruree said: “Everyone wants the area to succeed in terms of growth, but not at the cost of people’s lives, where we are considered in rural areas to be collateral damage and where there is no communication or consultation.”
Patrickswell man John Higgins said: “This will cut through the middle of my farm. Farms are being destroyed. No-one has spoken to me, or any of the lads, no-one has asked a question of us, because they know better. They know what answer i’ll give them.”
Gerry McMahon, Dublin Road, challenged Fine Gael ministers to travel the existing road from Cork to Limerick.
“If they don’t conclude after this that this M20 is neded, then we should call on them to resign.”
Caroline Kelleher, Limerick Chamber said: “I think it’s very fair to say the current standard of road between Limerick and Cork is not great, and not efficient, and is not moving people effectively.”
Mr O’Donnell warned there’s a need to get the show on the road.
“JP McManus is looking to get the Ryder Cup to Adare in 2026. The target is to have the road built by then. This will enhance the prospect of having the Ryder Cup come to Limerick and Adare Manor,” he concluded.
The senator urged everyone who can to make their views known on the proposed link to the government’s mid-term capital review.
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