Minister of transport Eamon Ryan has agreed to fund the development of two national road projects following a backlash from Fine Gael.
r Ryan announced today that €3 million in funding is available to advance the N24 Waterford-Cahir and N4 Mullingar-Longford road projects in 2022.
Both road projects – along with the N2 Clontibret to the Northern Ireland border, the N25 Waterford to Glenmore, the N25 Carrigtwohill to Midleton and the N52 Tullamore to Kilbeggan – have not been funded for this year in an announcement made by Mr Ryan before Christmas.
The chairman of the Greens put the projects on hold due to funding bottlenecks. His spokesman had said they would be taken up again in 2023 as only €35 billion would be available over the next decade for €70 billion worth of public transport and road projects at various planning stages.
However, Mr Ryan has now announced a partial U-turn after that decision prompted significant backlash from Fine Gael TDs and Senators, some of whom threatened to withdraw support from the Government.
The €3 million funding, which Mr Ryan was due to announce today at a meeting with a group of all the party’s TDs and Senators, includes €2 million for the N24 and €1 million for the N4.
The funding will prevent what is known as “land paralysis” – when a road has not been routed, resulting in several tracts of land being unavailable for development.
Mr. Ryan will argue that the other projects not funded under this year’s allocation do not have this problem. The route selection process for the N4 will be completed this year and this route selection for the N24 should be completed by the end of 2023.
While the move is welcomed by Fine Gael TDs and Senators in the Midlands and the South and South East of the country, the ongoing suspension of several other streets is likely to cause problems for Mr Ryan in the coming weeks.
The exclusion of the roads from the €676m funding plan ahead of Christmas was raised by Tánaiste with Mr Ryan Leo Varadkar in recent weeks after the Fine Gael leader was praised by several of his party colleagues.
the Sunday independent reported in January that Fine Gael backbenchers, including Carlow-Kilkenny TD John Paul Phelan and Cork East TD David Stanton, had questioned at a private party meeting whether they could continue to support the government after national road projects failed for the year were funded.
Mr Phelan later said publicly that Mr Ryan had “no sympathy for rural Ireland or anything out of the ordinary”.
Garret Ahearn, the Fine Gael Senator who is campaigning for the N24 project, welcomed the move, saying it was vital to economic growth in Tipperary and addressing the issue of “land paralysis” among families in my community who have homes wanted to build caused enormous frustration”.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/eamon-ryan-announces-plan-to-fund-3m-of-national-road-projects-after-fine-gael-backlash-41412888.html Eamon Ryan announces plan to fund €3m national road projects after Fine Gael backlash