11 November 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
The Social Democrats candidate in Cork East, Ken Curtin today called for the upgrading of the Fota Road and for it to be reclassified as a National Road. He further called for in tandem with this a clear plan to be drawn up for access to and from the Great Island in the event of an emergency such as a major car accident or a severe storm. He believes the case for the upgrade and reclassification of this road could not be clearer.
This road is the only road into Fota Wildlife Park, one of Ireland’s top ten visitor attractions. It also is the main route to Fota Hotel and Golf Resort as well as Fota House. Most importantly of all it is the only road leading to the Great Island and Cobh with a population of 20,000 inhabitants, this does not take into account the huge number of visitors who come each year to what has been ranked among the top four large tourism towns in Ireland. On top of all this Cobh is home to Ireland’s busiest cruise ship berth and with a second berth opening in the near future this will lead to a doubling of cruise traffic. Any one of these reasons alone would be an argument for an upgrade and reclassification, combined they make a hugely compelling case even without taking into account how important this is for local industry both at present and into the future.
Speaking from the Great Island today Ken Curtin said “The Fota Road is not fit for purpose, although the recent resurfacing of a part of it has helped, the reality is this entire road as far as the town of Cobh needs a major upgrade, it also needs to be reclassified as a National Road and be brought under the control of the National Road Authority.” He further added “in tandem with the upgrade and reclassification of the road in its entirety a clear emergency plan needs to be drawn up to deal with emergencies ensuring the island is not cut off again as it was last night due to the latest major accident on the Fota Road. He concluded “I have today written to the relevant authorities and the Minister for the Environment to prioritise this as a matter of urgency.”