Motorway will devastate small rural community

WE are writing as concerned residents of Ballyhea village, a small rural community on the Cork-Limerick border, just under the beautiful Ballyhoura Mountains.

The NRA/Cork County Council have proposed to construct the M20 Cork-Limerick motorway right through the heart of our village, coming within a couple of hundred metres of our church and shop.

In order to do this they have to construct a half-a-kilometre-long viaduct/bridge because they are going through a flood plain of the Awbeg river.

This is one of the largest structures on the 80km stretch of proposed motorway.

We feel this is completely unnecessary when alternative routes are available. This monstrosity of a structure will destroy our little village forever.

The village is segregated currently by the railway line to the east and the N20 which runs through its centre, and now it is proposed to have the M20 on the west side. This, in effect, will split our community entirely.

As a community, we are not against the motorway. What we are completely against is a structure that will seriously affect the amenities and quality of life for residents of our little village.

Alternative routes exist but as far as we can ascertain no detailed cost/benefit analysis was carried out on these alternative routes.

Surely an alternative route around our parish should have been examined in greater detail, given the destruction it will cause.

The NRA’s mission statement includes the words to “improve quality of life”. They have certainly not adhered to that in Ballyhea. We have objected strongly to the county council/NRA but to no avail. All our concerns and issues were totally ignored.

In fact, correspondence from the county council stated that the motorway was “skirting” the village to the west. This statement is totally at variance with what is actually happening to our village and is an insult to the people of our parish.

We have put our objection to Environment Minister John Gormley on the grounds that the proposed motorway is to be built on a flood plain.

We have voiced to him serious concerns as to what such a structure could do to flooding in the area and in particular its effects on the residents in the vicinity.

We have all seen the devastation caused by construction on flood plains in the recent past. The minister refused to meet with us. Is this a further indication that rural villages and parishes do not matter in our country?

We hope that An Bord Pleanála will see sense and advise the NRA/Cork County Council to make changes to the motorway so as to avoid the visual and physical intrusion on our vibrant community and also so as not to exacerbate the serious flooding issues in the area.

Anyone interested in supporting our campaign can do so by signing a petition at our local shop in Ballyhea.

Dave Garvey

Chairperson Ian Ronan

Secretary

Road Action Group

Ballyhea Community Council

Ballyhea

Co Cork

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