On a visit to Cork yesterday, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar gave the project the green light, saying it came with a “high price tag” — estimated at €800m — but it would be worth it to the region.
“I want to confirm that the M20 will be included in the 10-year capital plan. It’s a project that is essential to our future national development and one that I’m personally committed to achieving,” he said.
An initial fund of €20 million is expected to be spent between now and 2021 on the preliminary phase of the motorway, which will include choosing an exact route, designing the project, and beginning any compulsory purchase orders for land.
The project has the potential to directly support 5,400 jobs in the Cork-Limerick region, contributing €128m back to the state each year, according to a study commissioned by Cork Chamber.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said Cork needed the motorway to cater for a rising population — the county is expected to be home to 900,000 people by 2050.