Lack of progress on Limerick transport infrastructure 

SERIOUS issues relating to the lack of progress in improving public and road transport infrastructure in Limerick were raised during a debate in the Seanad earlier this week.

Limerick Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan told Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton that the lack of progress is causing major concern to people across the city and county.

The Castleconnell-based politician referred to the Northern Distributor Road as a “key element” of infrastructure for Limerick City.

“Right now we have serious traffic congestion at the Mackey roundabout. We have serious problems across the University of Limerick campus. At peak times, it can take up to 45 minutes to get from the back of the campus to the front gates.

“We have massive traffic issues across Corbally, all of which would be relieved by the Northern Distributor Road. Unfortunately, the senior Minister has set his face against this road being developed. It is not mentioned in the National Development Plan,” Senator Gavan pointed out.

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He then expressed frustration over delays in progress on the Limerick-Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy Plan.

“Even though it was supposed to be produced last year, we are still waiting for it. In fact, we do not know what is going to be in that plan at this point in time.”

Referring to the M20 motorway, Senator Gavan said the vision was for an Atlantic corridor linking Cork, Limerick and Galway, acting as a counterweight to Dublin and providing a real development alternative for business, people and commuters.

“The senior Minister has set his face against the M20 motorway. He is on record as saying that at a committee meeting on transport just two weeks ago. This is a road that people lose their lives on every year. It is a horrific road. My brother-in-law almost passed away in an horrendous accident on it just two years ago.

“The argument being made by Minister Eamon Ryan, is that we need to focus on public transport instead. I do not agree with him. I do not think it should be either/or; we need to do both,” Senator Gavan declared.

Public transport was also a bone of contention with the Sinn Féin politician.

“The Minister has spoken about developing train services across Limerick City and I support that call. Sinn Féin is on record as far back as 2014 calling for a light rail network across Limerick city. Again, all we have had is talk.”

Minister Naughton said that Transport investment in Limerick in the coming years will be guided by the Limerick-Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy.

“This will facilitate the sustainable development of the Limerick-Shannon metropolitan area and the delivery of associated transport investment. The National Transport Authority will soon undertake a second round of public consultation,” she explained.