Business leaders from the northwest have met Minister for Transport Shane Ross to demand investment in the region’s road network, which they say is “severely over-capacity” and hampering jobs, investment and tourism.
Over 50 people representing chambers of commerce along the N4 and N5 from Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal, Mayo, Roscommon, Mullingar, Athlone and Carrick on Shannon told the minister the roads that connect the midlands to the northwest were badly in need of repair and needed upgrading to motorway status in sections.
Sligo/Leitrim TDs Eamon Scanlon, Martin Kenny and Tony McLoughlin were also in attendance alongside colleagues from other constituencies along the N4 and N5 routes.
The business leaders said the current state of the roads was putting the northwest and west at a disadvantage for attracting foreign direct investment and creating jobs, and demanded works be included in the Government’s 2017 capital spending plan.
The group want to see all pre-construction works on the N4 from Mullingar to Rooskey completed before construction in 2021, that construction on the N4 from Collooney to Castlebaldwin in Sligo commences no later than 2018 and the N5 from Longford to Ballaghadereen begins now.
With the European Investment Bank opening in Dublin this week spokesman for the business group David Kiely says there is no reason investment should be used as an excuse for delays.
The former president of the Sligo Chamber of Commerce chaired yesterday’s meeting and he says the transport minister was sympathetic to their plight.