Councillors from the Fine Gael party have hit out at fears expressed by independent councillor, Michael Holmes, that cost overruns in the National Children's Hospital project in Dublin could see funds earmarked for the N5 roads project diverted from it.
Cllr Holmes, who has been a long-standing advocate for road improvements - having previously headed the Western Roads Action Group - told the April meeting of Mayo County Council that he had genuine concerns that the N5 project could see major cutbacks in its funding, to pay for the estimated €1.4 billion overspend on the National Children's Hospital.
He stated: "That €1.4 billion has to be got somewhere, and I am concerned that maybe it will be from something like the big road projects in Mayo, such as the N5". He went on to add that he did not want that to happen and that the county can not afford to let the project slip down the pecking order if cuts are being made.
The idea that there could be issues with the project were rejected by Fine Gael councillors, with Cllr Cyril Burke and Cllr Gerry Coyle telling the meeting that there would be no disruption to the project.
Cllr Burke told the meeting the project had gone out to tender and is due to come back in June, with contractors to be appointed in the autumn, and he feared that the message sent out by Cllr Holmes could be damaging to companies that could be considering setting up in Mayo.
Peter Hynes, Chief executive of Mayo County Council, stated that he was not aware of any plans to cut funding to the project and that he could confirm that the project is very high on he agenda of both Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the Department of Transport.