Thousands raised for M28 legal challenge

By Joe Leogue

Campaigners opposed to a new motorway in Cork say they have raised thousands of euro towards a legal challenge against the road but that more donations will be required to meet the costs of the action.

The M28 Cork to Ringaskiddy motorway was approved by An Bord Pleanála earlier this month following a lengthy oral hearing at which a number of objections were made against the project.

Among the concerns expressed by objectors is the proposed motorway’s proximity to homes in Douglas, Rochestown, and Maryborough Hill.

Residents fear noise levels from the road, combined with the pollution from passing traffic, will have a severely detrimental impact on their quality of life.

The €220m, 12.5km development links the Bloomfield Interchange on the existing N28 junction with the N40 South Ring Rd junction and the Port of Cork to the east of the village of Ringaskiddy.

Those in favour of the route enhancement say it will improve safety standards and is necessary to service the Port of Cork’s relocation to Ringaskiddy.

Cork County Council said the M28 corridor is part of the Trans-European Transport Network, providing access to the tier-one port at Ringaskiddy, “triggering a requirement that the port is served by a high-quality motorway or express road”.

The M28 Steering Group — an umbrella organisation of residents associations — held a meeting at Rochestown Park Hotel on Thursday to discuss its response to the planning authority’s decision to approve the motorway.

Chairman Gerard Harrington told the meeting its preliminary legal advice said that there is “strong grounds for seeking a judicial review” of the decision.

Issues cited include a lack of notice and consultation, failure to comply with relevant EU directives, and project-splitting.

John Higgins, chairman of the finance committee, said after the meeting that the group had been delighted at the turnout.

“What really took us by surprise, however, was that so many people turned up with cash,” he said.

“We had known for a long time that there was deep-rooted support and we had hoped for many pledges on the night. We were not disappointed in this regard with many of those present pledging substantial sums.”

Mr Higgins said the sums donated to date amount to “several thousand euro”.

“While this will not meet all our funding needs, it is certainly a very positive start,” he said.

The group has put various donation measures in place, such as setting up an iFundraise campaign.

The M28 approval is the second controversial decision in the area by An Bord Pleanála in recent months, following its recommendation that the Indaver incinerator in Ringaskiddy should receive the green light to go to construction.

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