National Funding for the N4

In this blog post Chamber CEO Paul Keyes raises concerns over funding for the N4
In November 2011, the then Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Leo Varadkar TD was the Guest Speaker at the Chamber’s Annual Dinner. Prior to the Dinner, the Chamber met with the Minister and advocated strongly for improvements to the N4 along the 15km Castlebaldwin to Collooney stretch and for the enhancement of Hughes Bridge in Sligo Town.
Speaking at the time, the Minister said that in recognition of the financial difficulties that the Country was then in, it was difficult to foresee any construction work commencing on the N4 until 2016.
In the intervening period, it is positive to note that much work has been done on both of these infrastructural projects. Hughes Bridge is set to reopen as a significantly widened bridge in July of this year and plans that will facilitate the construction on the N4 are well advanced. Particular credit for this must go to, amongst others, the N4 Action Group and our Local Authority who have overseen progress to these advanced stages.
On raising the issue of the N4 with the current Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Paschal Donohoe TD in the Dáil recently, Deputy Tony McLoughlin was informed that responsibility for the “…planning, design and implementation” of the N4 works reside with the National Roads Authority (PQ Here: PQ on N4) Last week, Minister of State at this same Department, Mr Michael Ring TD, when speaking to Ocean FM gave no clear commitment that funding would be available for the N4 project (Interview here: Minister Ring Interview)
The N4, in the opinion of Sligo Chamber, representing over 200 businesses employing over 6,000 people, is the single biggest infrastructural obstacle hindering the economic development of County Sligo. At a time when we are being told that renewed focus is being given towards regional economic development, it is inconceivable by any reasoned analysis, that funding for the N4 would be diverted to other projects. It is entirely conceivable however, that funding could be diverted for other reasons.
As a community, it is incumbent on all of us to ensure that funding for the N4 is made available at the earliest opportunity and to exert all necessary pressure that is required to make this a reality. There are motorways linking Dublin, Belfast, Waterford, Cork, Limerick and Galway. We DEMAND funding for the N4.