Ross appears to pour cold water on Varadkar's motorway proposal

Varadkar has said he wants to prioritise construction of the M20 between Cork and Limerick

Ross appears to pour cold water on Varadkar's motorway proposal

Shane Ross. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

The Transport Minister appears to have poured cold water on one of Leo Varadkar's campaign pledges in the Fine Gael leadership race.

Minister Varadkar - who is currently the favourite in the Fine Gael leadership race - wants to prioritise the construction of the M20 motorway between Cork and Limerick.

In his policy document, he proposes a new ten year plan to "substantially increase capital spending".

The document suggests: "The new capital plan will allow us to bring forward long delayed projects like Dublin Metro, the M20 between Cork and Limerick, motorway access to the West and North-West and major investment in our healthcare and educational institutions. It will also enable further investment to tackle our housing needs."

The M20 has already been delayed until at least 2023, due to the cost of the project.

This evening, Shane Ross told the Dáil that the road getting the go ahead now would use up "virtually all" the extra money being made available for capital spending.

He suggested: "What I wouldn't rule out in this particular case is creative solutions."

Minister Varadkar has won the support of the majority of the Fine Gael parliamentary party ahead of next week's leadership vote, with more than double the level of support of Simon Coveney.

However, Varadkar also drawn controversy during the campaign so far - with unions and opposition TDs criticising his proposal to restrict strikes for some workers in 'essential services'.