Thursday, 16 September 2021
Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions
No, I do not see obstacles. There is a funding constraint more broadly. The existing NDP included a huge number of different roads. The reality is the funding of those would eat up the budget for the next 20, 30 or 40 years if they were all to be completed at one time. We will have to prioritise and it will be difficult. It is not a question of saying "No" to particular projects but we will have to prioritise certain projects in a very tight funding situation. I think there has been broad agreement in this House every time I have said that in a funding-constrained world, we should prioritise town bypasses that promote the Town Centre First strategy, and particularly, obviously, those that are right at the end of the planning system. The likes of the Ardee bypass should be first up, in my mind, but there is a real constraint. That €250 million on the Macroom bypass is not an insignificant chunk of funding. We are spending another €250 million in Westport on the Castlebar road. It does lead to a funding constraint. The priority, in my mind, for the funds we have should be on further town bypasses.