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N26 upgrade ‘dead in the water’ claims councillor


Anton McNulty

THERE is no prospect of phase two of the N26 going ahead before 2025, according to a Ballina councillor who claimed it was ‘dead in the water’.
Members of the Roads and Transportation SPC of Mayo County Council recently met with officials from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in a meeting described as ‘frank and robust’.
Fianna Fáil councillor, Annie Mae Reape, told last week’s meeting of the SPC that they came home without any good news and were disheartened to hear Michael Nolan, CEO of the TII, say no projects will start before 2025.
“From my point of view the meeting was not successful because they had no good news for us. The CEO came out this week and said there will be no new projects done for years. It was terrible to hear it, so that means the N26 is dead in the water for a long long time.
“We have a better chance of getting an orbital route [around Ballina] than the N26 … that’s gone, it won’t happen until 2025. It’s not in the capital programme and won’t be for a long time. If the government doesn’t have the goodwill and put money into it we won’t get it,” she claimed.
The SPC members were informed that funding will be provided for the realignment of Cloongullane Bridge on the N26 near Swinford but it will be done in sections.
In 2010, planning permission for an approved route for the N26 was refused by An Bord Pleanála on environmental grounds. Director of Services, Tom Gilligan informed the meeting that the redesign of the N26 from Ballina to Bohola has now gone through the CPO stage and has gone back to An Bord Pleanála for approval.

‘Wrong message’
Fine Gael councillor Cyril Burke told the meeting that it would be wrong for the message to go out that no projects will go ahead. He said projects such as the N5 development from Westport to Bohola which are in the Capital Programme will be delivered.
Independent councillor Seamus Weir claimed that politicians had ‘gone off the boil’ in terms of lobbying for progress on the N26. He also called for an upgrade of the N5 through Co Roscommon.
“We should look at the broader picture here because the road between Tulsk and Ballaghderreen is disgraceful. We have politicians, and I won’t spare them, who are up and down that road nearly every day, and there is not a budge about upgrading that road. It should be a top priority because it is the main road to the west,” he said.
Fianna Fáil councillor Damien Ryan also called on the road from Kilmaine to Tuam to be upgraded to a strategic road in order to link south Mayo to the new Tuam motorway.