The M20 — a motorway connecting Limerick and Cork — has assumed mythical, almost holy grail status. Everyone knows it might some day come to pass but no one knows when. Indeed, some sections of the road were cleared to facilitate its development so very long ago that they have, to use a contemporary phrase, naturally rewilded. Felled trees have been replaced and a second clearing will be necessary if the M20 is to be finalised.
New Public Expenditure Minister, and Cork South Central TD, Michael McGrath has asserted that it will be built. He is not the first politician to make that declaration but he is the first with obligations Green Party colleagues averse to major, new road projects. That this is not a new project but rather the completion of an old one is pertinent. Just as there is an extensive motorway leaving Limerick, there is an extensive motorway leaving Cork; bridging the gap in the middle is the objective. It seems fair to argue that it will facilitate traffic rather than generate significant new traffic.
Mr McGrath can expect to be accused of localism by those trumpeting that the West was cast adrift when the cabinet was selected. However, he can have a bulletproof response. The only reason this project remains uncompleted is that resources were concentrated in the east of the country for so very long.