BARRY TELLS MINISTER
THAT MALLOW RING ROAD IS CRITICAL
There were a number of issues on the agenda when a Cork delegation met with Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar at the Department of Transport in Dublin yesterday, Thursday. The first item was the shelved M20. The County Manager Martin Riordan was present, as were county engineer Noel O’Keeffe, County Mayor Tim Lombard, Director of services Tom Stritch and a large contingent of Cork TDs and councillors.
The county manager told the Minister that he wants the M20 to go ahead; €20m has already been spent in the planning stages and nobody wants to see that money wasted. Mr. Riordan called for a slower spend over a longer period of time so that the benefit of the work already done is not lost.
Deputy Barry confirmed afterwards: “The Minister assured the deputation that the M20 is a priority for the country. It’s definitely not gone, it’s just a matter of how we approach it in the coming months and years under serious budget constraints.”
In the interim, there was a strong case made for the proposed Ring Road around Mallow. Deputy Barry outlined: “The figures on Mallow are some €20m for 5km; but we have to concentrate on the guaranteed return here. There are a lot of other projects, where there is uncertainty in relation to what they will return. These projects were created because of
projected population increases – that now may or may not be realised.
“Here in Mallow, we have a situation where there is going to be a €150m spent in the middle of the town and €5m outside the town – guaranteed – from Dairygold alone. Mallow could see a €200m spend with no infrastructural improvements at all; and that infrastructure must be prioritised.
“Counties like Cork are going to double our milk production to meet our targets. We need the road network to make this possible.
I stressed to the Minister that you need to prioritise the spend according to the maximum financial return. This is about job creation.
“There is a great willingness on the part of Cork County Council and the County Manager to approach this project as a partnership with the department. It’s a big item. Cork County Council will submit documentation and documents in relation to that and I intend to pursue the matter with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny today. What other town in the whole country has an almost guaranteed 200m spend? This has to go ahead and has to be
Local Councillors Tom Sheahan and Gerard Murphy also raised the issues of traffic management and streetscapes in the towns of Buttevant and Charleville, which would have been tackled as part of the M20 project.
Everybody’s telling you we’re so good because we’re producing 16% of the world’s millk infant formual is produced in Ireland and the big player is Dairygold Co-op. Charleville is another major centre of dairy production in Ireland and we cannot jeopardise huge areas of potential growth like these because of a lack of infrastructure. The new French President Francois Hollande is looking for a stimulus fund across Europe, we have to be ready and poised to capture those funds.”