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Councillor Gerry Flynn: “It is not rocket science to ensure that what councillors request is acted on.”

Distributor road on political route

THE controversial €120 million Limerick Northern Distributor Road has become a key issue in the local election campaign in the Shannon area.
Councillor Cathal Crowe has been acccused of “playing politics”, following his request for all candidates in the area to outline their stance concerning the issue.
The charge was levelled by Councillor Gerry Flynn, after a local opposition lobby group invited councillors and candidates to outline their views at a public meeting in Parteen.
His call for a pre-election commitment conicides with a pledge from Limerick Northern Distributor Road Concerned Residents secretary, Zinaida Nourreddine, to chain herself to railings or equipment to obstruct construction work when they reach the road she lives on.
Ms Nourredine said she was prepared to be sent to jail for civil disobedienc,e to make the authorities sit up and listen to their opposition to this road.
According to Councillor Crowe, who is opposed to the road, the families affected by the proposed road deserve transparency and have an entitlement to hold all public representatives, empowered to determine the route line, to public account.
However, Councillor Flynn claimed Councillor Crowe was being disengenous by adopting this stance before an election.
If elected, Councillor Flynn said he was prepared to sit down with residents and professionals to see if other altneratives could be pursued.
His views were shared by Councillor Sean McLoughlin, who stressed it was easy for Councillor Crowe to make political statements, when councillors couldn’t do anything until a variation was presented to the County Development Plan next year.
Refuting these charges, Councillor Crowe pointed out the same information he received about the project was already provided to all existing councillors, who should be fully informed of what it entailed.
Councillor John Crowe felt it was premature to give any political commitment before the election and stressed it made more sense to assess this issue when the variation came before the council.
It was proposed that when the election was over, the elected county councilors should arrange a meeting with deputies from Limerick and Clare, to discuss the best way forward for the project.
Councillor Pascal Fitzgerald said that local residents knew his position as he had consistently opposed this project and had requested the council to abandon it. He stressed that money already allocated on this road should be spent on improving the road from Parteen to Griffin’s Cross.
Councillor Michael Begley said he would not support any variation of the County Development Plan to facilitate a planning application to An Bord Pleanála once it is presented to councillors next year.
On the basis of information provided at the meeting, Councillor PJ Ryan said he would not support the splitting of Parteen and felt other alternatives should be examined, before any final decision is made on this project.
Ms Nourreddine criticised the expenditure of taxpayers’ money on this project and stated Councillor Crowe seemed to be the only councillor who was clear about his intentions.
She expressed surprise that one councillor who attended the meeting from the Shannon Electoral Area didn’t know much about the background relating to the project, despite the fact information was already provided to councillors during the various staged.
“How do councillors vote on things they know nothing or too little about? The whole political scene in this country is sick. Nobody listens to anybody else, only when election time comes, all wake up and come out of the woodwork. Nobody seems to be genuinely interested in keeping natural environments the way they should remain,” she said.

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