Carthy accuses government of misusing transport funds over N2 Clontibret to the border scheme
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has accused government of misusing transporting funding in a manner that discriminates against some regions.
Deputy Carthy raised the issue of the N2 Clontibret to the border road scheme with Public Expenditure Minister, Michael McGrath, who was representing the Taoiseach during questions on promised legislation. Carthy said the decision to withdraw funding for the N2 scheme was in contravention to government policy.
He told the Dáil:
“As the Minister is the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, I have to ask him if he is aware of the misuse of transport funding that is discriminating against regions in this country?
“The N2 road alongside the A5 has been considered in several Government documents and plans to be a crucial artery and economic driver for both the Central Border and the north-western regions of the country. However, unilaterally, the funding for the next phase of the Clontibret to the Border section of that scheme was withdrawn this year.
“Transport Infrastructure Ireland, TII, has confirmed that will be revisited at the direction of the Government. However, it seems that nobody in government is willing to make a case. I need to know if the Minister has been examining how this money is allocated and the fact it discriminates against key regions and is actually undermining other agreed Government policy”.
In his response Minister McGrath said:
“The Department of Transport has a funding commitment of €30 billion out to 2030 in the national development plan, NDP. We have a provision within the programme for Government for a 2:1 ratio in terms of new investment in favour of public transport infrastructure relative to new road infrastructure. That still provides very significant funding for investment in new road infrastructure, including upgrades of existing primary and secondary national roads. I will look into the issue the Deputy raised and ask the Minister to respond to him”.
Following the exchange, Deputy Carthy said:
“The Clontibret-to-the-Border scheme was included in the National Development Plan, but it emerged in January that it had been ‘shelved’ from funding by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).
“But, in January, the Minister responsible, Eamon Ryan, reversed the decision to shelve other projects due to demands from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil representatives in those affected constituencies. This begs the question as to the role of Cavan Monaghan government representatives with regard to the Clontibret to the border scheme.
“Transport Infrastructure Ireland have quantified the Benefit Cost Ratio of the N2 Clontibret-to-the-border scheme as delivering two-and-a-half times the value of the investment required.
“They do so on the basis of taking this scheme in a silo, when in fact, taken with other works such as the A5 it is a crucial piece of infrastructure for the economic development of the north west and border region that will drive much greater economic impact.
“It is even more valuable as a matter of public safety where it scored the highest possible grade regarding impact. This will come as no surprise to those living alongside the existing route, particularly in light the most recent crash in the village of Emyvale involving a HGV.
“But today, TII categorically inform us that at the earliest, this impact on public safety is over a decade away – that represent a categoric failure of the government representatives of this constituency to advocate on behalf of a project of real and substantial impact.”