Fine Gael TD Michael Ring, has said this week that he will be putting the upgrade of the N5 front and centre if he gets re-elected next week. The Westport based TD was responding to comments from county engineer Joe Beirne at the February meeting of Mayo County Council this week where he said: “The prospects of any major road project in the county is now not good.” Beirne was speaking at the meeting where the councillors were discussing the road grants to the local authority from central Government for the coming year. The grants for national roads saw an increase of €7 million this year from the previous year, however the majority of the increase was to be spent on pavement improvements on the existing national road primary road structure and on national secondary roads. Mr Beirne told the meeting that while there was an increase in the overall grant there was no grant this year for the N26 scheme from Ballina and it has essentially been shelved for the year.
“I have been campaigning on this issue for a long time now,” Deputy Ring told the Mayo Advertiser this week. “We need to have a major upgrade of the road system in and out of the county. For example we have an industry like Allergen who just announced a major new investment in Westport last week. We can’t have them having to bring their products out of the town on trucks and end up with some of them broken when they arrive in Europe and elsewhere because of the state of the roads in Mayo. I will keep pushing this project it’s something that we badly need.”
When asked about the cut in finances for major roads projects nationally which is expected over the next few years, with Mr Beirne telling the meeting that it is expected that the NRA will only have €260 million to spend on new capital projects in four years time down from €1.1 billion as recent as last year, Ring said that he had found money for projects before. “It wasn’t that long ago that there wasn’t even a design for the West Road out of Westport towards Leenane, but I fought for it and got it done and we have a very good road now, we had seen three people die on the old road before we got to where we are now. I won’t be resting on this issue, I will keep driving it on.”