FRESH calls have been made this week to abandon the current proposed Northern Distributor Road route amid serious flooding along the course.
The Clare portion of the proposed route, which would travel through Parteen and Clonlara was approved earlier this year by a majority of councillors in the Banner.
However, members in Limerick decisively rejected the proposal to bring the route through the Mountshannon Road and the Plassey Park Road.
This week, floods have hit the lands which are earmarked for the road on both the Limerick side and the Clare side.
And this has led to both Fianna Fail Clare councillor Cathal Crowe and his party colleague in Limerick, Cllr Shane Clifford, to call for the rejection of the route as proposed.
“This should be the end of any talk of the Northern Distributor Road cutting through the Mountshannon Road,” Cllr Clifford told the Limerick Leader.
While flooding has brought the issue of the route back to the table, there was anger late last week when Clare County Council included the €150m thoroughfare in its development plan up to 2023.
The move led Norma Blake, of the Lisnagry-Annacotty action group, set up to oppose the road on the Limerick side, to accuse the Clare authority of planning for “a road to nowhere”.
The opposition group on the Clare side accused the council of taking a “ludicrous nonsensical position” to include the route because of Limerick councillors’ rejections.
Both action groups have called for the route to instead be brought over the National Technology Park and through Killaloe.
At a Clare council meeting in Ennis this week, Cllr Crowe made a call to abandon the controversial road along the preferred route.
He said: “With huge tracts of rural Clonlara and Parteen now lying beneath floodwater Clare County Council’s decision to vote to adopt the routeline now looks ridiculous and poorly thought out.”
He described claims from engineers of this week’s flooding as a “100-year phenomenon” as “insulting to locals who have seen their homes and lands flood on several occasions in the past 10 years”, adding: “You can be sure that the construction of a new major road would further exacerbate the flooding problem!”
Cllr Clifford said concerns of residents over flooding were “completely vindicated” by what has happened this week.
He added: “After what we have seen in the last week, this has to be shelved. Anything else is completely unacceptable. There is a need for a Northern Distributor Road, I accept that. But I have a problem with the route.”
Although Limerick councillors rejected the plan to bring the route through the Mountshannon Road and Plassey Park road by a margin of 26 votes to three, it is expected the plan will come up for vote again.
One councillor – who did not wish to be named – said “certain members are being worked on” by executives on the local authority.
But, they added: “All they have succeeded in doing is galvanising opposition to the Northern Distributor Road.”