THE County Mayor Cllr Seamus McGrath said that it was a breakdown in communication between Kerry and Cork county officials that saw a delegation from Kerry go it alone while meeting with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) recently to discuss the long-awaited Macroom by-pass.
Speaking to The Southern Star this week, Cllr McGrath said that it was simply not true that Cork County Council did not want to take part in a joint delegation.
‘Michael O’Shea, the Mayor of Kerry has got it into his head that we wouldn’t partake in a joint effort and the fact is that we didn’t attend the meeting because we didn’t even know about it. We never ever said that we would not partake in a joint delegation to push for the commencement of the N22 by-pass,’ said Cllr McGrath.
‘When we get a date to meet with officials from TII, we will be extending that invite to Mayor O’Shea and other Kerry officials so we can push this forward.’ Last week, Cllr Michael O’Shea said they had a productive meeting with TII officials over the Macroom by-pass project and that officials in Cork had shown no interest in attending the meeting.
A spokesperson for Cork County Council said that it came as a surprise to both Cllr Seamus McGrath and the chief executive, Tim Lucey, that Kerry County Council met with TII last week regarding the N22 project without having being notified by Kerry County Council that such a meeting was arranged.
‘Both the County Mayor and chief executive advised their Kerry counterparts in 2016 that Cork County Council would co-operate with the arrangements for a joint delegation, particularly as there are three other major National Roads Schemes that are critical to the South West region to be progressed by TII,’ said a Council spokesperson.
‘Cork County Council is awaiting a meeting with Minister for Transport, Mr Shane Ross TD on national road projects, and will be more than happy to facilitate Kerry County Council representation on same, in order to strengthen the case for the early announcement of the N22. Meeting with Minister Ross when a review of the Public Capital Programme is expected shortly will be strategically important in terms of future Government decision making.’
Macroom-based Councillor Gobnait Moynihan said she was disappointed to hear of Kerry County Council meeting with TII officials.
‘A joint approach would have strengthened the case for the early commencement of the N22 by-pass and we need to keep the pressure on the Minister, get a contractor appointed, and the road built,’ said Cllr Moynihan.
The Macroom by-pass project received a cash injection last month when it was confirmed that there would a €10.2m increase in funding for 2017, up from €3.8m in 2016.