Green Party defends stance on Cork to Limerick motorway

Green Party defends stance on Cork to Limerick motorway
Green Party candidates Cllr Oliver Moran and Cllr Lorna Bogue with party leader Eamon Ryan TD at Shandon at the launch of the General Election campaign in Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan

Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan TD, Cllr Oliver Moran (Cork North Central), Cllr Lorna Bogue (Cork South Central), Cllr Liam Quaide (Cork East), Cllr Colette Finn (Cork North West) and Bernie Connolly (Cork South West) were all in attendance.

The Green Party said the public has been misled by successive governments into believing a motorway along the N20 will be built.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan previously said the proposed route for the N20 upgrade "makes no sense" because cars would still meet traffic jams in Cork and Limerick cities.

According to the Green Party, there are four possible routes for the Cork to Limerick motorway being explored.

Since 2017, the Green Party have argued for the Cork-Limerick route to use the existing M8 for part of the journey. 

They claim this would save money and provide connections between Limerick, Cork and Waterford.

"I've driven [the road from Cork to Limerick] loads of times in my life, I am very familiar with it. Yes, we need to improve it," said Green Party leader Eamon Ryan.

"We need to make sure towns like Charleville and Buttevant actually rise and thrive as we do that. But does it have to be the massive motorway coming into Blackpool or into huge other transport difficulties?

"Could we use other options where we divert traffic away from that road and use the savings to make that road safer and provide public transport in Cork city? 

"If we just do the mistakes we made in Dublin, where its all about motorways approaching the city and you don't have the internal public transport options, it doesn't work."

Cllr Oliver Moran, running in Cork North Central, said the Green Party are aware of how bad the road is. 

"We all drive that road. I am originally from Mayo... Lorna is from Limerick, Liam works in Mallow. 

"We know how bad that road is for people living and working on it, and how dangerous it is in parts, how it needs to be widened in parts.

"I have seen how choked with traffic [Charleville] is, it needs a bypass in order to flourish.

"This motorway is promised every election and it never comes. We know how frustrating that is.

"Three out of the four routes being looked at use the M8, but that does not mean Mallow, Buttevant and Charleville are being forgotten about. Those people deserve a road which is safe and a road which benefits their local economy. 

"We need to look at the bigger picture... That also includes reopening the direct Charleville to Limerick rail line."

Cllr Lorna Bogue, running in Cork South Central, said the road has been promised for years and no progress has been made. 

She also said her mother and father had to travel that road from Limerick when her mother was receiving treatment for cancer in Cork University Hospital. 

"That road is rough... they would have to go two hours earlier just to get to the appointment, firstly because she couldn't be treated in Limerick, secondly because as soon as they got to Cork city the traffic here is absolutely appalling.

"I do understand that this is an emotive issue... but €35 million has already been spent on this project over 20 years and they still don't have an exact figure of how much this is going to cost."

Cllr Bogue said Cork should be developed as a regional hub for the South, and a connection with Waterford, Limerick and Tipperary is needed. 

She also believes her party leader has been made a "scapegoat" in relation to the road's lack of development. 

"What doesn't make sense is that Fine Gael has been in government for the last nine years and have not delivered this project. 

"And suddenly because Eamon Ryan single Green Party TD in Dublin says it doesn't make sense... project stopped, 'it's cancelled boys'... Eamon has used his hypnotic powers to stop this project," she said sarcastically.

"We have been asking for this [road] in Cork City Council for the last 20 years and I am not going to lie to people about it, as an economist, it seems like this project is not economically viable," Cllr Bogue said.

"Bear in mind, it was the Taoiseach when he was Minister for Transport who pulled this project in 2011," said Cllr Moran. 

All of the Green Party candidates said that housing, health and transport were key issues that came up at the doors while out canvassing. 

Climate change was another issue that all candidates spoke about.

Party leader Eamon Ryan said Ireland needs to "triple to quadruple" what is contained within the current climate action plan. 

"That would require us to look at and review everything."

He also said that a lot of work with other parties would have to be done post-election, in order to devise a plan to reduce Ireland's carbon emissions. 

"If we are successful it will take several weeks for all the parties to come down and sit together, given that their manifestos don't show any detail as to how they would meet the aspirations set out in their opening paragraphs."

He said this includes Ireland reducing its carbon emissions by at least 7% per annum. "That will get us to 50% by 2030, that's what the European Union is saying we have to do. 

"That's how we will avoid starting to pay fines. It could be something like [an estimated] €7 billion in the next decade and rounding up from there."

The Green Party leader also didn't specify Green voters to give their second preference to any particular party. 

"Our job here is to show leadership and put people together and get the entire political system to move... I think it's better for us to do that by working with all the other parties. Let people decide that on their own."

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