TRANSPORT Minister Paschal Donohoe has scrapped plans to build a motorway between Cork and Limerick.
His reason? The estimated €1bn cost is too high, he says.
But his decision not to invest in a proper road network between Ireland’s second- and third-largest cities may prove even costlier and shortsighted.
The National Roads Authority had said the motorway would shave half an hour off journey times between the two cities, but the real saving would be in lives. The N20 Cork-to-Limerick road is one of the country’s worst accident blackspots — particularly near Buttevant, which has been the scene of multiple fatal accidents over the past few years.
Minister Donohoe is as shortsighted as his predecessor, Leo Varadkar, who, as Transport Minister, in 2011, directed the National Roads Authority (NRA) to withdraw its planning application for the motorway.
The 2011 decision could at least be partly explained by the deep financial crisis. Now that we are emerging from that crisis, surely it is essential that the Government take any opportunity to help the regions grow and prosper.
A motorway between Cork and Limerick is essential for balanced regional development, as a counter to Dublin and the east coast.
Mr Donohoe’s decision reveals how Dublin-centred this government is.
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