Ryan backtracks on plan not to fully sign off on Limerick road project

Coonagh to Knockalisheen road seen as critical for regeneration of Moyross

Eamon Ryan, Minister for Transport. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

A €58 million road, critical to the regeneration of Moyross, one of the country’s poorest areas, is to go ahead, 14 years after it was first earmarked, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan announced.

Mr Ryan has back-tracked on a plan not to fully sign off on the road project for Limerick while other transport options were being explored.

Mr Ryan said on Wednesday morning that the full Coonagh to Knockalisheen road will go ahead without any delays. The road is seen as a critical route, opening up the Moyross area to investment opportunities.

There was a backlash from the community in Moyross and from Government TDs like Willie O’Dea and Cathal Crowe of Fianna Fáil as it appeared part of the project would be stalled. It came after Green Party leader had suggested that a section of the road would be delivered but he also wanted to deliver pedestrian, cycling and rail options for the city.


The news that the road will go ahead came too late to prevent the resignation of former Limerick County Green Party candidate Claire Keating from the party. She resigned last night and said today that while she’s delighted the road will be built in its entirety it’s “too little too late for me”

Mr Ryan was asked about the issue today on Live 95 radio’s Limerick Today with Joe Nash show. It was put to him that his position was that he would allow two-thirds of the road to proceed and was asked if this has changed amid the campaign mounted for the full road to proceed.

Mr Ryan said his position has always been to “get the right transport system for Limerick and very specifically for the people and community in Moyross”. He said he wanted to look at the whole transport picture “in terms of — yes road access but also public transport access, critically pedestrian and cycling access”.

Mr Ryan said he has spoken to colleagues in the Dáil, in the local authority and city management and people in the community. He said: “The road project is going to go ahead.

“It will go ahead from Coonagh to the Knockalisheen junction and see an upgrade of Moyross Avenue and the Knockalisheen road at the same time.

“So that’s the entire project.”

Ahead as planned

He said he spoke to Limerick City management yesterday and “what we’re looking to do is also put in really good bus services, put in a bus lane each route on the new roads section.

“Also critically the same time as we build the road improve pedestrian accessibility.”

Mr Ryan confirmed that the road project will go ahead as originally planned. He said he met city management last week as well and there was an agreement to look at options and if variations were possible to the plans.

Mr Ryan said that he signalled at the time that he would meet them again this week and city management told him yesterday that “it doesn’t look like there’s a way of doing that.”

He added: “We do not want to delay this project.

“If we had to start the process again it would be a three-year wait and yes we listened to the local community in terms of that community that’s been waiting for a long time.

“So we agreed that on that basis we would proceed with the road, sign the contract, get it built. He said there will be no delays. Mr Ryan was asked if a “major investment” in the city that’s to be announced in the coming days was dependent on the road going ahead.

He replied that the Council would be announcing details of this but: “yes of course you take that into account”.

He said it’s an investment that’s could be the first of many and added that a “really good combination” of transport solutions for the area, including rail, opens up the prospect of more investment in the area.

Mr Ryan said there’s no reason why other transport projects like improving pedestrian access to Moyross can’t proceed during the two or three years that it takes to build the road.


The issue was raised in the Dail by a number of TDs. Sinn Fein Limerick TD Maurice Quinlivan asked if there would be any more blockages and when it would be completed.

Mr Ryan said there was also new housing and he stressed the need to proceed “with speed not only with the road but with the regeneration programme and new investments”,

The Minister added that he had told local authority management that all the other measures had to “come in at the same time as the road, at full speed, particularly pedestrian access”, as well as cycle and bus lanes.

Anger and controversy

Ms Keating’s resignation letter said that the recent stance taken by the Green Party, both locally and nationally, in relation to the road project has caused “anger and controversy”.

She claimed that the concerns she raised at a Limerick Greens information meeting last Friday “fell on deaf ears”

Ms Keating adds that after “much deliberation since, I have realised that the Green Party’s principles are at odds with my own.

“I am stepping away from the Green Party and withdrawing my membership with immediate effect”.

She heard Mr Ryan’s comments on the radio and tweeted today that she’s delighted the road is going ahead but added: “I stand by my decision 100 per cent and have no regrets in standing up for the community of Moyross.”

She told The Irish Times this afternoon that she also believes there has been a “serious issue with transparency and communication within the party for a long time” and this fed into her decision to leave.

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times