MINISTER OPENS NEW MOTORWAY
A heavy shower of rain did little to dampen the enthusiasm at the opening of the latest section of the M8 from Fermoy to Mitchelstown this week. Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey T.D. was on hand to cut the ribbon and officially open the 16km stretch of motorway which was completed ahead of schedule and within its budget of €174 million.
The minister congratulated all those involved with the construction of the motorway and reconfirmed the Government’s commitment to continue the roads building programme.
“This year alone we are spending almost €2 billion on our national, regional and local roads. This latest section of the M8 has been opened nine months ahead of schedule and will provide improved access to the north Cork region, which will increase economic activity, and it will improve accessibility to recreational and cultural facilities. Of course the road is an important link in the development of the Cork-Dublin motorway," Minister Dempsey said.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Mitchelstown Business Association, Eamonn O’Brien, is convinced the new M8 will have only positive effects on the town, “I have seen the difference with fewer heavy vehicles travelling down the main street. The new motorway will give the town back to the people who live, work and shop in Mitchelstown,” he said.
There is now only 40 kms of non-motorway road between Cork and Dublin and it is hoped that the remaining section will be completed by the end of 2010.
Speaking at the opening ceremony on Monday last, Peter Malone, chairman of the National Roads Authority (NRA), said, “Travel times between the two cities have been greatly reduced, road safety enhanced and access between the regions considerably improved. This new motorway will provide a much-needed boost for the country’s commercial and industrial sectors".
"In these difficult economic conditions the National Road Authority remains committed to delivering national road schemes on time and on budget. All five inter-city links connecting Dublin with Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Galway and the border will be open to traffic next year providing the country with a top class national road infrastructure.”
Local politicians also welcomed the opening of the new road. Cllr Frank O’Flynn (FF) feels that the motorway will give back the towns of Mitchelstown and Fermoy to the people, “The new road will make it easier for people to get into the towns while taking the heavy trucks and buses out of the towns.”
Most feel that the new road will open up the region to investment and development.
“We are now closer to Cork and Dublin with easier access to both, for any business wanting to locate in the North Cork region this is a major plus for us”, Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe (FF) told The Avondhu.
Cllr Alieen Pyne (FG) agrees, “This will make towns like Fermoy and Mitchelstown more attractive when it comes to potential businesses setting up, and I would like to congratulate all that were involved with finishing this section on time and on budget”.
Away from the worries of plunging opinion polls and other government problems for a few hours at least, Minister Dempsey will undoubtedly have been relieved that he had his own personal local ‘minder’ in the form of Cllr Frank O’Flynn during the opening ceremony on Monday last.
Cllr O’Flynn was at Noel Dempsey’s side, umbrella at the ready at all times, ensuring that ne’er a drop of rain would fall on the fair one’s head. He was, of course, there too in the midst of illustrious gatherings for all the photographs and Frank’s radiant features were even beamed into living rooms throughout the country during the six o’clock news on RTE One on Monday evening.
Thursday 28th May 6:35pm