The National Development Plan

A chara, – I see that under the National Development Plan, the intention is to spend “two to one” on public transport versus roads. Well, the Government should be aware that this particular scheme simply won’t work in Co Cavan. Since we don’t have any rail infrastructure: the road rules, both public and private! As the folksinger and Cavan native Lisa O’Neill sang: “There’s no train to Cavan”. Government take note! – Yours, etc,





Co Cavan.

Sir, – The case for certain roads such as the M20 between our second and third largest cities was established at the same time as many of other motorway projects which have now been complete for 10 or even 20 years. The case is not just environmental or even economic. It costs lives.

The road from many parts of north, west and even east Cork to north Kerry, including Tralee, Shannon, Clare, Galway and other areas, as well as Limerick, is still served by a road that is largely single lane, single carriageway, and often winding and crawling through the centre of many towns, including Charleville, Buttevant and villages like New Two Pot House. It winds through Mallow in roundabouts which at least has a bypass of sorts. It passes close to several schools.

This has serious environmental, societal and health impacts. The lower accident rates of motorways are well established. While improved bus and rail services are desirable, changing at Limerick Junction, will never compete with a reasonable road infrastructure for most people around the route. The idea of taking a bus from West Cork into Cork city, then walking from the bus station to the railway station, then changing at Limerick Junction for onward travel is slow and inefficient. And that is before the onward travel from Limerick (there is no train to Shannon) is even considered.

Google Maps tells me that the travel time from my home to Shannon Airport by car is around 2½ hours at any time of day. When I asked it for a public transport time it replied “Sorry cannot calculate”. If I put in a town that is a 20- to 30-minute drive away then it can give me times that vary around four to six hours, depending on time of travel. Some trips will just not be practical by public transport in these rural areas.

After a 20-plus year delay, including the economic crash and a pandemic, the people of the southwest and west deserve better than the now ideological issues being raised. Given that another generation will already be dead before the M20 could be built (at current rates) and that Government targets see a ban on sales of petrol and diesel cars and replacement by all electric before any projected completion dates, most of the environmental arguments are moot.

Why not build the road now, saving lives and improving the environment for the towns of the southwest, include good charging infrastructure on the route, and let the Green Party propose legislation banning petrol and diesel cars from certain new roads (and see how that goes down). – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.

Sir, – The recent proclamations coming from Government about its 10-year plan of capital investment is welcome but like all great plans it comes at a cost. Now you may call me cynical but when Government parties are vying for centre stage to be the first to announce where this borrowed money will be spent it leaves me and many others in the north and west with a bitter taste in our mouths. The fact is that most of the €165 billion of borrowed money will be spent mainly in the east, southeast and southwest of this country while the test of us look on with envy and anger. For too long the roads leading south from the northwest and west have been left in a poor state, with promise after promise of improvements and expansion. No proper motorways, no proper modes of transport, no trains connecting the northwest to the west or south, and the list goes on.

The problem is that most of our well-heeled politicians focus on Dublin and other big urban centres and cities for their votes and pretend that the rest of us don’t exist until election time. To avoid us at their peril is a risk they cannot afford to make, otherwise those TDs most at risk could find themselves having to hike back to their native homes on roads and surfaces not fit for purpose. – Yours, etc,



Co Donegal.

Sir, – Does the Taoiseach honestly believe for one second it’s possible to build 300,000 homes by 2030, the equivalent of approximately 139 homes per working day for just over the next eight years?

The people suffering from the housing crisis deserve far more respect, not a cheap PR stunt from him and his Government. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – Unfortunately the National Development Plan should now be renamed the Never Delivered Plan. – Yours, etc,



Co Kildare.