A PROTECTED species of frog could present a planning hiccup for controversial plans to split Parteen in two to facilitate the preferred route for the €100 million Limerick Northern Distributor Road, a new group has claimed.
The Environmental Group of Parteen has warned the emerging preferred route crosses rural farmland, which is home to a protected species of frog.
Known as the common frog (Rana Temporaria) it is fairly plentiful in Ireland but is protected under an EU directive because of declining numbers in Europe. The directive aims to protect some 220 habitats and lists approximately 1,000 species, including the frog.
The new community group in Parteen is considering organising a public demonstration in the near future to vent its anger and staunch opposition to the new route. Its main aim is to submit to and participate in the consultation process for the proposed Limerick Northern Distributor Road.
In a statement issued to The Clare Champion, the group predicts a road of this scale through the heart of Parteen would destroy village life.
“The prudence of building such a road and the need for it, are questionable in the current economic climate.
“There are alternative routes for such a road that need to be explored further before any decision is taken to cut the village of Parteen in two,” the group warned.
“If such a road is to proceed along the route suggested, all measures must be taken to ensure the safety of the young and elderly in the community who use the existing road to access the school, church, recreational areas, shops and other village amenities.
“This road must take full account of the environmental impact of the increase in traffic including noise, air, light and water pollution,” the group stated.
In the coming weeks the group plans to lobby local TDs and county councillors, petition the community for its opinion on the proposed road, organise a public demonstration and submit a detailed document to the consultation process.
Senior engineer Tom Tiernan noted this project is presently at the Emerging Preferred Route Corridor Public Consultation Stage. The purpose of this is to invite comment from members of the public who might be directly or indirectly affected if the proposal is to proceed.
“The council welcomes the intended participation of Parteen community members in the process and I can assure them that any submission or submissions they make within the designated period will be considered in detail,” he said.
The group’s concerns are shared by Councillor Pascal Fitzgerald, who is disappointed with the planning of the new road, which he claims will divide settled communities and destroy their living environment.
He said residents in areas such as Parteen and Gillogue have expressed shocked and deep disappointment with the route. “Even people who have no connections with the area are asking why areas that have been ideal for living in are now to virtually have their heart cut out.”
Councillor Fitzgerald added people living on parts of the route, which is prone to flooding, want to know can experts guarantee that flooding will never occur again after this dual carriageway is constructed.
“Residents want to know what input the ESB and the University of Limerick had into the decision to earmark this route for the road.
“The fact that this road is not going to be tolled will make it a cheap rat-run for heavy vehicles and extra traffic going to and coming from the capital. To suggest that roundabouts and traffic lights will deter traffic from using the road is nonsense. If trucks or cars can save money by not paying tolls they will do so. The Shannon Tunnel is the perfect example as it is being totally under-utilised by traffic,” he said.
Councillor Fitzgerald claimed there was a communication problem regarding this project. He said he is annoyed the council did not keep councillors or the public fully up to date on what was being planned.
He declared, “Originally there were several routes earmarked and suddenly it is now down to one. Councillors were only informed that this was the preferred route a week before it went on public display in a local hotel.
“This road will cut off local residents who use certain areas for walking and in Parteen from the local shop. It will be particularly difficult for older people.”
He claimed there are people who support this road, but who don’t want to see people’s homes knocked to facilitate it.
Clare County Council in conjunction with Limerick City Council and Limerick County Council has commenced the planning process to advance the development of the Limerick Northern Distributor Road and associated infrastructure from a location in the vicinity of the eastern end of the proposed Coonagh-Knockalisheen Strategic Route to a tie-in with the R445 (old N7) in County Limerick.
The scheme will comprise the design and construction of approximately 10kms of road that will include a crossing of the Ardnacrusha Tailrace and River Shannon, together with possible crossings of the Blackwater and Mulkear rivers.