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Green Light

Eamon Ryan u-turns over Limerick road project, says it will be delivered 'without delay'

Minister Eamon Ryan was accused of acting “in clear breach” of the Programme for Government last week by FF Willie O’Dea.

IN WHAT IS being dubbed as a u-turn by the transport minister, Eamon Ryan has confirmed that the Coonagh – Knockalisheen road project in Limerick will go ahead.

Last week, the €45 million road, which is seen as a major part of the regeneration of Moyross, caused division lines between Fianna Fáil and the Greens.

Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea said the Green Party leader’s decision to review the project was a “clear breach of the Programme for Government”.

The issue also dominated the week’s Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting, where members passed a motion calling on the minister to sign off on the road to Limerick City which was originally approved in 2007.

Ryan said the review of the project was correct, as government wanted to get it right. The minister said he was looking at the overall plan for the regeneration of Limerick, and wanted the area to have the “most modern and advanced transport system”.

Five days later, amid mounting pressure from his government colleagues in Fianna Fáil, Ryan confirmed this morning on local radio that following further consultation with local TDs, party leaders, and with Limerick Council officials, the road will proceed as planned. 

He also said there are plans to improve bus access, pedestrian walkways and cycleways in the Moyross estate.

The Taoiseach confirmed the decision in the Dáil this afternoon, adding that “Deputy O’Dea has been a tireless advocate for Moyross and the entire area, as have Deputy Niall Collins and councillors. They engage and have engaged on a consistent basis with the local community”.

“We had an interesting presentation by Deputy O’Dea last week and, in his inimitable way, he brought home the importance of getting that project done but also the importance of wider issues of economic development in the Moyross area and greater opportunities which, through the urban regeneration and development fund, URDF, and other initiatives Government will undertake, will be provided,” he said.

Speaking in the Dáil about the decision to give the green light the road, Ryan said: “There will be no delay in building the road.”

“It is also vital that we open up pedestrian access for the people of Moyross in every direction and really provide them with the highest quality connectivity. We recently improved the bus services in Moyross but it is absolutely right to go further and to put bus lanes on the new road to make sure the people get high quality public transport,” he said. 

There are other new public transport projects that the minister hopes to bring to the Dáil shortly, he said.

“It is also important that we connect to the rest of the city with further measures, such as high quality cycling and pedestrian facilities to the city centre, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick and Limerick Institute of Technology to connect the three colleges in Limerick,” he added. 

“It is about looking at the whole package with regard to transport and the other local measures we all want to provide for Moyross,” said Ryan, telling the Dáil that he will be signing of on the preferred bidder for the project today.

Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald welcomed the decision stating that it will end “weeks of confusion and deep anger” in the community.

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