Cork East TD James O'Connor has said the Taoiseach Micheál Martin and the Transport Minister Eamon Ryan will meet with him tomorrow to discuss his grievances about the recently published National Development Plan (NDP).
Mr O'Connor said that he feels he was misled to believe certain road projects for the East Cork region, most notably the Castlemartyr and Killeagh bypass projects, would be included in the plan which was announced earlier this week.
An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin and the Minister for Transport will meet me tomorrow afternoon to discuss the new National Development Plan document. I will be seeking assurances on key road projects that have not been directly identified.— James O'Connor TD (@JamesOConnorTD) October 6, 2021
This evening the Fianna Fáil TD tweeted:
"An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin and the Minister for Transport will meet me tomorrow afternoon to discuss the new National Development Plan document.
Mr O’Connor had earlier said that he was expecting “a number of key infrastructure projects” in the East Cork region to be specifically mentioned in the NDP and felt “deeply mislead” when he found out they would not be.
“I was expecting that a number of key infrastructure projects would be individually referenced by Government [in the NDP] and I had representation and commitments to the people of Cork East and to me as their TD that some projects would be included, with particular reference to Castlemartyr and Killeagh in terms of the N25 upgrade,” he said speaking to Patricia Messinger this morning on C103's.
“I learned on Thursday and on Wednesday from engagement I had at Cabinet level and with senior Government officials that everything was on track and I received confirmation on Sunday night that neither the Fota Road was going to be included or Castlemartyr and Killeagh.”
Speaking in relation to the N25, Mr O’Connor said he had sought in the region of €54 million to provide two relief roads at Castlemartyr and Killeagh to tackle traffic congestion, describing the project as “crucial to the future of East Cork”.
“I had been told in good faith by a number of different sources at senior levels right across Government that this project was ok. Nobody told me at any stage that it was a non-runner,” he said.
When asked if he felt that he was lied to, Mr O’Connor said “yes, by a multitude of colleagues”.
“I’ve been misled. I’m angry. I feel that the people who elected me feel that pain and I want to say here now that I will not stand for it,” he said.
Mr O’Connor said that he would be looking at a number of options “including resigning the whip of the Fianna Fáil party" if he does not get a commitment on the projects.
The Taoiseach, when announcing the National Development Plan, said that if other projects were delayed then the money could be invested into projects such as the Castlemartyr bypass.
However, Mr O’Connor is seeking more commitment.
“I will continue to fight for this project to be included in the NDP and I will not relent until I get a commitment from Government that this project will be supported.
“The language contained within the NDP is not sufficient.”