Council not ruling out judicial review of N26 refusal

Mayo County Council have not ruled out taking a judicial review against the refusal of An Bord Pleanála to grant planning permission for the long awaited phase two of the N26 to Bohola.

“We are considering legal avenues which are open to us,” acting county manager Joe Beirne told a council meeting this week. “To carry out a judicial review we have to get the advice of our legal advisors and any application to the courts can take a lot of time. We could be on a list for two years before anything happens. We would also have to have the full support from the NRA for this course of action.”

Mr Beirne also hit out at the logic of the An Bord Pleanála decision. “The two plus two dual carriageway was too elaborate, according to the report,” he said. “The reduced dual carriageway is the NRA standard for linked hub towns, and the footprint of the reduced dual carriageway is only 1.5 meters wider that that of the current road and Ballina is one of the few hub towns that doesn’t have a proper connection to it.”

Mr Beirne made his comments after a large number of councillors voiced their disgust at the decision of An Bord Pleanála after more than €5 million had been spent on the design stages of the road. Fine Gael councillor Michelle Mulherin brought up the fact that Jim Murren, western regional manager of the IDA, had only a few weeks ago told Ballina Town Council that Ballina was losing out on industry due to lack of infrastructure and that now the people of Ballina “are devastated”. She also questioned how a lay person could overturn the decision by the board’s own inspector, along with other experts from National Parks and Wildlife and the Western Regional Fisheries Board. Her party colleague and chairperson of the roads SPC in the council, Cllr Jarlath Munnelly, told the meeting, “We’ve already spent €5 million on this project. If we have to spend another €100,000 on a judicial review it’s the least we can do.” Knockmore based Cllr Seamus Weir said that while he was disappointed with the decision, he wondered if the plan of the road could be changed to something like the first stage of the project.

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