Fermoy not taking exclusion of M8 from toll 'holiday' lying down
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar's decision not to include the M8 in the list of motorways having their HGV tolls lifted for the month of November has caused consternation in Fermoy.
The 'Revive Fermoy' group who had made representations previously to the Minister about the problems caused by HGVs using the town to avoid paying tolls, have written to him again appealing to him to include the M8.
"The Minister is on record as saying that towns and villages are not reaping the benefits of motorways. Fermoy is one of those," the group's spokesman Cian O'Meara pointed out. So, he says, the owners of the 250 HGVs they have a record of driving through the town daily to avoid tolls should be encouraged by having the M8 included in the initiative.
Sinn Fein TD Sandra McLellan raised the matter in the Dail on Wednesday evening under Topical Issues, asking the Transport Minister to explain why the M8 wasn't included and stating the implications its exclusion will have on traffic and business in Fermoy.
The chairman of Fermoy Business Action Group, Adrian Godwin, said it was 'a bit of a disgrace' that the M8 wasn't included. His group were due to discuss the matter at their meeting on Wednesday night.
Representations were also made to local TD Tom Barry on foot of which he wrote to the Minister and planned to meet with him in Leinster House on Wednesday. He told the Minister that he had spoken with the directors of local companies who have admitted their drivers avoid the tolled M8 because they are paying a toll on a very short journey.
"Fermoy has benefitted greatly from the introduction of the M8 and from ongoing investment in flood relief. However, traffic is at a gridlock because of the flood relief works and Garda resources are also tied up daily tryng to clear the main streets of the town," he said in his letter to the Minister. He added that the extra burden of HGVs, understandably avoiding a heavy toll on a short route, was adding greatly to the problems being experienced.
Deputy Barry said he intended to go one further when he met the Minister and press the case for the tolls to be lifted on the M8 until such time as the flood relief works are completed.
Thursday 10th October 6:20pm