The news that work on all major roads projects in the country is being suspended because of spending cutbacks across the country, including a number of high profile projects in Mayo, saw both the major parties in the country blaming each other for the stalling of the works.
“This is effectively only following through on the agreement that the then Fianna Fáil government agreed with the IMF and EU when they struck the bailout deal last November,” Fine Gael TD John O’Mahony told the Mayo Advertiser this week.
Fianna Fáil councillor Damien Ryan told the Advertiser: “It’s a disgrace and there is no point in Fine Gael hiding behind innuendo saying that the money is not there. They saw the books last year and yet that still didn’t stop them promising people in the election that they would carry on with these plans.”
Major improvement projects on the N5, N26 and N17 had all been planned for the county but with the news that all major projects have been shelved that will put these projects on the back burner for the near future. Dep O’Mahony laid the blame squarely at the feet of the previous government.
“This is because of the deal that was struck with the IMF and EU, there is no funding available,” he said. “Effectively what has happened is that all the projects have been put on hold until funding becomes available. I’ll be concentrating on ensuring that the projects in Mayo are top of the queue when funding becomes available again.” O’Mahony confirmed that all funding for planning for these projects will be suspended once the current funding runs out because there is no money to fund the project when the planning is done.
In response to the news Cllr Ryan was highly critical of Fine Gael for the decision. “We have had the issue of the N5, N26, and N17 raised time and time again in the county council chamber by Fine Gael when they were in opposition and now they have pulled it themselves. It’s a disgrace, these projects are essential to Mayo and while they would have improved access in and out of the county which is essential for industries that are currently here and may come in the future, it would have also been an employment boost to the county when we need it most. In a time when we would appear to have as much national clout as ever if not more than ever. You would hope and expect that these projects could be delivered to the county.”
O’Mahony told the Advertiser that he hoped a number of smaller “shovel ready projects” could still be completed in the area over the next few years. “There are a number of smaller shovel ready projects that are in the pipeline that we hope to see get going in the future. Ones like the Ballaghaderreen bypass which would be a major boost to the access in and out of Mayo, which is something both commuters and industries have been looking for to improve access to the county.”
Ryan however was critical of the promises Fine Gael made before the election in relation to schemes like this. “They knew as well as anyone what the financial picture was last year and when they went out before the election the promised the people a number of things like this and are now they’ve pulled back,” he said.