Green candidate calls for alternative to M20 project

Shelia Cahill and Breandain MacGabhann with Claire Keating (centre), Green Party on the campaign Trail in Adare Picture Brendan Gleeson

THE Green Party wants the M20 Project group to consider an alternative route for the Limerick-Cork motorway.

Green Party candidate for Limerick County, Claire Keating said that the current N24 is unsafe, unfit to be a national road, and needs work. But that’s very different to saying it’s the best route for a Limerick-Cork motorway.

“We want the best possible transport links between Limerick and Cork, and between Limerick and the rest of Munster. The M20 Project group is looking at how to make that happen. In 2017 the Green Party backed a proposed alternative route, upgrading the N24 ultimately continuing to Waterford, and linking in to the M8 Dublin-Cork motorway at Cahir.”

Ms Keating believes the N24 route makes much more sense than resurrecting the M20 plan that was rejected by Leo Varadkar when he was Transport  Minister in 2011.

“It would link West Limerick and Foynes Port via the much-needed N21 upgrade, allowing more balanced regional development. Because it’s joining an existing route it would also be much quicker to build and be much cheaper. Instead of spending a billion euro on a disconnected route, we could build a Munster regional network for half the cost – and put surplus budget directly into transport infrastructure in Limerick.

Jan O’Sullivan on the Campaign Trail.
Picture Brendan Gleeson

“Limerick really has been left behind by this Government. The Foynes road upgrade including the Adare bypass is a start, but we need to follow that up with work on the main streets of Adare, Rathkeale, and other towns on the N21 to make them better for the people living there,” she added.

Limerick Labour Party TD Jan O’Sullivan maintains the Greens are right about a lot of things, but insists on the M20, “they’re wrong”. She believes the construction of a motorway linking Limerick and Cork is vital for balanced regional development in the Mid-West.

She described the existing M20 corridor as “one of the most dangerous roads in the country with several accident blackspots along the route”.

“I am alarmed by the comments from the Green Party leader that the project makes no sense. Try telling that to the many people who commute between Limerick and Cork to make a living.

Fine Gael Senator Kieran O’Donnell also condemned Eamon Ryan’s assertions that this vital motorway infrastructure project should be shelved.

“Projections show it could provide 4,000 to 5,000 direct jobs and potentially contribute a gross exchequer impact of €128 million a year,” he said.

“Deputy Ryan should also be aware that the current N20 road is no longer fit for purpose, with some estimates putting it at 120 per cent of capacity back in 2017.”