Funding for the Claregalway Bypass, officially known as the Claregalway Inner Relief Road, will not be provided by the Fine Gael/Labour Government, and the project as originally mooted will not proceed.
The Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe has indicated that any future consideration of a relief road for Claregalway would have to take account of progress on the M17/18 project and its potential impact on traffic levels in the town and its surrounding area.
The information follows communication between the minister and Renua county councillor James Charity. Cllr Charity had also obtained documents under a Freedom of Information request pertaining to the project, which confirms that a Feasibility Study conducted in 2010 estimated the proposed relief road would cost €21 million.
Cllr Charity said "a significant amount of politicking" had taken place around an issue "of vital importance for the people of Claregalway and commuters", much of which, he added, was "entirely unhelpful". He said: "The bypass was an election issue for numerous years on the platforms of a number of politicians, and despite all having stints in Government, it is not proceeding and doesn’t look likely to proceed anytime soon," he said. "It is time to stop playing politics with the people of Claregalway and commuters.”
Cllr Charity added, that given Minister Donohoe's position on the Claregalway Bypass, and the fact that the next General Election is less than a year away, "it is imperative" that the electorate knows whether the roadway "will be a red line issue" for those local TDs and candidates who would be willing to support a Fine Gael led Government. "It certainly does not appear to have been," he said, "during previous Government terms despite promises for same.”