CORK TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has accused the recently unveiled National Development Plan (NDP) of lacking “real substance”, particularly when it comes to the delivery of the controversial Cork to Limerick motorway.
The Sinn Féin TD pressed his fellow Cork South Central deputy Simon Coveney about the issue in the Dáil yesterday.
“The reality is that it is just another glossy brochure filled with projects running years late,” Mr Ó Laoghaire said.
“When people read the NDP, they quickly see that ‘definitely’ has become ‘maybe’ or ‘not at all’. One of these maybes is the Cork to Limerick motorway.”
The remarks came during Leaders’ Questions, where Mr Ó Laoghaire asked for confirmation about whether or not the 80km M20 road, which was first proposed over 10 years ago, would be created.
“Comments from various TDs and the Minister for Transport have already cast serious doubt over whether this project will ever happen,” Mr Ó Laoghaire said.
Mr Coveney said that the plan was not just for cities but “for rural Ireland as well” and that Cork city has been prioritised as a place where a “counterbalance to Dublin” could be created.
“I am absolutely committed to delivering a quality motorway between Cork and Limerick but we also need to look at other alternatives such as a rail system,” Mr Coveney said.
“This is an enormous project. It is going to take time. There is a strong commitment in this Government to build a motorway between Cork and Limerick. That has been confirmed by the Taoiseach many times, by the Tánaiste many times and by me and others. We are committed to delivering on the much-needed improved road infrastructure between Cork and Limerick.”
Mr Ó Laoghaire, however, said that he believed Mr Coveney had “failed” to confirm whether the infrastructure would be a motorway.
“It is one of the two big flagship items really in the National Development Plan and they have not confirmed that they will definitely do it, even though the previous version said they would,” he said.
“The current road is unsafe, dangerous and it certainly won’t drive economic growth in its current state. What the people of Cork need is for [the] Government to move beyond empty promises and into specifics."