Battle lines drawn over proposed M20 motorway route 

'There were three battles fought here in the 1300s and 1800s, and they will only be a skirmish in comparison if they try to come through us,' says one local resident.
Battle lines drawn over proposed M20 motorway route 

The M20 project is to be built broadly within the existing N20 corridor via Croom, Charleville, Mallow, and Blarney.

Locals in Manister, Co Limerick, say they are prepared to protest if the route for the proposed M20 motorway passes through their parish.

Public consultations on the second phase of the Cork-Limerick scheme opened last month. The project is to be built broadly within the existing N20 corridor via Croom, Charleville, Mallow, and Blarney and there are now six possible routes which the road could take.

Under one, known as the “plum route”, Pat Quain, a local construction worker, says both he and his daughter look set to lose their homes.

“I’m here over 20 years," he said.

"I have seven acres of land. I have planted 350 trees. That will all be gone if the road comes through here.”

He says if the plan for the road to go through the parishes of Manister and Crecora proceeds, the local reaction will be comparable to that of the locals in Mayo during the protests over the introduction of the Corrib gas pipeline.

“This will make Ballinaboy in Mayo look like a garden party," he said. "Because everybody in this parish will stand up to this. There were three battles fought here in the 1300s and 1800s, and they will only be a skirmish in comparison if they try to come through us.” 

Laura Kerr says there are massive concerns locally about flora and fauna of the area.

“We have a dairy and stud farm,” she said. "The plum route comes into our bog, which has the critically endangered silver eel in it, along with orchids and butterflies. The teal route takes out of the home we currently rent just up the road from the farm. We also lease a farm in Manister and it passes right through the middle of that."

It is not just the impact on the land which has people in the area worried. Mary, who wishes to keep her last name anonymous in order to respect her son’s privacy, says she hasn’t been able to sleep after hearing that a number of the proposed routes could mean she will have to move.

“My autistic son is non-verbal and has epilepsy. He has grand mal seizures,” she said.

“I can’t move, because I can’t move him out of his environment. This is his home. He knows the layout, the area, the house. I can’t even take him on a holiday because he would be afraid. His whole world is going to be destroyed.”

A petition, called 'Manister and Crecora community members say no to M20 teal and plum route', has been set up and can be signed online.

The closing date for submissions on the M20 public consultation has been extended to January 15.

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