Deputy Peter Burke, Fine Gael TD for Longford Westmeath last week secured a debate with Transport Minister Shane Ross regarding the extension of the N4 to cover Longford.
He said that the extension of the N4 from Mullingar to Rooskey was badly needed and requested that the money be awarded in the review of the Capital Plan, as requested by him previously through PQs and direct correspondence.
The Chartered Accountant stated in the Dáil chamber not only would the upgrade open up further opportunity and employment, it would not take huge amounts of money to get the land ready in the short-term for investment.
“Since my election a year ago, I have received a huge volume of queries from constituents in Longford regarding the upgrade of the road and the need for a motorway to be put in place. The eight Longford County Councillors have been in constant contact with me on the issue, and I have been in repeat contact with Minister Shane Ross and my colleague Minister Patrick O’Donovan. The message I received from Minister Ross this week was extremely positive and I will be following up with him on this issue in the short-term.
“The Minister highlighted that he has received a number of representations from myself and the Longford Fine Gael Councillors and stated that the road safety concerns that we raised may serve as a reason for this project in particular to be prioritised when the review of the capital plan takes place.
“Not only is the current road network dangerous, there are huge amounts of lands sterilised while the decision is being made regarding future investment. I recently met with the CEO of Longford County Council Paddy Mahon who stated that this sterilisation is huge block on making full use of such sites and is acting as a disincentive for new companies who are being approached by the IDA to invest in Longford.
“I have highlighted all of this to the Minister, and pressed to him that if you draw a straight line from Drogheda, from East to West, the only significant roadway is the M1. Our current network from Mullingar up through Longford to Sligo is running at 120% capacity and increasing.
“I understand that €5 million would be needed over the next three years in order to get the project ready for CPO and construction once funding becomes available, and this would bring the road up to the Leitrim border. In the grand scheme of the capital programme, this amount is minute and from the Minister’s reply to me, I am hopeful that we will get the investment we need so that residents of Longford have use of the same quality of infrastructure as the rest of the county”.