Thurles’ proposed ring road has faced nearly six years of delays and people can no longer put up with the traffic disruption, heard this month’s Thurles/Templemore Municipal District.
“I am calling on the Council to seek a meeting with both the NRA and the Minister for Transport to look for the necessary funding to proceed with the construction of the proposed ring road for Thurles.” Up to J1m had been spent on it to date. Four years on from selecting the route in 2011, “still nothing has happened.” Another J500k would be needed to get it through the planning phase, said Cllr Ryan, before considering compulsory purchase orders. “We all know the crippling traffic congestion. We’ve talked about it for the last 30 years, and it has never materialised. Heavy goods vehicles would not have to go through Thurles.” At least two tragedies in Thurles in recent years have been linked to heavy traffic, including a woman who died last year in Liberty Square after being involved in a collision with a truck. Cllr Ryan said the pressure should now be piled on local TDs and Ministers who so far “have failed to bring it across the line.” Thurles would receive a boost from construction jobs, but “it’s a political decision.” Cllr Ryan invited Ministers Alan Kelly and Tom Hayes to attend the meeting. Cllr Seamus Hanafin said it would be right to move along the designs as the need for the by-pass “has been proven.”
Cllr Michéal Lowry said one of Leo Varadkar’s first acts was to stop the building of relief roads around regional towns. “But it’s glaringly apparent that Thurles needs a by-pass.” Cllr David Doran said it had been the “biggest longest drawn out political process. We need some heavy hitters to pull up their socks and put Thurles on the agenda. We’re sick of broken promises.” Cllr Jackie Cahill said the traffic had been affecting the “commercial heart of the town. Liberty Square needs to be re-generated.” “Unfortunately, it’s just another example of Thurles being forgotten and neglected. We’re just getting lip service. There does not seem to be any commitment from anyone who can move it on. It’s extremely regrettable. We’re the only town in the country where you expect to be delayed by 25 to 30 mins.”