Cork East TD, Seán Sherlock, has said he is fearful that the Budget process may see the N73 Mallow to Mitchelstown road lose funding that is desperately needed to make the route safe.
“I have been campaigning on this for over 15 years now,” Deputy Sherlock said this week. “I understand that we are on the cusp of getting funding for this stretch of road from Clogher Cross to Canteen Cross.
“The tender process is being readied up. However, the money to do the project and to complete the project has not been earmarked yet.
“We’re at a very critical time now. I have contacted the Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath. I have contacted the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan. I have been contacting officials in the Department of Transport. I’m very concerned that at this late hour, the government might pull the funding for this project and not allow it to proceed.
‘PRESSURE’ NOW NEEDED
Earlier this year, in July, Michael Kennedy, Head of Regulatory and Administration for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), indicated that “an allocation of €1.5M” was provided by TII to Cork County Council for 2021, to enable the works to progress on the N73 Clogher Cross to Waterdyke scheme. While the N73 Annakisha South Improvement Scheme was allocated €300,000 in 2021.
“So it’s vitally important that people like me continue to lobby for this road, but also that if people are talking to government TDs or councillors in this area, that it’s vitally important that pressure is brought to bear on Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs in particular and for Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael councillors, in particular, to bend the ear of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and the Minister for Transport to ensure that this project does not slip through the cracks, yet again.”
‘FORGET PARTY LOYALTIES’
Urging cross party support to help secure the necessary funding, Deputy Sherlock issued a call to finally progress the project.
“I’m very concerned now that we get this project over the line, with funding secure and there is energy around it. I do know that the tender documents could be ready to go anytime, but we do not want the funding to match the tender process to slip through the cracks.”
“We need everyone to wear the same jersey for this project. Forget party loyalties and deliver for the people of North Cork,” Deputy Sherlock concluded.