A SKIBBEREEN councillor has said he no longer uses the N71 when driving to Cork due to its ‘shocking state.’
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) was speaking during a meeting of Cork County Council this week where the call for the N71 to be upgraded to a National Primary Road status was highlighted again.
‘I don’t drive the N71 route when I have to go to Cork and I never use it. And what does that say about it when people from Skibbereen won’t
even drive on it?’ asked Cllr Carroll. ‘What do we really have to do in relation to the N71? We have sent letters and delegations from here have met with transport officials and surely now someone will make a call on it. Even Transport Minister Shane Ross travelled the route recently when he visited West Cork and he said it was in a shocking state.’
Councillors were reacting to a reply from the Dept of Transport, Tourism and Sport over their call for a reclassification of the N71 to National Primary Road status, which said that the route will be considered as part of a wider review of the classification of National and Regional Roads.
Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) said the N71 road needs to be upgraded and called on the Council to write back to the Dept again to highlight the urgency of it.
Cllr Gillian Coughlan (FF) said it was crucial that the N71 be upgraded and that only a ‘paltry amount’ has been invested in it. ‘The upgrading of the route needs to sit in with our overall vision for West Cork and it’s as important as broadband for the region.
The N71 is the key backbone of the region and we should write back to them and impress on the Minister the key nature of the N71,’ said Cllr Coughlan.
Cllr Danny Collins (Ind), who met Minister Ross last month in West Cork said the Minister saw first hand how bad the N71 route is, while Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF) said it was the same ‘old chestnut’
again and that the N71 needs to be moved to a higher status.
Bantry-based Councillor Mary Hegarty (FG) pointed out that the Council only got a response back from the Dept after nine months, which Minister Ross apologised for when he visited West Cork.
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) said the N71 is a vital route and the most important thing is funding being allocated to it.