Momentous day for Sligo
‘Sligo is delivering on its’ growth potential’, says Councillor Martin Baker, Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council. ‘After many years of planning, it gives me great pleasure to see important schemes finally come to fruition’, he said, adding that they will transform Sligo. The Cathaoirleach made the comments as he welcomed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross to the formal ‘sod-turning’ events for the N4 and Western Distributor Road.
The N4 project will see one of the poorest sections of National Roads finally upgraded to dual carriageway standard, while the Western Distributor Road will open up access to the IDA’s new Industrial Park at Oakfield. Minister Ross was also given a briefing on the Eastern Garavogue Bridge project, which will facilitate improved movement around Sligo and open up land for development to the east.
Vision for Sligo
Chief Executive Ciarán Hayes credited the Council for their vision of Sligo’s future and paid special tribute to the staff for their professionalism, persistence and determination in driving forward ambitious and transformative projects that will underpin the future development of Sligo. ‘Sligo is on the cusp of a new era of growth’, he said, adding that ‘the infrastructural developments added to the recent job announcements bode well not only for the future prospects of the region, but for Sligo as the capital of the region’.
He also pointed to a unity of purpose among the agencies in Sligo. He explains it as an alignment where ‘IT Sligo produces the graduates with the necessary skill sets for the type of new jobs that the IDA is attracting in facilities that can be provided on the back of the Council infrastructure’.
While he readily admits to simplifying what can be a complex network of collaborative arrangements, he feels it is a good basis on which to bring Sligo forward.
The Cathaoirleach also welcomed the major jobs announcement by GW Plastics as ‘a great boost for this region and one that confirms Sligo’s status as an internationally recognised centre of excellence in mould and tool-making. Sligo is the key centre of economic growth in the northwest, and the positive, dynamic engagement between state and key local agencies provides the blueprint for a bright future.’
N4 Collooney to Castlebaldwin
The N4 Collooney to Castlebaldwin Road Project will provide just under 14km of Dual Carriageway, and 1km of Single Carriageway, linking the existing N4 dual carriageway at Collooney to the Curlews By-Pass, just south of Castlebaldwin village. The €150m scheme was included in the Building on Recovery: Infrastructure and Capital Investment Capital Plan 2016-2021, as a key priority in the roads programme which will support economic growth and was identified it as one of the “critical gaps” in our existing infrastructure.
Western Distributor Road
The Western Distributor Road is of crucial importance to the future development of Sligo City and Environs. It will facilitate the development by IDA Ireland of a new Business Park at Oakfield which will serve Sligo and the North-West Region. The €18.5m road will provide a direct high quality link from this proposed IDA Business Park to the N4 dual carriageway. It will also provide a new high quality access road from the N4 to the existing IDA Business Park at Finisklin.
Eastern Garavogue Bridge
Minister Shane Ross was also briefed on the Eastern Garavogue Bridge and approach roads scheme, which is of strategic importance to the development of roads infrastructure in Sligo and linking communities within Sligo City. There is presently no direct road link available between the areas of the city to the north and south of the river on the eastern side of the city centre.
The scheme will be developed as a high quality urban road, and will compliment and prolong the life of the Sligo Inner Relief Road.
In welcoming the significant capital investment in our road infrastructure, the Cathaoirleach said that ‘The delivery of the N4 Sligo to Castlebaldwin, Western Distributor Road, and the Eastern Bridge, will enable this county and region grow and develop in the years ahead.
Projects of this scale and significance would not have been possible without sustained effort by many agencies and individuals’ he said, adding that ‘in recent years Sligo County Council has worked in dynamic partnership with other key stake-holders to plan and deliver many strategic projects that will transform and enhance our town and county. The elected members and staff have worked very closely to bring the various projects to this stage, and I want to commend local voluntary groups such as the N4 Action Group who have been very committed advocates’.
‘I also want to commend Sligo County Council’s Roads Design Team for their professionalism and exemplary work across a range of capital projects, they have developed invaluable experience and expertise, and this is very much in evidence in the quality of their work on these major schemes. We are on the cusp of something very positive in Sligo. There is potential for every area of our county to develop, and the funding announced late last year under the various schemes will energise our communities and equip them to capitalise on the opportunities that lie ahead’.
The Cathaoirleach concluded his remarks by thanking the Taoiseach and Minister Ross for travelling to Sligo for the sod-turning events ‘Their presence here today is further indication of Sligo’s resolve and ambition to progress these projects as quickly as possible and we will continue to work closely with the Government departments as the contracts progress’.
Economic driver of the Northwest
The Chief Executive of Sligo County Council, Ciarán Hayes, sees collaboration as they key factor in delivering these projects. ‘Sligo County Council, along with the IDA, IT Sligo, Enterprise Ireland and Fáilte Ireland, is taking a leadership role as Sligo asserts itself as the capital and economic driver of the northwest. But recent announcements and uplift in the local economy are not due to one agency alone, they come from a genuine engagement between statutory agencies, business sector and local communities in the interest of Sligo. Because of that collaboration, 2019 will witness the gradual unveiling of a new, vibrant Sligo, where many long-awaited tourism and infrastructure projects will come to fruition.’