Concerns over future plans for Cork to Limerick motorway following comments from Green TD

Concerns over future plans for Cork to Limerick motorway following comments from Green TD
Traffic in Charleville, Co Cork, one of the towns set to be bypassed by the proposed M20.Pic; Larry Cummins

Concerns are being voiced about the future plans for the M20 after a Green Party TD said the road “is not going to happen” in the next five years.

The comments, made during a briefing by Deputy Ossian Smyth, were met with much concern on social media.

Deputy Smyth later moved to clarify his comments in a post on Twitter saying: “The M20 project will continue as planned. The Department of Transport had not planned to complete it before 2025. There is planning and preparatory work in the coming years.” 

Cork East Fianna Fail TD James O’Connor said that the project was an integral infrastructure project and that he would be standing by it.

Speaking to The Echo, Deputy O’Connor said that the connection between Cork and Limerick was vital and supported thousands of jobs.

“If we are serious about balanced regional development, these are the projects which need to go ahead,” he said.

Deputy O’Connor said there was also a safety element.

“At the end of the day, the road is not suitable for the traffic which is on it.” Deputy Smyth’s comments also received criticism from Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire.

“The fact is that the current N20 is a dangerous road. It is unacceptable that the road between the second and third largest cities in the state is so poor.

“I wonder, if there wasn't already motorways in every direction from Dublin, would Deputy Smyth oppose creating a half-decent road, between two large urban centres. I would challenge him to look at the road as it is now if he believes it is acceptable,” he said.

Cork Fianna Fáil TD Padraig O'Sullivan said on Twitter that the project was still on course and was included in the Programme for Government, while Fine Gael Limerick TD and Minister of State, Patrick O’Donovan, said work on the road was well underway.

“This project, which is long awaited by the people of Limerick, Cork and everywhere in between, was given a vital boost earlier this year with the allocation of €3 million by Transport Infrastructure Ireland," he said. 

Just last month The Echo reported that works to narrow down the route options to connect Cork and Limerick are underway as part of Phase 2 of the N/M20 Cork to Limerick scheme.

During this phase, the N/M20 project team is developing and appraising road-based and rail-based options for better connectivity between the two cities.

Once the shortlisted road and rail options have been identified, a public consultation will take place. 

The Echo contacted a number of Green party representatives in Cork for comment on the issue.

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