|M50 Interchange at Tallaght, South, Dublin |
IBEC, the Irish employers' representative body, today estimated that the chaos on the M50 on Wednesday has cost the economy €3.5 million. IBEC said the way in which the incident was handled was totally unacceptable and that responsibility needed to be taken.
IBEC Director of Transport Policy Reg McCabe said: "Urban motorways are a feature of virtually every city in the world. Inevitably there are interruptions due to accidents, breakdowns - even resulting from burst water mains. It seems, however, that only in Dublin does a minor incident escalate into a traffic catastrophe."
The focus on the enquiry, it seems, will be on the water main that failed, but more important than this is the need for an urgent and immediate enquiry led by the Department of Transport focussing on:
- The absence of official accountability to the taxpayers for this disaster
- The lamentable failure of the Garda Traffic Corps to take positive action – its members were largely invisible throughout this incident
"What happened on Wednesday amounts to a significant fraction of national production capacity being stood down and left stranded on our most important traffic artery. This is not an acceptable state of affairs for IBEC as an organisation representing business and industry," said McCabe.
"If we are to learn anything from the episode it is that the motorway corridors need to be operated like a business. Contingency plans need to be rapidly mobilised when disruption occurs. Better information systems are required – we are overdependent on sporadic radio reports, for example.
"Most importantly an identifiable official needs to be empowered by Government to put detailed contingency plans into action and this individual needs to be made directly accountable for the quality and effectiveness of the response.
"The massive and unprecedented gridlock experienced on the M50 this week is already fading from the headlines. By the time the City Council’s enquiry is concluded in some week’s time, the incident will have been forgotten. Until, inevitably there will be another incident and another enquiry."