IRELAND South MEP and EU Transport Committee member Deirdre Clune has called on Minister Shane Ross to include the M20 in the Mid-term Capital plan review in 2017. Clune described the motorway project between Cork and Limerick as a game changer for the entire Western Atlantic corridor.
“We need to counter balance the excessive economic growth that we are seeing in Dublin. Our transport infrastructure can be used to drive growth to the regions by allowing cities in the southern part of the country to become connected hubs that take the pressure off Dublin.
A report produced by the Irish Academy of Engineering in May of this year criticised current policy for following development rather than leading it. The report states that spatial planning will have to be supported by an integrated infrastructure plan and the lack of an M20 between Cork and Limerick is a major concern to numerous stakeholders throughout the South-West, who recommended that it should now be fast-tracked.
That report identified the upgrading of the N20 as the single biggest issue that needs to be addressed in transport infrastructure in Ireland. The Transport Minister has recently given Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) the green light to restart the planning process for the M20 motorway which Clune welcomed as a first step to getting this vital piece of infrastructure funded and built as soon as is possible.
“Time is not on our side with this project. The planning process alone is expected to take 5 years on the M20 project which is why it is vital that the M20 be included in the 2017 capital plan.
“When built, the M20 would shorten journey times between Limerick and Cork by a half an hour. More than 300,000 jobs are earmarked in the Action Plan for Jobs for the Cork and Limerick region. We have to ensure connectivity between companies in the region for commercial reasons but also for the commuters who have to travel this road every day.
“Ireland’s population is expected to be somewhere around 6.2 million people by 2030. Most of this population growth will disproportionately go to Dublin. Just under 40% of Ireland’s population live in the greater Dublin area.
“If we are serious about balanced economic growth where all regions and cities prosper accordingly, then we must include the M20 project in the upcoming review and make the funding available to get the project underway.
Plans to develop the M20 motorway were shelved in 2011 due to a lack of funding.