Wicklow Councillors Joe Behan and Patsy Glennon have voiced their dissatisfaction with the lack of funding for essential upgrades to the primary routes of the N11/M1 and N81.
Work on the development of the long-awaited N11/M11 Junction 4 to Junction 14 Improvement Scheme – aimed at alleviating congestion and improving safety – is currently on hold as no funding was allocated to Wicklow County Council to continue the design process during 2022.
Eager to impress the importance of continued funding for the scheme on new Wicklow County Council Chief Executive, Emma O’ Gorman, Cllr Behan addressed the chamber at this month’s Wicklow County Council meeting.
“The government are continuing to refuse to fund the proposed improvements on the N11/M11, which is the main route for thousands of people from both Wicklow and Wexford to Dublin for work every day,” Cllr Behan said.
“Unfortunately, we have a Minister for Transport who has proudly professed his anti-motoring credentials at every opportunity. With regards to this particular project, as a Council we have spent, through public funds allocated by the government, over €5 million getting consultancy, preparation policies and plans drawn up to improve the capacity of the N11/M11. It all has been effectively wasted money, because this particular Minister has decided not to continue that funding. I’m asking the Chief Executive to make this a priority and I hope you will continually raise this issue with the Department.”
Baltinglass Councillor Patsy Glennon echoed his colleague’s sentiments, adding: “I fully agree with Cllr Joe Behan, in respect to the N11, to see what can be done. But, not to think it is the only road problem in the county. The N81 is far more pressing in my view.
“Minister Ryan was surprised that he came down here and it dominated the meeting. The N81 is a disaster. As 40 per cent of the county is covered by our Municipal District land mass, we will never get anything out there until there is a proper road infrastructure.
“We have no rail services, or anything like that, so I would not like you to go away thinking that the N81 is not an issue, it is serious. It is above politics and it has lots of support from colleagues from various persuasions – Sinn Féin colleagues, government colleagues, the Green Party and Cllr Joe Behan in respect of the N81.
“It is a serious issue to be addressed and left undone for too long.”
Responding to the Councillors concerns, Chief Executive O’Gorman said: “The N81 – I’m well aware. I’m a native of south-west Dublin, I know the area, I know the issue. Similarly, with the N11, I know the priorities interest there in terms of the national roads through this beautiful county.”