: I regret having to hold up the House on this issue this evening. It may seem a parochial matter but it affects almost one million people. I raise it to express the sheer frustration of the people of south Dublin about the lack of progress which has been made. It may seem that I am just talking about another road which needs tarring or other work but I am not. This is a road which it is proposed will go across the whole southern section of Dublin city. According to the consultants it will carry up to 100,000 cars a day when it is finished in 1989. If the road is not finished Dublin city will grind to a halt. I say that without any exaggeration.
Anybody who has had the pleasure of driving anywhere between the Naas Road to Dún Laoghaire knows that the average speed a car travels at is 5 to 7 miles per hour. I ask the Government to cut through the red tape. I have no doubt the Minister will give me a long list of each section, junction, allocation and decisions taken by the council and changes of plans. I know all about these and about the rows between various golf clubs, colleges and so on. Deputy Shatter knows them as well as I do.
I plead with the Government to cut through the red tape and finish the road. The total funds which have been allocated so far amount to £2,500,000. Only a small fraction of the road has been built for that. If the jet which had to land at Mallow had known about this fraction of road it could safely have landed there. It runs from Greenhills to the Tallaght road. It starts nowhere and goes nowhere. It can best be described as one and a half miles of beautiful runway. It has been built with public money and is just lying idle. It is as big a scandal as the beautiful empty offices we have in town. The road must be connected up. It is no use the way it is.
This has been going on for ten years. The Minister of State is more familiar with the problem than I am. This is 1983 and I hope the three of us are not back here in 1993 trying to get the road completed. We had a debate earlier today about rail services needed for Dublin. The statement was made time and time again that this city is grinding to a halt. It transpired that there is no overall CIE plan to try to relieve the congestion.
Only a small section of the road has been built in ten years. That is not acceptable. What is the completion date for the road? I want the Minister to cut through the red tape and give me straight answers. When can we look forward to him or someone on this side of the House cutting the tape to open the southern cross route? There are hundreds of thousands of people waiting for an answer to this question. I am as sensitive as anyone to the cost and it would be no harm to know the overall cost of the road. Will it be £20 million or £50 million? So far it seems that only £2,500,000 has been spent on it. Has all the land been purchased? This will cause problems if not. I want to be able to tell people when it will be finished and how much it will cost. If we get answers to these questions we need not bore people with a lot of detail.
On 1 May 1981 a letter was written to the southern cross study group by Deputy FitzGerald in which he said:
We consider the southern cross route as absolutely necessary to the proper development of south Dublin. It will play a vital role in the commercial development of that area as well as protect the quality of life of its inhabitants. We are convinced in Fine Gael that this project is essential and I hereby re-iterate Fine Gael's commitment to it.
I know the Minister of State is not Fine Gael but I know the Leader of the Government wishes to have the road built and I ask him to expedite the matter.
There are many other aspects one could go into. There are sections of the road for which money has been allocated but which have not been built. There has been disagreement about large sections of the road. The southern part of Dublin has the fastest growing population of any European city. It is an area which is fast becoming a concrete jungle and one where traffic stands still. If the Government do not have an integrated transport plan for this area combining road and rail things will come to a halt.
My colleague, Deputy Shatter, and I spend a lot of our time performing a sad duty and that is attending the funerals of nine-year-olds and ten-year-olds who have been viciously run down by motorists in this area. It is almost a daily task and not one which we relish. I attribute these problems to the difficulties in the area. I ask the Minister to cut through the red tape and try to devise a plan for the whole area south of the Liffey.
Any area, Rathfarnham, Dundrum, Ballinteer or Ballyboden, is bigger than Galway city and together they are bigger than Cork city. They are enormous cities and there seems to be no plan to try to sort out the difficulties in that area. I want to express the frustration of my constituents and to ask the Minister to carry out the commitment given by the Leader of the Government and to cut through the red tape so that I can report to the people of south Dublin that this commitment has been lived up to. I would ask the Minister to inform me of the timetable, costs and an opening date for the road.