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22/10/2021

Editorial: Time to give a commitment on ring road completion for Kilkenny

City and county have been left waiting far too long

KILKENNY

The Castlecomer Road roundabout section of Kilkenny Ring Road

Those hoping for some kind of commitment — however conditional — on the completion of Kilkenny’s northern ring road will have been left disappointed at the details of the National Development Plan revealed this week.

Yes, there are a number of statutory obstacles still to overcome, but a commitment at this point in time would have been most welcome. Other longstanding road projects, such as Galway City’s ring road, is in there — albeit ‘subject to further approvals’.

Last week, Kilkenny Chamber unveiled its pre-Budget submission ahead of next Tuesday. Both the development of a TUSE campus here and the completion of the northern ring road are two of its main themes in terms of ensuring a sustainable and thriving urban centre, and for the whole county. Unfortunately, neither are referenced in the National Development Plan.

Elected representatives, council officials, and the business community (not to mention the general public) have at length pointed to the completion of the ring road as essential to Kilkenny’s development.

In 2007, then-councillor Michael O’ Brien described the failure to complete the ring road as ‘a monument to political neglect’. In a comment made now more than 15 years ago, he lamented the saga dragging on since the 1980s.

Is a commitment of some kind from Government at this stage too much to ask?

‘Blackout’
The threat, however remote, of blackouts this winter is unacceptable and people must be reassured this will not happen.

Already, hikes to electricity and gas bills are on the way, and that is before further carbon taxes are inflicted. Most people accept that climate change policies are required, but all sectors of society must be taken into consideration. Ordinary people need to be reassured they will be able to keep the lights and the heating on.

It is not good enough that older people, people on the margins, or indeed anyone should be facing into the coming weeks of dark, cold evenings with a sense of fear.

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