Source: Irish Examiner (Sean O’Riordan)
A widow became emotional yesterday as she explained how she would become “a prisoner” in her own home if plans for a €180m Cork-Ringaskiddy motorway were given the green light.
Anne O’Dea, who owns a house on Maryborough Hill, said it is still not clear how much of her land Cork County Council plans to take in order to secure a 16m-wide, three-lane carriageway outside her home, and an adjoining new overbridge for the proposed M28 motorway.
She built her house with her late husband in 1983 in what was, at the time, an idyllic rural area.
Since then, however, traffic volumes have significantly increased and Mrs O’Dea said it is already dangerous to cross the road.
“This CPO (compulsory purchase order) has had a devastating effect on me and my family,” she told an oral hearing of An Bord Pleanála yesterday.
“My blood pressure medication has been doubled.”
Mrs O’Dea said she knew the council wanted some of her front and side garden but didn’t understand why they couldn’t yet spell out exactly how much.
“I fear anyone visiting or leaving my home may have an accident,” she said.
“The county council essentially expects me to live in a building site at my old age.
“There won’t be a moment’s peace in my old age. I’m already living with terrible noise.
“This proposal will mean that the three lanes of traffic outside the front of my home will be 16m in width. Essentially I’ll be a prisoner in my own home. The current proposal means my lovely home will be worthless and I’ll be forced to leave,” said Mrs O’Dea, to applause from other objectors.
Council engineers said they would soon be able to offer her some clarity on the land take.
Officials said they could also extend a footpath to her property and install a push-button pedestrian crossing close by. They were unable to say when the pedestrian crossing might be provided.
Objections to the CPOs were heard throughout yesterday at the hearing in the Ambassador Hotel.
Concerns were expressed about the consequences of widening parts of Rochestown Rd as part of the project, in particular in the vicinity of St Patrick’s Church.
The church authorities are worried about construction traffic, and the building of a new boundary wall, reducing congregation numbers.
They said disruption and a fall-off in attendance, as a result, could have a very negative impact on church collections.
County council engineers, who are designing the M28 project, said a construction management plan would be prepared for the area in an effort to reduce disruption.
They also pointed out the concerns raised could be taken into account when assessing compensation.
Objections have also been made by other landowners in the area of Rochestown Rd who maintain there is no need to widen the road.
Some said they were worried about the number of mature trees which may be cut down along the road because of widening.
Council engineers told An Bord Pleanála senior inspector Mary Kennelly they were not yet in a position to say how many trees will be felled.
The council’s legal representative, Dermot Flanagan, said discussions are continuing with landowners over land acquisition and what remedies could be found to lessen the impact.
The engineers said “low-noise surfaces” will be put on the motorway, Rochestown Rd, Maryborough Hill, and a number of other local roads which feed into the new motorway scheme.
Ms Kennelly said the oral hearing was taking longer than expected. It had been due to finish tomorrow, but the inspector said she intended to take a break and resume the week commencing November 27.