Fianna Fáil’s poor Limerick Tunnel deal leaves behind €200 million bill - Maurice Quinlivan TD
Sinn Féin's Maurice Quinlivan TD today reacted to the news that the operators of the Limerick Tunnel are likely to be paid up to €200 million by the taxpayer, as a result of the deal entered into by a previous Fianna Fáil government.
Speaking today, the Limerick City TD said:
“The Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee yesterday heard that the operators of the Limerick Tunnel have already been paid €34 million by the state, due to the lower than expected number of people using the tunnel.
“An official from Transport Infrastructure Ireland went on to say that 'conservative estimates' would indicate that an additional €150 million will need to be paid during the lifetime of the contract.
"This is a shameful waste of taxpayers’ money.
“The Limerick Tunnel is a great piece of infrastructure for the Mid-West, but regrettably it is not being used enough because of the tolls.
"The tolling of the tunnel has resulted in many opting to avoid it, as it is simply too expensive.
“Unfortunately this avoiding of the tolls has also resulted in traffic congestion in Limerick City centre.
“The agreement was signed in August 2006, while Fianna Fáil were in government, so despite this massive bill coming as a shock to the rest of us, this is not news to them, as this horrendous deal was signed under their watch.
“Fianna Fáil’s TDs were front and centre at the opening of the Limerick Tunnel in 2010, but when the bill for €200 million comes in, they are nowhere to be seen.
“The agreement to build this tunnel using a Public Private Partnership was signed at the height of the boom in 2006, when the country was flush with money, and the state had the resources to finance it.
"Unfortunately a costly PPP was used, and this has tied the hands of future government’s and left them with no choice but to pay the hugely expensive terms."