With little indication that the development of the Cork-Limerick motorway will receive the green light any time soon, local businesses and politicians have instead shifted their focus to securing a 5km relief road for Mallow.
The issue was raised at the recent announcement of 115 jobs following a €117m investment by Dairygold in its plants in Mallow and Mitchelstown, with chief executive Jim Woulfe calling on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to deliver the development to Mallow.
“I would like to ask the Taoiseach to examine the northern ring road. There is a need for a 5km link to take traffic out of the plant in Mallow and onto the main road,” said Mr Woulfe.
He added that the project would be a benefit from an economic and environmental point of view.
In his speech at the announcement, Mr Kenny described it as a “reasonable” request.
“This development is the consequence of a very substantial investment in the plant by Dairygold and we cannot have a situation whereby this development is sending tankers out from the plant and through the town,” he said. “The Government has to put together some sort of a plan of development for the area,”
Local minister of state Seán Sherlock said the matter was a “live issue” that needs input from Cork County Council to strengthen the case.
“I already have held a meeting with the county chief executive, Tim Lucey, on this matter,” he said.
“I have also made representations to the National Roads Authority.
“In order to strengthen the case at this point, it would be necessary for the NRA to have a case made to it by Cork County Council. The issue is a live issue.
“Following my meeting with the chief executive, there will be further discussions to prioritise this route.”
Mallow-based Fine Gael TD Tom Barry said that Mr Kenny’s comments were an indication that the development was an inevitability.
“I have been calling for the construction of the 5.1km Ring road for some time, the project is already costed at €25m and I am pleased that the Taoiseach has confirmed that it is inevitable that it will be given the go-ahead in the near future,” he said.