If recent rumours were anything to go by, work on a new road linking Cork and Limerick would start at Mitchelstown rather than using the intended route that would see Mallow and Buttevant bypassed. 

The supposed logic of the Mitchelstown idea was that it would be far less expensive to build a link from the M8 from Mitchelstown to Limerick rather than a complete new €800m link from Cork.

However, county councilors were not happy with the idea, with Chambers of Commerce in both cities also firmly quashing any such suggestion.

The matter was raised in the Dail by Kevin O’Keeffe TD who asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross, if he would clarify the position.

Minister Ross in his reply said there are no proposals to construct a motorway from Mitchelstown to Limerick but confirmed that it was one of ‘a number of options that were considered as an alternative to the existing N20 corridor as part of the initial planning work that was carried out on the proposed Cork to Limerick motorway scheme’.

Kevin, O’Keeffe informed The Avondhu that, as a member of the Select Committee on Transport Tourism and Sport, he will strive to ensure that the Mallow – Limerick bypass remains on the public agenda.

“I will remain in constant communication with Minister Ross to that effect”, he said.

When the Mitchelstown route came into play, James Ring of the Limerick Chamber of Commerce went as far as to say that in his organisation’s opinion, Mitchelstown is not an option because Mallow, Charleville and Buttevant need to be serviced with better road links, stating that a motorway link from Mitchelstown to Limerick would be ‘just crossing villages’.

It is understood interested parties in the major towns of Ballylanders, Knocklong and Hospital could be heard weeping for a week after the remark, having been dealt a blow like that!

Mr Ring said it might not be realistic to expect the M20 motorway to be built in one fell swoop, but said bypasses should be built around Mallow, Buttevant and Charleville which could all be joined up to the motorway at a later date.

Cork county councillors intend putting pressure on the Government to get the project back on track and are also trying to lobby for the creation of a the much needed northern relief road around Mallow.

The town suffers extensive gridlock at peak times, not to mention the resultant economic benefits the relief road bypass would bring to the town.