Fine Gael politicians will highlight the importance of national road construction projects as agreed by Government at a meeting with the Transport Minister this week.
Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting at Leinster House, Senator Micheál Carrigy said there is serious concern amongst Fine Gael TDs and Senators that numerous road projects (bypasses, upgrades and others in planning process) nationwide are being left abandoned by Minister Ryan on the hard shoulder.
The meeting arose after Chair of Fine Gael’s parliamentary party, Deputy Richard Bruton wrote to Minister Ryan in July requesting a meeting to discuss the withdrawal of funding for a number of national roads project. A motion requesting the meeting was agreed unanimously by the Fine Gael parliamentary party.
“My colleagues are extremely concerned given the substantial delays and impediments we are seeing with several road projects throughout the country. Minister Ryan had agreed to meet us this week and the issues will be outlined at this meeting,” Senator Carrigy said.
The Longford Senator pointed out that in the agreed Programme for Government by the three parties, page 14 states: ‘We are committed to maintaining the existing road network to a high standard and funding safety improvements. We will continue to invest in new roads infrastructure to ensure that all parts of Ireland are connected to each other’.
“It’s written in black and white. New roads infrastructure will be invested in to ensure connectivity across the island. Let’s get on with it and stop dragging the heels,” he said.
Some of the projects which need to proceed include:
- N4 Mullingar to Longford
- N17 Knock to Collooney
- N24 Waterford to Cahir
- Cork City Northern Ring Road
- N22 Farranfore by-pass in Kerry
- N72/73 Mallow Relief Road
- N2 Clontibret to the border
Senator Carrigy said: “I have already express concern that the N4 road project which covers my constituency could be kicked further down the road, after just €200,000 was allocated to it this year by the Department of Transport, which will only bring it as far as an emerging preferred route stage
“Significant funding has been spent west of Longford, on the N5 and the N4, yet there remains a 50km section that has not been completed. We do not want a repeat of what happened previously where the project was left idle for a number of years.
“I have met with various chambers of commerce, businesses and other stakeholders in the North-West who have expressed concern that a lack of investment in road projects has the potential to damage economic expansion in the region.
“For the N4 project Mullingar to Longford road scheme, The provision of funding is imperative to get it to planning permission stage and ultimately construction. We need to address the road safety concerns which has caused a high number of fatalities and a significant number of accidents on this section of road over the past 20 years.
“I welcome recent comments from Fine Gael Leader and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar stressing the importance of continued investment in road infrastructure, as 90% of freight will still be by road, with 94% of passenger journeys also taking place by road.
“If Government is to deliver balanced regional development, businesses, residents and other stakeholders must have clarity that construction will proceed to ensure they have accessibility and are well positioned to prosper economically,” Senator Carrigy said.