‘Focus on road projects that can support recovery’

The Government will focus major road spending on projects which can support economic recovery, the transport minister has said.

Paschal Donohoe said he was assessing a range of competing schemes in Cork alone, including the stalled €800m Cork to Limerick motorway, the N28 Cork to Ringaskiddy road upgrade, and upgrading the Dunkettle interchange.

He said he would only sign off on public-private partnership road projects if he was “absolutely confident” that the exchequer had all the funding required to fully complete a scheme.

He was speaking in Cork ahead of a meeting with Cork Chamber. Economic impact studies show an N28 upgrade would deliver a €173m boost to the economy and help create over 2,200 jobs, and that a Mallow bypass would be worth €90m to the town.

Mr Donohoesaid this huge scheme was now competing for funding with several other major road projects, including the N28, the Dunkettle interchange, and the Cork to Kerry road.

“The projects we are focusing on are all ones that would play a very valuable role in supporting the recovery in Cork and within Ireland,” he said. He accepted the proposed 80km Cork to Limerick motorwaywas a worthy project, but added: “There is a need for investment, in for example, the Ringaskiddy road to facility the broader very positive development that could take place in Cork Port to give a further support to the recovery that is underway in the region.”

Meanwhile, Ireland South MEP and member of the EU transport committee, Deirdre Clune, has called on the National Roads Authority to chase a slice of a €7bn EU transport fund.

Ireland secured €56m in EU funding for transport projects last week, including €3m for the Shannon Foynes Port company and almost €13m for the Port of Cork’s Ringaskiddy expansion.

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