29 December 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Cork North-West Cllr Aindrias Moynihan has revealed that the Government has allocated less money to the Macroom Bypass for next year.
When the Transport Infrastructure Ireland allocations were announced just before Christmas the Macroom Bypass was allocated €3.8m for 2016. This is a reduction on what was allocated for the bypass in 2014 and 2015 and it casts doubt on the Government’s commitment to the project.
Cllr Moynihan commented, “The 2016 National Roads Grants were released just before Christmas. Overall Cork County has been allocated €9.2m for next year, which is down from €16.7m in 2015. I was horrified to read that the national road funding grants for the Macroom bypass has been reduced to €3.8 million. In 2014 the bypass received €4 million, and in 2015 it received €5 million.
“Reducing the allocation to €3.8m this year shows that the project is not travelling full steam ahead. Instead it looks like it’s a project going backwards. Why has funding for the N22 Macroom Bypass been cut? It shows that the project is not a priority for the Government.
“Land purchase for the project has been ongoing since 2013 when the court appeals finished. It is expected the project needs €19.5 million to buy the land alone. At the present rate of funding we could be waiting until 2018 to see all the land bought. The next big milestone for the bypass is to tender for construction. However there is no indication when the tenders will be published.
“Government representatives expressed their “pride and delight” at the announcement that Macroom bypass was to be included in the capital spending program last September. At the time I cautiously welcomed the government’s announcement that the N22 Macroom bypass was included in the capital plan. I called for an immediate commitment to move to tender for construction and to fund the complete project.
“However there is now widespread disappointment with the publication of the 2016 National Roads Allocation by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, the reduced bypass funding and the absence of a commitment to tender for construction.
“The local Government representatives are failing to build on the good work of the previous Fianna Fáil Governments. Those Fianna Fáil led Governments carried out most of the work for this project, advancing it through route selection, design and planning. Further delays are a shame for all the people who will benefit from the N22 bypass of Macroom. Furthermore it would suggest the Governments capital plan is little more than an election stunt,” said Cllr Moynihan.
“I believe government representatives fail to recognise the importance of this project for all the south of the country. This road will provide a huge economic stimulus for the area. It will open Macroom and the mid-Cork area for further economic development, which it is losing through congestion. This road will be a vital aid to rural development west of Macroom as well as in a huge portion of County Kerry. It will provide ease of access to the entire area. Most importantly it will ease the journeys of people living west of Macroom, who travel regularly to Cork for medical services,” said Moynihan.