CORK North West TD Aindrias Moynihan has said the latest report on the proposed Macroom by-pass has ‘let the cat out of the bag’.
The TD has criticised the Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) report, which shows that no funding has been allocated for the N22 plans, and work may not commence until at least 2021.
‘This report has let the cat out of the bag that this much-needed by-pass for Macroom is not their top priority. We were promised to get delivery on this and this report is devastating for the area,’ Deputy Moynihan told The Southern Star.
‘I was suspicious of this announcement before the election and the reduced CPO allocation from €5m to €3.8m confirmed this, and I raised it at the time. We have to get all local representatives to fight for it and I will continue to lead the charge on it by raising this issue in the Dáil and with the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross,’ he said.
Deputy Moynihan’s sister, Macroom-based Cllr Gobnait Moynihan, who was co-opted into his Council seat earlier this year, has also accused the Government of misleading the people of Macroom.
Councillors were told, following a meeting with TII officials and a Council delegation last month, that while the Macroom by-pass was in the Capital Investment Programme for 2016-2021, funding has not been allocated for the project.
TII advised that this funding would not become available until 2020/2021 and that work on the Dunkettle Interchange in 2019/2020 is their top priority.
‘I am very disappointed but not really shocked at the level of trickery going on by the government. We were led to believe by government representatives locally that the N22 by-pass was a priority – and such a priority that it was in the Capital Investment Programme 2016-2022,’ said Cllr Moynihan.
‘But what’s the point if there’s no funding made available until the end of the programme. ‘Post 2021’? Does that mean 2022 or 2025, or even 2030?’
Cllr Moynihan pointed out this ‘clearly highlighted how little the government cares, not just about Macroom, but the county of Cork, which is relying on this by-pass to boost tourism.’
Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) said the final word in the TII report said it all. The report even urged the councilors to put pressure on the government themselves. ‘It said that money is extremely tight, particularly for the next few years, and that any political lobbying the Council can do to improve the situation would be welcome.’
He said the Council should now call for an urgent meeting with Minister Ross.
Cllr Daithí Ó’ Donnabháin (FF) pointed out that several letters have already been sent to TII which were ignored and asked what purpose did they serve.
Councillors agreed that they would to go back to divisional meetings first to discuss the report and then request a meeting with Minister Ross.