The PRO of the N4 Action Group in Sligo says it’s vital that the money for the construction of the proposed new Collooney to Castlebaldwin road is ringfenced now.

Bernard Mulhern says they are not looking for the actual money at this stage but he says it’s crucial it’s allocated to ensure no other route takes priority over the N4 when the tender process is complete.

Mr Mulhern was speaking following a statement yesterday afternoon from Transport Minister Shane Ross, which makes no specific mention of the N4 project.

However, sources have told Ocean FM News that it’s likely any allocation for the construction of the new N4 may not be made until much later.

Tender documents for the massive project are expected to be completed soon.

Approval of the documents by Transport Infrastructure Ireland is expected before the end of this year.

It could then take up eight months for completion of the tender process, and the awarding of a contract to do the work.

This would mean it could be early 2019 at best before actual work on the route starts.

However, Mr Mulhern says despite this, it’s vital that money is specifically earmarked now for the long-awaited project.

Meanwhile, Minister Ross, in his statement yesterday afternoon, announced an allocation of €434m for the national road network and €390m for regional and local roads.

This includes additional funding of €10m to repair the damage caused by the severe storm in Donegal earlier this year as well as €6.5m funding for road investment in Sligo and Kerry to support enterprise development.

He also says €56m will be available for the developemnt of greenways over the coming four years.

And there will be €17.6m in additional capital funding over the next four years for the Regional Airports Programme, which supports smaller airports in Donegal, Knock, Kerry and Waterford.

Minister Ross says this is considerably higher than the €10m in extra funding originally mooted in the Programme for Government.