Cork East Fianna Fáil TD James O'Connor has said he feels he was misled by senior Government officials over the Castlemartyr and Killeagh by-pass projects along with the Fota Road into Cobh which were not included in the National Development Plan.
Mr O’Connor told local radio station C103’s Cork Today show that despite repeated assurances for some time, it was not until last Sunday night that he discovered that neither of the East Cork projects would be included in the National development Plan.
When asked if he felt that he was lied to, Mr O’Connor said “yes, by a multitude of colleagues. I feel I have been deeply misled. I am hurt”.
Mr O’Connor said he is seeking meetings with the Taoiseach Micheál Martin and with Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, but had not yet received a reply. He said he would be looking at a number of options “including resigning the whip of the Fianna Fáil party”.
Mr Martin, when announcing the National Development Plan, said that if other projects were delayed then the money could be invested into projects such as the Castlemartyr bypass.
When he received the call on Sunday night informing him that the East Cork road projects would not be included, Mr O’Connor said he was not given a reason.
“I want to register my anger, my upset at the fact that I was deeply misled.” He said that as a Fianna Fáil TD he had acted in good faith and had met with different Government ministers, from the Taoiseach to the Minister for Public Expenditure to the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, to lobby for the project which was crucial to the future of East Cork.
“All I had asked for was €54 million to provide two relief roads” which he said would have a huge impact on the economy of the area which was still recovering from the loss of 4,000 jobs since the year 2000.
“I’ve been misled and I’m angry. I want to say here and now that I will not stand for it. If the commitments made to me are not fulfilled I may consider such action (resignation).”
Mr O’Connor also criticised other local representatives, who, he said, “sought to use this as a stick to beat me with”.
“I’ve been fighting the good fight as hard as I can behind the scenes. Nobody told me at any stage that it wasn’t a runner.”
Mr O’Connor said that the by-passes should have been included in the 2014 plan, if they had then they would have been built by now.