Ireland's newest motorway launched today in the West

The M17 M18 Gort to Tuam motorway was unveiled to the public today two months ahead of schedule and on budget.

It was officially opened today by Shane Ross, TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, in the presence of Cllr. Eileen Mannion, Cathaoirleach of the County of Galway.

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, has said that the motorway will be welcomed by local residents and motorists alike and will help to create jobs in the western region.

"With the opening of this fine stretch of road we now have a seamless motorway from Tuam to Limerick via Galway, Ennis and Shannon. I am a firm believer that that good infrastructure helps create jobs and the completion of this section of the motorway will help attract Irish and international companies to this region," he said.

"This is a significant step forward in helping to realise the Atlantic Economic Corridor which my own Department is helping to drive. The next logical step is for this motorway to be extended to Claremorris and I will be extremely keen to see this happen."

John Sisk and Son Ltd also welcomed the official opening of the motorway.

"John Sisk & Son is delighted to have delivered the M17 M18 Gort to Tuam Motorway Scheme and to be a part of its official opening today. It was our aim from the start to deliver this project safely and on time and that has now been achieved within budget," said Pat Lucey, managing director of Civils UK & Ireland at John Sisk & Son.

"The 56km of new road will bring a huge improvement to connectivity west of the Shannon and multi-national companies like Apple are showing great vision in planning a major facility close to the new interchange on the M6 which is 180km from the M50, 69km from Shannon Airport and 80km from Knock Airport.

"It’s the type of development that is needed to counteract the regional imbalance and it is infrastructure like this that makes it possible."

The occassion was also commented upon by the Saw Doctors, whose famous song 'N17' is now out-of-date.

Posting on Facebook last night, the Saw Doctors said "somehow the M17 doesn't seem as inviting."

"The words of the famous Saw Doctors song N17 will become redundant tomorrow when the M17 motorway between Tuam and Gort will be officially opened by the Minister for Transport Shane Ross," they wrote.

"No more will Davy Carton be able to sing 'Well the ould fella left me to Shannon, Was the last time I travelled that road, And as I turned left at Claregalway, I could feel a lump in my throat'.

"From tomorrow Davy will be able to drive straight from Tuam to Shannon Airport on the M17 / M18-- there'll be no turning left at Claregalway-- and somehow the M17 doesn't doesn't seem as inviting

"'And I wish I was on the M17'."

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