Planning process is to begin shortly after the confirmation from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that the M20 Limerick to Cork motorway scheme will go ahead, as part of the government’s ten-year capital plan.
The Taoiseach spoke to the Cork Chamber on Friday morning, stating that the scheme is a huge project and will ultimately cost an enormous amount.
“Capital investment can change geography and be a real mean of releasing the full economic and social potential of Cork, Limerick and Munster. The M20 is a huge project with a massive price rage. It is however worth it,” he said.
Mr Varadkar is totally committed to the planning of the project and believes it is “essential to our future”.
“I feel that once planning permission is secured, the major costs occur in land purchase and construction. Those costs are unlikely to arise in the current capital plan to 2021. However they will arise very soon thereafter. Therefore I want to confirm that the M20 will be given the utmost priority in the 10 year capital plan. It is a project that is essential to our future national development and one that I am personally committed to achieving.”
The Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Councillor Stephen Keary, has welcomed the announcement.
“I’m delighted that the Taoiseach has given a pledge that the M20 Motorway will go ahead in the short term. The motorway is a vital piece of infrastructure between the second and third cities of the country.”
“The motorway will create an economic corridor capable of providing a balance to development in Dublin and will increase the competitiveness and attractiveness of the Limerick city region as a location for investment.”
€20m has been allocated to the project, which is set to take two to three years, according to Minister for Transport, Shane Ross.
“With the M18 to Galway and now the M20 to Cork, Limerick is truly at the heart of this counter pole to the development of the capital,” added Mr Keary.
“According to the recent Limerick and Cork Chambers of Commerce report the M20 Motorway will increase the potential labour force within a 45-minute commute of Limerick by 23%.”
“This figure alone will make Limerick even more attractive for investment.”
The confirmation has been warmly received by Cork and Limerick Chambers of Commerce, who collectively represent more than 1,700 businesses.
The announcement was welcomed as a huge boost for balanced regional development in the Limerick and Cork region.
The 80 kilometre M20 Motorway announcement occurred at a sell-out Cork Chamber business breakfast in Paírc Uí Chaoimh.
The breakfast was attended by 400 people from across business, Government and local Government. It was also attended by Limerick Chamber President and CEO.
“This is one of the most significant moments in terms of rebalancing the national economy. This now means we will have a seamless motorway from Cork to Limerick and Galway, which creates enormous possibilities for economic development along this Atlantic corridor,” said Limerick Chamber CEO, Dr James Ring.
“Once delivered, people will be able to travel between Limerick and Cork in only 47 minutes which is a game changer for business, workers, and tourism in the region,” he added.
Cork Chamber CEO, Conor Healy, also spoke about the announcement, stating that it had the “potential to suppport up to 5,400 new jobs”.
“Today’s confirmation of the much-awaited M20 finally going ahead is a significant vote of confidence in the growth potential of the Atlantic Corridor, and we commend Government in the foresight of this investment decision.”
“The socio-economic report commissioned by Cork and Limerick Chambers earlier this year confirmed that the M20 has the potential to support up to 5,400 new direct jobs in the region, which would benefit the Exchequer by up to €128m per annum. The M20 will be of huge benefit to our country overall, and in light of its importance we look forward to seeing Ireland’s newest motorway delivered as soon as possible,” Mr Healy concluded.