Oral Hearing on Ringaskiddy Motorway to be held next month

Oral Hearing on Ringaskiddy Motorway to be held next month
A model of the plans for the M28 motorway. Picture: Ger Bonus

THE decision to hold an oral hearing on the M28 Ringaskiddy motorway in a hotel on Cork's northside has been slammed by local representatives.

However, residents say they want the matter to progress as soon as possible.

An Bord Pleanála confirmed that the oral hearing on the controversial roadway will start on November 7 at 10am, taking place at the Ambassador Hotel in St Luke's.

It is understood that more than a dozen hotels were considered by An Bord Pleanála, with many unavailable during the time required. The state body said it was essential to hold the hearing with 'minimum delay.'

However, elected officials have criticised the decision.

Senator Jerry Buttimer called for a more sensible location to be chosen, ensuring that the community has their say.

"While I welcome that a hearing date has been set to allow residents to voice their concerns, I would be critical of the location," he said.

"It simply is not accessible to many of the residents who are going to be affected."

Mr Buttimer said he has already contacted An Bord Pleanála, asking for a 'more sensible' location to be chosen.

An computer-generated view from the TII of the planned M28 motorway viewed from the Rochestown Road.
An computer-generated view from the TII of the planned M28 motorway viewed from the Rochestown Road.

Similar concerns have been voiced by local councillor Marcia D'Alton, who said she was 'incensed' by the decision.

Ms D'Alton slammed the lack of information given to local residents and said that there was not enough time given to prepare for the hearing.

"They have given two weeks notice of an event many may have to organise time off work and childminding for," she said.

"And worst, they are proposing to hold it at Military Hill on the northside of Cork city. The blasted motorway is proposed for the south of the southside of Cork city."

The councillor said it is totally impractical for residents to attend.

"How long will it take to commute to and from Military Hill on a working day? How many bus changes is that? How many without cars won't be able to get there at all? Are they clueless about traffic around Cork city? Or do they not actually want community involvement?"

Ms D'Alton said that An Bord Pleanála should postpone the hearing until a room in the community becomes available.

However, Ger Harrington, chairperson of the M28 Steering Committee, said that residents just want the matter handled as soon as possible.

He said that some 500 submissions have already been made by the community and that these would be read as part of the hearing.

"We are looking forward to attending and finally getting to raise concerns about this issue," he said.

Noise and air emissions and traffic gridlock have been highlighted as the main issues by the community who, he said, are not opposed to the upgrade of the road in principle.

"Upgrading the N28 isn't the issue," Mr Harrington said.

"It is the decision to run it through the Mulcon Valley that is the problem. It will cause traffic chaos in Maryborough and Douglas."

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