THE Irish government must now put the Adare by-pass on its priority list in order to avail of funds from the European Investment Bank, Fine Gael MEP, Séan Kelly said this week.
And he is urging Limerick City and County Council to step up their pressure to have the by-pass included in a list of Irish projects for investment.
“It is no fun sitting for hours on a fine day in Adare,” he said. “To me, it is a no-brainer. Why should we wait another 20 or 30 years for a project that once it is done, it doesn’t have to be done again?”
Mr Kelly’s comments come following his meeting with members of the European Investment Bank (EIB) , including its president Mr Hoyer. One of the main points that emerged, he told the Limerick Leader is that the EIB believes that identifying suitable projects for investment has not been taken seriously enough by member states. “They asked us to use our influence to ensure that happens in Ireland,” he said.
This year, the EIB will invest €850m in Ireland alone and this fund is likely to increase to over €900m next year.
“What the government has to do now is put forward a plan to the EIB and I want the Adare by-pass and Foynes Port to be part of that plan. These are projects which are not only good for jobs and growth. They will pay a huge economic dividend for everybody.”
The full potential of Foynes port, one of the best deep-water ports in Europe, needs to be realised, Mr Kelly argued and this required investment.
“Once the government submits a project and the EIB funds it, that then encourages huge investment from others in the private sector,” Mr Kelly said. “The dividend can be three to four times. That is the psychological boost of having it backed by Government and the EIB.”
Mr Kelly said he will be actively lobbying, along with local TDs, to have Adare and Foynes included in the list for EIB investment.
Meanwhile, Fine Gael TD, Patrick O’Donovan has come under fire in Galway following comments he made at a recent meeting of the Oireachtas Transport Committee. Speaking to the Limerick Leader, Deputy O’Donovan said that Galway port company had made a submission to the committee about ambitious multi-million euro plans to develop port facilities in Galway.
“But I defended the Shannon Foynes Port Company because, in accordance with government policy, there is room for only one Tier One port in the west of Ireland.”
Galway port, Deputy O’Donovan pointed out, handled just half-a-million tonnes a year compared with 10m tonnes in Limerick/Foynes.