11 January 2016
By Bryan Smyth
Cork South Central TD and Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin has said Cork and the south-west will suffer hugely on a number of levels as a result of the government’s decision not to proceed with the Cork to Limerick motorway.
Deputy Martin said: “There has been much public debate and commentary about the Government’s decision not to proceed with the M20, Cork to Limerick motorway. Fundamentally I believe this was the wrong decision. I think there is a strong economic case for this project and I think Fine Gael’s decision to shelve it epitomises the real problem with Fine Gael – there is no long-term vision for the country.
“Enda Kenny and his senior ministers are more interested in masking the next 50 days with spin and cheap attack lines than setting out a real vision for the country over the next five years. For Enda, the future is only as far ahead as Election Day.
“The M20 is one of the last stretches of road in the country where two major cities are not linked by motorway. The current road is not suitable at all; at times it is dangerous and unfortunately has been the scene of far too many fatal crashes. Aside from the obvious safety benefits of upgrading this route, the economic case for the investment is also sound and we will regret failing to proceed with it now in the years ahead.
“I foresee a number of issues down the line as a result of not proceeding now that the Government has to respond to. Economic activity in the region will be constrained as a result of the upgrade being on hold; there will further retrenchment in that regard when construction gets underway, possibly as far away as 10-15 years if Fine Gael get their way; cost of land to be purchased along the route is surely to increase from record lows, putting an even greater burden on the taxpayer; and we could face serious cost implications from construction inflation. It makes sense to get moving on this investment now.
“The case for the M20 is sound. The transport officials know it, the Government knows it, businesses and potential investors across the region know it, and the drivers who use the road on a regular basis certainly know it. Only Fine Gael and Labour stand in the way of progress being made,” said Deputy Martin.