February 4, 2021
Mary Lou McDonald tells Taoiseach that government cannot renege on Coonagh to Knockalisheen road commitment

Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald has today written to the Taoiseach calling on him to intervene on the Green Party Leader’s decision to renege on the Coonagh to Knockalisheen distributor road as committed to in the Programme for Government. 

Ms McDonald’s initiative comes following her meeting Moyross Partners last night. The Sinn Féin Leader said:

“I met with the Moyross Partners last night online to discuss the recent decision of the Minister for Transport to delay the Coonagh to Knockalisheen distributor road – an advanced project on which the state has already spent approximately a third of the budget allocated.

“This project is one of 12 regional and local road improvement schemes that were identified for development in the National Development Plan (NDP) which the current Programme for Government commits not to ‘frustrate or delay’ whilst the process of review of the NDP is underway.

“In July 2020, the Minister for Transport confirmed to Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan that his Department had approved the project to proceed to tender for the main construction contract. Limerick City and County Council subsequently submitted a recommendation to the Minister on the award of a contract for the construction of the project.

“During a recent meeting with the Moyross Partners the Minister cast doubt on the completion of this critical piece of infrastructure, and his public statements since have created even more uncertainty as to the project’s future.

“The decision of the Green Party Leader to renege on a Programme for Government commitment is a matter that all three government party leaders are now responsible for. It must be addressed by the Taoiseach.

“The response to the Minister’s decision is one of universal anger and outrage. The origins of this road go back to the Fitzgerald Report of 2007. It was commissioned to address issues of Social Exclusion in Moyross and other disadvantaged areas of Limerick City.

“John Fitzgerald identified that a key element in developing economic activity, and ending the isolation of deprived areas, is through putting in place a sound roads and transport infrastructure. His report highlighted that Moyross road infrastructure meant it was in a cul-de-sac with some of the major problems being experienced at the furthest end of the estate.

“Fourteen years later Moyross remains a cul-de-sac. Inexplicably the Minister acknowledged just last week that Moyross has been cut off by the cul-de-sac design of the local road network.

“Abstract promises of improved connectivity and light rail will not fix the Moyross road infrastructure, however the distributor road project can and will. The importance of completing this project cannot be overstated. The government must deliver on its commitment.”

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