"We must put the people before the slug" - Danny Healy Rae on Macroom bypass delays

A need to preserve the so-called 'Kerry slug' is said to be one of the reasons behind delays in building the road

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Danny Healy Rae has said "we must put the people before the slug" over the delays in building a road in Co Cork. 

The delayed development of the N22 bypass from Macroom and Ballyvourney was raised in the Dáil yesterday.

Deputy Healy Rae told his Dáil colleagues that wildlife was initially given as one of the main causes behind the project's slow progress.

He said the development had been held up by environmentalists who "thought up ridiculous reasons" such as a need to protect the so-called 'Kerry slug'.

Deputy Healy Rae explained that “this project is of paramount strategic importance to all the people of Kerry" who travel to and from Cork on a regular basis.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, the Kerry TD said: "When we need a valuable piece of infrastructure, surely there can be some accommodation made - we must put the people before the slug. What I'd say is [...] move the slug.

"All the problems related to the slugs have been overcome. But the point I was making - at a time when we had the money, back around 2006 and 2007, this was the reason why the road was held up.

"Can you imagine you imagine the torture and torment the people have gone through in the last ten years?" he added.

Tony Lowes, Director of Friends of the Irish Environment, also spoke to the show.

"This is one of the headline grabbing items that we have in this case, but it's a mistake to actually pillory the Kerry slug" he explained.

He explained that the slugs in this case and in other places around Ireland need to be protected because they're rare, and there are warnings about the overall health of the sites.