A series of lengthy traffic tailbacks in Cork have prompted calls for the Transport Minister to visit the city during rush hour.
The calls came from Labour councillor John Maher and party representative Peter Horgan. They have urged Ministers Shane Ross and Charlie Flanagan and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to initiate Operation Freeflow in Cork to alleviate traffic chaos north and south of the Lee.
They were prompted by several hours of gridlock which was caused by a minor two-car collision in the Jack Lynch Tunnel on Thursday. Nobody was injured in the incident but it caused lengthy tailbacks.
At the same time, an accident in Ballintemple caused further delays on the southside.
It was the latest in a series of accidents that have resulted in traffic headaches in recent weeks.
These include a four-car accident on the N40 on September 16, accidents in the Jack Lynch Tunnel on September 21 and 24 and October 5, and smaller accidents on the South Ring Road on September 21 and October 10.
Cllr Maher said the situation is "getting beyond a joke".
"One crash on the southside shuts down the road network on the northside also," he said.
Operation Freeflow is needed, he added, to provide a visible policing presence on the roads to protect routes from rat-running and "chronic congestion". Cllr Maher said the situation is likely to worsen in the coming busy Christmas season.
Mr Horgan called on the Transport Minister to come to the city during peak time to see the extent of the traffic, and said he can witness first-hand the need for better public transport in Cork.
Operation Freeflow was first introduced in 1996 to ensure that traffic laws such as keeping junctions, bus lanes and yellow boxes clear were enforced.