Protest

March4Tipp group call on the government to reconsider M20 motorway route for west Tipperary

Plans are being made for a massive protest rally to call attention to Tipperary town

Eoin Kelleher

Reporter:

Eoin Kelleher

Email:

eoin.kelleher@tipperarylive.ie

March4Tipp group call on the government to reconsider M20 motorway route for west Tipperary

The March4Tipp rally last year which put pressure on the government to address Tipperary town's woes

The March4Tipp group has expressed bitter disappointment at the Government’s decision this week to sign a contract for the Cork to Limerick motorway to run via the N20 route, rather than via Cahir and Tipperary Town.

Plans are being made for a massive protest rally to call attention to what the group says is neglect by the government "in terms of ridding the town of the heavy traffic it sees every day. It was hoped that routing the motorway via Cahir would have provided Tipperary Town with a much-needed bypass."

Annemarie Ryan, who is a March4Tipp candidate in the forthcoming local elections said that the decision locks the massive N24 traffic into Tipperary Town. “The Government approved a bypass from Cahir to Pallasgreen in 2003. That went all the way to environmental approval in 2010, when it disappeared off the Government’s radar.

"Now the Government had a chance to reinstate that bypass by routing the Cork to Limerick motorway via the M8, to Cahir and on to Limerick, at a lower cost. Again, this Fine Gael Government has turned its back on our town. I just hope the voters in an around West Tipperary remember this when they choose their representation in May. 5,000 people marched back in October and thousands again in November, pleading for the town to be bypassed. The Government didn’t listen.” she said.

The impact on the town of around 7,000 traffic movements each day has been enormously negative, according to March4Tipp candidate Lisa McGrath. “It is just not pleasant to shop in Tipperary Town, amongst all of the juggernauts and the fumes they generate in the town. It is ironic that the improving economy in other parts of the country is driving an ever-increasing number of trucks through our town.

"It is like this Fine Gael Government expects us to take everything on the chin. Well, the Government will be hearing from us as we are planning a big protest rally to bring national attention to the failure of this Government to divert the massive N24 traffic around our town. We need a bypass in the long term, but we need an outer relief road now”.

March4Tipp candidate Barry Walsh’s family traded for decades on the Main Street and recalls the negative impact the traffic through town had on trade. “It is difficult to park in the town anywhere near the centre. Most of the Main Street allows parking only on one side. If the trucks didn’t have to be accommodated, there could be parking on both sides, just like there used to be. That would make it much more convenient for shoppers.

On April 17, a Fine Gael Councillor was on local radio talking about his hope that the Cork to Limerick motorway might go by Cahir and bypass Tipperary Town. Fifteen days later, on May 2, we see the leader of his party attending the signing of the contract for the motorway to go via Mallow instead. It goes to show how our local councillors are completely disconnected from their party’s decisions at national level. The motorway plan wasn’t changed in fifteen days”.

The contract for the M20 works was signed on Thursday, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in attendance for the occasion. The March4Tipp group is working on plans for a massive protest rally in June, to draw national media and political attention to the need to bypass the town and to institute an outer relief road "as a matter of urgency," added a spokesperson.