The Mayor of the County of Cork has welcomed the decision by the Supreme Court to clear the way for the development of the M28 Cork to Ringaskiddy Motorway which she described as “critical both nationally and for the entire Cork region”.
County Mayor Mary Linehan Foley said the decision made by the Supreme Court this week to reject further grounds to appeal clears the way for “the long overdue upgrade of the road to Carrigaline and Ringaskiddy”.
Mayor Linehan Foley said that the motorway is the “last piece of the jigsaw” in connecting Ireland’s main ports by a high-quality road network.
“This 12.5km, €220m scheme, from Cork to Carrigaline and Ringaskiddy, is the last piece of the jigsaw that will see the ports of Belfast, Dublin and Cork connected by a high-quality road network,” she said.
“It is critical both nationally and for the entire Cork region and is specifically identified in the National Development Plan, part of the Government’s Project Ireland 2040.”
Mayor Linehan Foley said that the scheme will help to improve access for the communities and industries in the Carrigaline and Ringsakiddy area.
She noted it as being part of the all-round approach to safe and sustainable transport for the Cork region that includes the Cork Harbour Greenway and the Carrigaline Western Relief road in addition to the ongoing Dunkettle Interchange upgrade in addition to being important for the development of Ringaskiddy port facilities.
Earlier this week, the challenges blocking the development of the M28 Cork to Ringaskiddy road came to an end in the courts, clearing the way for its development.
Last year, the M28 Steering Group was informed that the High Court decision on its legal challenge to An Bord Pleanála’s approval of the 14km motorway could not be appealed.
The steering group, who represent local residents living along the proposed route for the motorway, proceeded with the matter with a petition to the Supreme Court.
However, the group was refused leave to appeal to the Supreme Court earlier this week and they have now come to “the end of the road”, according to Chair of the Group, Ger Harrington.
The Steering Group had raised a number of issues with the M28, including concerns of traffic and noise pollution and impact on natural habitat.
Following the decision by the Supreme Court, Mr Harrington said that the M28 Steering Group would “just have to accept it and move on”.
Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Rose Desmond had said that she regretted that a compromise could not be reached with residents.
However, the Supreme Court decision was welcomed by both the Cork Chamber of Commerce and the Port of Cork with Cork Chamber CEO Conor Healy described the motorway as an "essential piece of infrastructure, which is of national and regional importance” and noted the delays as "generating huge frustration".
Mayor Linehan Foley said that the detailed design and tendering process for the motorway will now begin, with works including fencing, service diversions and archaeology expected to commence in the next year.