Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy has called on the Taoiseach to give a commitment that the vital upgrading of the N4 and N5 will be included in the capital programme for 2017.
Eugene Murphy made the call during Questions to the Taoiseach during Tuesday’s sitting of the Dáil.
The Fianna Fáil TD said that there had been speculation that the N4 and N5 would be included for funding under a mid-year capital review following the launch of the Government’s rural revitalisation plan earlier this week and he raised the issue with the Taoiseach in the Dáil this week.
Deputy Murphy called on the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to include the upgrading of the N4 between Mullingar and Longford and the N5 between Scramogue and Ballaghaderreen in the capital programme for 2017 as they are vital infrastructural links to the west.
Speaking during Questions to the Taoiseach in the Dáil Deputy Murphy said: “It is vital to upgrades these routes as they have been severely neglected and apart from Galway there is no motorway for most of the west or north-west where there is in excess of 500,000 people. Like me Taoiseach you probably know every pair of cat’s eyes on those routes and you know that they really are in need of work. I am calling for a clear commitment that the N4 and N5 will be included in the capital programme for 2017.”
The Taoiseach Enda Kenny noted that there were some sections of the routes where there were difficulties due to archaeological excavations but he noted that a capital review would be carried out mid-year. The Taoiseach agreed with Deputy Murphy that the N4 and N5 were the main arteries from the West to Dublin and he acknowledged that there are sections that need to be improved.
Eugene Murphy said that glaring omission of funding for the N4 and N5 from the much lauded rural revitalisation plan was only one of the problems with the plan.
“This is the 4th ‘rural plan’ launched by Fine Gael while in Government. The CEDRA Report, the Rural Charter and commitments in the Programme for Government have all failed to deliver for rural communities. This clearly reveals a systemic rural policy failure by the Government. Fine Gael has no long term vision for rural communities and they have failed to bring forward tangible proposals to halt the depopulation of rural parishes.
“I am appalled that this latest plan only targets rural and regional towns specifically. People living in small villages and in the countryside have effectively been told that they have to fend for themselves. This is appalling considering over 1.7m people live in aggregated rural areas as classified by the CSO and the funding for upgrading works for the N4 and N5 as the main arteries into the west is vital,” concluded Deputy Murphy.