Local senator presses Eamon Ryan on N4 upgrade
Fine Gael TDs and senators have told Transport Minister Eamon Ryan “to urgently progress national road projects”.
Senator Micheál Carrigy of Longford, who organised a meeting today, said the minister heard clarity is required on stalled projects around the country.
The meeting also heard a commitment to expand Local Link services nationally and to use them to assist with school transport issues.
Senator Carrigy said: “We had a constructive meeting with Minister Ryan this afternoon on a number of vital road projects that are not progressing. He was left in no doubt about what we require to ensure connectivity, jobs and investment across the country.
“If government are to deliver balanced regional development, businesses, residents and other stakeholders must have clarity that construction will proceed, to ensure they have accessibility and are well positioned to prosper economically.
“In my own area, I demanded clarity on when work would begin on a 50km stretch of the N4 between Mullingar and Longford, raising serious road safety and commercial concerns.
“The time for kicking the tyres on this project is well and truly up. We need investment from the minister now to set the wheels in motion.
“The longer we wait, the more the region is being closed off from the capital. Funding is required to get this long-awaited work to planning permission stage and get construction under way.
“This afternoon I impressed yet again on the minister the urgent need to address the road safety concerns as there has been a high number of fatalities and a significant number of accidents on this section of road over the last 20 years.
“It makes no sense to have a dual carriageway that ends abruptly just outside Mullingar when traffic volumes are equally heavy continuing along the same road to Longford and beyond to the north west.
“I have also met with various chambers of commerce, businesses and other stakeholders in the north west, who have expressed concern that a lack of investment in road projects has the potential to damage economic expansion in the region.
“I want my children to live and work in rural Ireland. We want to drive investment and jobs in Longford and the north west region with an improved N4 route.”
The senator said that, overall it was a constructive meeting and he was pleased to hear Minister Ryan praising Local Link services; he gave a commitment to increase them.
“He also said he would work with the education minister to look at using Local Link services to end the plight for many families who cannot access school buses.
“Currently Bus Éireann does not allow qualified drivers aged over 70 operate school buses on their buses or via contractors. That is farcical. Fully qualified and experienced people should be utilised to help school routes.
“Parents working full time for their families and their children are being left on the side of the road, this cannot continue,” Senator Carrigy concluded.