A FIANNA Fáil election candidate has called into question the current government’s commitment to the Macroom Bypass project.
Fianna Fáil candidate for Cork North West, Cllr Aindrias Moynihan, claims the Government has allocated less money to the Macroom Bypass next year.
When the Transport Infrastructure Ireland allocations were announced just before Christmas, the Macroom Bypass was allocated €3.8m for 2016. ‘This is a reduction on what was allocated for the bypass in 2014 and 2015, and it casts doubt on the Government’s commitment,’ he said.
‘Overall Cork County has been allocated €9.2m for next year, which is down from €16.7m in 2015. I was horrified to read that the national road funding grants for the Macroom bypass has been reduced to just €3.8m.
‘In 2014 the bypass received €4m, and in 2015 it received €5m,’ he said, adding: ‘Reducing the allocation to €3.8m this year shows that the project is not travelling full steam ahead. Instead it looks like it’s a project going backwards. The project is not a priority for the Government.’
He said that land purchase for the project has been ongoing since 2013 when the court appeals finished. It is expected the project needs €19.5m to buy the land alone. At the present rate of funding, we could be waiting until 2018 to see all the land bought. The next big milestone for the bypass is to tender for construction. However, there is no indication when the tenders will be published.
‘Government representatives expressed their “pride and delight” at the announcement that Macroom bypass was to be included in the capital spending programme last September. At the time I cautiously welcomed the government’s announcement that the N22 Macroom bypass was included in the capital plan. I called for an immediate commitment to move to tender for construction and to fund the complete project. However, there is now widespread disappointment with the reduced bypass funding and the absence of a commitment to tender for construction.’
He said he felt that government representatives had failed to realise the importance of the project for all the south of the country. ‘This road will provide a huge economic stimulus for the area. It will open Macroom and the mid-Cork area for further economic development, which it is losing through congestion. This road will be a vital aid to rural development west of Macroom as well as in a huge portion of Kerry. It will provide ease of access to the entire area. Most importantly it will ease the journeys of people living west of Macroom, who travel regularly to Cork for medical services,’ he said.