RENEWED calls for a major review of road access to Great Island and Cobh have been made by a Cork TD.
Sinn Féin TD Pat Buckley recently submitted questions to Eamon Ryan, the transport minister, asking that the R624 be upgraded to a national route. He also called for a widening of Bellvelly Bridge, pointing to a number of road traffic accidents at the site.
In his response, Mr Ryan stated that the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads “is the statutory responsibility of the relevant local authority”.
He added that, regarding access to Cobh and Great Island, there was some initial engagement between the Department of Transport and Cork County Council in 2019.
“Subsequent to that meeting, Cork County Council decided to appoint consultants to carry out a wider transport study, which will look at all options in relation to access, and I understand that the council expects to appoint those consultants shortly,” Mr Ryan said.
“As regards the classification of the R624, the classification of roads as either a national road or a regional road is a ministerial responsibility under section 10 of the Roads Act, 1993, as amended. Roads classified as ‘national primary’ or ‘national secondary’ are funded by the State, and construction, improvement and maintenance works are overseen by TII [Transport Infrastructure Ireland], in conjunction with the relevant local authority, and funded mainly from voted monies.”
He said that no decision has been taken to reclassify the R624 as a national road.
“Further consideration may be given to the issue as part of a future general review of road classifications,” he added.
Commenting, Mr Buckley said he was disappointed with the minister’s response.
“I was very disappointed with the minister’s and the department’s recent replies to my parliamentary questions last week regarding the urgency of upgrading the transport route from the N25 to Cobh,” he said.
“I have now written to TII to ask them if they will carry out a risk assessment on this route and also ask why, if the R624 meets the criteria for upgrading, why hasn’t it been done.”