Minister indicates November date for decision on Limerick-Cork motorway

Joint Chamber report claims that M20 could give rise to up to 5,400 positions

Nick Rabbitts and Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts and Fintan Walsh

Email:

news@limerickleader.ie

Minister indicates November date for decision on Limerick-Cork motorway

Chief executives united: Cork Chamber’s Conor Healy and Dr James Ring, Limerick Chamber

THE Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has indicated it may not be until November when he decides whether to proceed with the M20 project.

And the €1bn motorway scheme linking Limerick and Cork may be delivered in the context of a ten-year review, as opposed to the capital spending review due out later this summer.

In a week where a major Limerick Chamber/Cork Chamber survey showed the M20 could deliver thousands of jobs to the region, the government’s Summer Economic Statement was widely expected to reference the project.

But there was no mention in the 48-page document, and speaking to reporters after, Mr Donohoe declined to give any firm commitment on the road.

“What I want to have particularly in the context of a ten-year capital plan is a longer-term framework for these projects. Delivery of big projects like these are eight to nine years.

"Leaving aside what we need to do in construction is that the planning will take years to do,” he said, “it’s my view we can only properly fund and evaluate projects like these in the context of a ten year plan.”

Fine Gael Senator Kieran O’Donnell, who has campaigned at length on the need for a Limerick-Cork motorway, still believes the link will be in the government’s Mid-Term Capital Review.

“This is now the single most talked about project outside of Dublin. At this stage, there is a general sense from Taoiseach Varadkar that the M20 is a priority. A year ago, it was not,” he said.

Chambers in Limerick and Cork teamed up with Indecon/REDC for a major new report highlighting the benefits of any new road. Published this week, it states the road would have the potential to support up to 5,400 direct jobs in the region.

This could provide an annual gross exchequer impact of up to €128m depending on the nature of investment attracted, the report finds.

Other key findings include the motorway would increase the labour force to within a 45-minute commute of major employment centres by 23%.

It could reduce the Patrickswell to Blarney journey time by 16 minutes, prevent approximately 118 accidents per year and underpin the competitiveness of the region.

Speaking on the importance of the proposed 80km link, Limerick Chamber chief executive Dr James Ring said it would create a “three city region”.