2 February 2020
By Bryan Smyth
The Green Party in Cork and Limerick have said the Fine Gael government are “selling the public a pup” on the Cork-Limerick motorway.
The party says that the N20 is inadequate, and dangerous in places, and requires major upgrades. These include a widening of the road, as well as a bypass of Charleville. Given these problems it is understandable that many commuters from Mallow and surrounding parts of north Cork would want a motorway there.
However, the party says the public are being misled by Fine Gael into believing a motorway along the N20 is “shovel ready”, when they know a new route selection process is underway and are considering different options.
On 7 January the government published a Project Ireland 2040 update document that showed three out of the four routes being examined use the M8, despite the project being designated the ‘M20’. Now, information obtained by the Irish Times has revealed that the government do not know the full cost of the route, and that the N20 route for the connection may no longer be considered to ‘make sense’.
Green Party candidate for Cork North Central, Cllr. Oliver Moran, said the Fine Gael approach was dishonest:
“There is a process underway, which we fully support, that will determine the best way of connecting the two cities. It’s important for the public to know that three out of the four routes being looked at now use the M8, as well as necessary bypasses of towns like Charleville and direct rail links.
“Fine Gael are allowing the public to believe a plan that the Taoiseach himself rejected in 2011, when he was Minister for Transport, is the sole plan right now. It’s cynical. and unfair to the people who rely on this road to name the project the ‘M20’. In reality they are looking at other routes – they don’t even know how much it will cost.
“There are smarter ways to connect the two cities, including a motorway, and to make the necessary upgrades to the N20. Reality is now biting for Fine Gael, but they are continuing to sell the public a pup.
“Since 2017, the Green Party have argued for the Cork-Limerick route to use the M8 for part of the journey. We believe this would save money and provide more opportunity in future to connect Limerick and Cork to Waterford. But more importantly, we want to be honest with people and deliver the best solution, which also works for commuters on the N2O.”