North Cork Fine Gael Councillor John Paul O’Shea has said “we should seek out the possibility of putting in a Greenway/Cycle Way alongside the proposed M20 so as to ensure the project will not be derailed in the Government formation talks which are currently underway”.
Cllr. O’Shea made his comments this week as Government formation talks continue with Fine Gael, Fianna Fail & the Green Party.
The N/M20 Cork to Limerick Road Improvement Scheme is a key element in Project Ireland 2040, the Government’s long-term overarching strategy to make Ireland a better country for all of its people. The Strategy comprises the National Planning Framework (NPF) to 2040 and the National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2027. The NPF and NDP both identify improved accessibility between urban centres of population and their regions as a major enabler for balanced regional development – which includes the N/M20.
Cllr. O’Shea said “The NDP sets out clearly that the N/M20 Cork to Limerick scheme would provide better connectivity between Ireland’s second and third largest cities by improving the quality of the transport network which will address safety issues associated with the existing N20 route and provide for safer and more efficient journey times. Now, that we are planning ahead for this investment, it is critical that it doesn’t fall off the agenda in any Government formation discussions. It is vital for the future development of towns like Charleville, Buttevant and Mallow and indeed for the entire North Cork region, Kerry and West Limerick”.
Cllr. O’Shea added “There are many significant benefits to having a Cycleway/Greenway along the proposed M20. It allows for a percentage of funding for the entire project to be spent on green infrastructure while also opening up the economic & tourism potential between Cork & Limerick. This is not a new initiative either as I know this type of infrastructure is being planned for elsewhere around the country. In Donegal for example, the upgrade to the N56 which is currently progressing through TII will include a new cycleway as part of its development. We need to be innovative in our discussions and thoughts here as we move into a new era of developing our countries infrastructure”.
Cork and Limerick are the centres of the second and third largest clusters of population and economic activity in the country. Poor connectivity also inhibits the growth of the regional economy and the facilitation of counterbalance to Dublin. The potential for a 50% growth in population in both Cork and Limerick is outlined in the National Planning Framework (NPF) and the requirement for improved connectivity country wide informs Project 2040, with Cork-Limerick links identified as a priority.