Out of services


REARVIEW:LAST FRIDAY, Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey opened the brand new M9 motorway, which links Dublin and Waterford.

Drivers can now get to and from the capital, Cork, Galway, Belfast and Waterford in a reasonable time without major bottlenecks and on a road that is statistically many times safer than the old national routes.

Mr Dempsey was asked why no service station had been built on these roads and he replied there were facilities available off all of them.

The NRA said service station signs would be put up to direct people to petrol, food and toilet facilities off the motorway. So the plan would seem to be if you are using the multi-million euro road and need to go to the toilet, eat or fuel up, you will need to leave the road, clog up the nearest town and add unnecessary time to your journey. It’s a bit like building a bus with no seats.

I travelled from Drogheda to West Cork, last Thursday, with two children and was forced to pull off the M8 twice (once at night, in the rain) to allow the little ones to answer the call of nature. Starved on the way down, it was Innishannon before we could stop for food.

The first service areas, located on the M1 at Lusk and Castlebellingham, Co Louth and on the M4 at Enfield, are ready to open – indeed the one in Lusk is up and running – and will provide welcome relief to motorists, who have been forced to leave the roads.

The new stations should also be welcomed by local towns that will be spared unnecessary traffic travelling through their areas. However, service stations in nine other areas have been put on hold because there is no State money to help build them.

It is a pity that such crucial facilities were not planned decades ago when we first set about building a motorway network and when money would not have been a problem.