Frustration is growing in Limerick over delays to the development of a crucial road.
The parish priest of Moyross claims delays to the €58m distributor road will jeopardise plans to attract jobs to the area. Almost €20m has been spent on the road, which will link Coonagh and Knockalisheen.
Fr Pat Hogan and other local community leaders said this would finally open up Moyross, which he described as “the country’s biggest cul de sac”, to inward investment, and criticised Green Party leader Eamon Ryan for his role in the project.
A spokesperson for Mr Ryan, the transport minister, said he is "carefully considering" the project, but stressed that "roads cannot be considered in isolation" and that they should be elements of overall planning and transport strategies.
Figures in the 2016 census identified Limerick, including the Moyross area, as an employment blackspot, and Fr Hogan said this project could reverse that.
Fr Hogan said: “I’m asking the Minister for Transport to resign. He has interfered in the process of Limerick’s Regeneration plans for this road, which were promised 13 years ago. He is effectively throwing out this plan and looking for another plan.
The Mayor of Limerick City and County, Michael Collins, called for “urgent clarification” from the Minister for Transport, on the future delivery of the Coonagh-Knockalisheen Road.
Mr Collins said the local community in Moyross was “frustrated and angry” at the status of the project.
With €19m already spent on the route, it remains a “key priority” for Limerick City and Council, a spokeswoman for the local authority said.
“The project is with minister Ryan for sign-off since October 9, 2020. It represents everything that Regeneration is designed to do, and set to deliver for the Moyross area, finally facilitating inward investment and tenure diversification for Moyross,” she said.
Mr Ryan's office noted that the draft transport strategy published for the Limerick-Shannon region proposes 'a significantly different road than what had been originally planned', and said that the minister has also funded Irish Rail in the recent budget to develop a suburban rail strategy for Limerick.
"Moyross is located on the Limerick to Ennis line, and is very likely to be a key node in the suburban rail network. A station in Moyross would become a vibrant hub for the area and facilitate social and economic development," they said, adding that money has also been set aside for enhanced bus works in the area.