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Government accused of ‘hijacking’ vital Mayo road projects

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Government accused of ‘hijacking’ vital Mayo road projects


Trevor Quinn


Commenting on the Governments decision to suspend all major road projects which includes the N17, the N5 and the N26 last week Claremorris based Councillor Richard Finn said, “Suspension in the present climate means the end of the road”.
“It’s a nice word for hijacked. The N17 Ballindine to Milltown road is without doubt the worst road in the country. More people have been killed there than anywhere else in recent times.”
Works are due to take place at Carrownurlar by the end of the year to eradicate the two dangerous bends in the area. However Cllr Finn claimed with a budget on the horizon nothing was a certainty in the present economic climate. He said the suspension was a major disappointment and the Claremorris to Tuam bypass had been greatly anticipated as a definitive end to the carnage.
The Ballindine to Milltown road has been the scene of a number of tragic accidents over the years, including one that claimed the lives of four young NUI Galway students in 2009.
While the decision to shelve the N17 project has angered some, the suspension of the N5 Westport to Castlebar route has also been criticised. Westport councillor Cllr Margaret Adams said, “We were all expecting the N5 to go ahead. It’s very badly needed. Now it’s going to be on the back burner.”
Deputy John O’Mahony has defended the Government decision over the suspension of the N5, the N26 and the N17 road projects in the county. Deputy O’Mahony said there was no mystery as to why these projects had been suspended adding, ”There is no funding available”.
He insisted that the abandonment of  these road projects is merely as a result of the agreement which the then Fianna Fáil government made with the IMF and EU. He added that the bailout deal took place last November.
“The planning of the present phase has been held back until further notice. It’s obviously disappointing for Mayo and the west of Ireland. When the boom was going there was money available for these projects and they could have been done and weren’t done. I would be hoping the funding situation allows us to complete works on the N17, N5 and N26 because all of these will be priorities.”
Cllr Adams dismissed suggestions that Fianna Fáil were to blame and instead she said Fianna Fáil had helped to formulate the plans for the N5 road project. It was up to Fine Gael to carry this work through she said. “It took them until now to say that they cannot do it. I don’t think think these projects should be postponed”.