Cork-Limerick motorway 'a shocking waste of taxpayers' money', lobby group says

Cork-Limerick Alliance Group chairman Brian Hyde

A lobby group has said building a direct motorway link between Cork and Limerick is a major waste of taxpayers' money, because there is another one planned which will link the two cities.

The Cork-Limerick Alliance Group (CLAG) says a proposed motorway between Cahir, Co Tipperary and Limerick would link up with the M8 (Cork-Dublin motorway) and it would be just as easy for traffic coming out of Cork to travel up the M8 and join it at Cahir.

CLAG chairman, Brian Hyde, said the Cahir-Limerick route would cost approximately €550m to construct and would be considerably cheaper than the €900m direct link motorway (M20) between Cork and Limerick.

He said the money saved could then be used to upgrade parts of the existing N20 (Cork-Limerick Road).

"What is needed on the N20 corridor is a relief road in Mallow to take the traffic out of the town and also a bypass of Buttevant and Charleville. There is no justification for building a motorway between Limerick and Cork on the N20 corridor to take the number of vehicles that go directly between both cities daily," Mr Hyde said.

Mr Hyde said he'd spoken to hauliers who said that lorries coming out of Ringaskiddy container terminal to Limerick, Galway or Sligo would use the M8 up to Cahir, instead of having to skirt around the northwest of Cork City to join up with the proposed M20.

"The existing M8 has a capacity for 57,000 vehicles a day, so it can easily handle extra traffic to and from Limerick, Galway and Sligo via the proposed new motorway from Limerick to Cahir," Mr Hyde said.

There is a proposal to build a new motorway between Limerick and Waterford in the Government's plan for 2040.

This would mean then we would have two motorways servicing Limerick and Cork. What a shocking waste of taxpayers' money and total lack of proper planning for the future," Mr Hyde said.

He added that journeys originating in Limerick with a final destination of Waterford or Rosslare Euro Port would not be made on the M20, as the distance from Limerick to Cork to Waterford is too great.

Cork county councillors have expressed concerns that the M20 will not be open by 2027 and in the meantime money should be allocated to build bypasses around Charleville, Buttevant and Mallow.

They've also questioned why €15m is being spent on a new M20 design when one was done before it was mothballed by the government due to the recession.

It's been estimated it will take at least two years before this is done and the plan goes again before An Bord Pleanála.

Mr Hyde's group represented landowners and businesses who were affected by the building of the M20 at an oral hearing into its construction held by An Bord Pleanála some years ago.

He pointed out that at the time the An Bord Pleanála inspector who chaired the oral hearing, Danny O'Connor, recommended that the proposed motorway scheme should be rejected.

"He also stated that our proposal of a motorway between Limerick and Cahir wasn't even looked at by the NRA (forerunner of TII) at the time," Mr Hyde added.

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