Cork East TD James O'Connor is to remain in the Fianna Fáil party after he was given assurances on the Government’s commitment to certain roads projects in his constituency.
Mr O'Connor had previously claimed he was ‘misled’ to believe certain road projects within his constituency, most notably the Castlemartyr and Killeagh bypass projects, would be included in the National Development Plan (NDP) which was announced earlier this week.
He had threatened to leave the party but held talks yesterday evening with Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath to resolve the dispute.
Mr O’Connor said the meeting took place after Cabinet yesterday evening to discuss some of the “significant concerns” he had around the new revised National Development Plan.
Speaking on RTÉ’s, Mr O’Connor said going into the meeting his main concern surrounded the fact that certain roads projects such as the bypass for Killeagh/Castlemartyr and an upgrade of the Fota Road to Cobh were not specifically mentioned in the NDP.
“Much of our discussion was based on that particular fact and what I sought from yesterday’s meeting was to get a commitment from Government that these issues will be addressed and particularly in the issue of Castlemartyr and Killeagh,” he said.
He described the project as “extremely important” to the East Cork area.
“I have an electoral mandate on behalf of the constituents in Cork East to get this issue resolved.
“As a result of yesterday’s meeting, I am now happy that I have received the commitments that we need in order to pursue a pathway forward,” he continued.
Mr O’Connor said he expects that the bypasses will take a number of years to complete but said the “good news is that this project will be initiated.”
When asked if he was serious about considering quitting the Fianna Fáil party, Mr O’Connor said he was.
“I wouldn’t make such a statement unless I was serious about it,” he said.