A problem has arisen in my constituency concerning the M8 Rathcormac/Fermoy Bypass. The proposed opening of the new M8 toll motorway will result in 2.4 km of EU‑funded roadway being withdrawn from all free public use, as there will be no access or exit point for non toll-paying drivers.
This stretch of road will be inaccessible to my constituents unless they pay a toll to a private company. The situation could be avoided at no cost if the present exit to Rathcormac village were to be left open, instead of being closed off, when the toll booth opens. Signs have recently been erected indicating that the public road is part of the toll road, which is incorrect.
This public roadway was provided to reduce congestion for the general public and the people of Watergrasshill and its surrounding areas. The lack of any access and exit points will have consequences for the people of the area concerned.
Several years ago in my constituency, the local authority planned to charge a toll for use of the Cork Lee Tunnel, but was informed by the Commission that it could not, because that would prevent free access to roads that the EU had funded. The same situation applies in this case.
Can the Commission confirm that EU‑funded roads must remain public roads?
Was the EU even consulted on this change of use of a road it funded?