Saturday 21 April 2018

Chamber wins backing for review of N4 plan

Sorcha Crowley

Sligo Chamber of Commerce has helped persuade an Oireachtas Transport Committee to back an upgrade to the N4.

The Committee has agreed to recommend to the Minister for Transport that he include the N4/N5 in a Capital Programme review currently underway.

The four members of Sligo Chamber were among a group of nine Chambers from the Midlands, West and North-West who met with the Oireachtas Joint Committee for Transport last week.

They included CEO Aidan Doyle, Finbarr Filan, Bill Carty and Dr Brian McCann of IT Sligo.

They lobbied the Committee, made up of senators and TDs, to support the inclusion of the N4/N5 motorway upgrade project in the Government's mid-term Capital Funding Programme review and allocate funding to it.

Senator John O'Mahony was supported by all parties in his recommendation that Minister Shane Ross includes the project in the review.

Dr. Brian McCann of Sligo IT and representative of Sligo Chamber gave detailed evidence to the committee in relation to the necessity for a road upgrade to the regions, primarily since the N4/N5 corridor is one of the main arterial routes in the country and the last one to be developed.

Dr. McCann highlighted significant statistics supporting the argument for the upgrade of the roads, not least that part of the road network there is currently running at 120% capacity.

Commenting following the meeting, President of Sligo Chamber of Commerce and Industry Des Faul said the project had huge potential for Sligo.

"The investment required for the design stage of the next phase of the project from Mullingar to the Leitrim border is in the order of only €5 million over the next three years. That level of investment will see the project ready for CPO and construction once funding becomes available. This project has the potential to impact positively the entire North West and North Midlands for decades to come," he said.

Site Director of Abbott Longford and currently President of IBEC in the Midlands region Ciaran Corcoran told the Committee how adequate road infrastructure dovetailed with economic and inward investment into the country and indeed the regions serviced by these roads.

Chairman of the Committee, Brendan Griffin TD also indicated that he would ensure the minutes of the meeting would be forwarded to Minister Ross and Minister Donohoe such was the importance of the project.

The next stage of the programme to move the project forward will be a request to meet with An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, TD and Minister Donohoe to impress upon them the importance of this project.

Sligo Champion