Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Decision to route M3 through Tara and Skyrne valley must be overturned

27 November, 2004

Sinn Féin representative for Meath Councillor Joe Reilly has described the decision to route the M3 through the Tara and Skryne valley as misguided and called for it to be overturned. He said "Even at this late stage I would call on the Department and the Minister to display some common sense and proceed with the delayed Dunshaughlin, Kells and Navan bypasses as a matter of urgency and start to deal with the traffic chaos being endured by the people of Meath and Cavan every day" Councillor Reilly is attending a protest in Dublin against the proposed route of the M3 through the Tara and Skryne valley.

Councillor Reilly said:

"No matter how much the Minister for Transport and the NRA play down the impact of the proposed routing on the archaeological heritage of the Tara-Skryne valley, the evidence contradicts these assertions. Archaeological test trenching proved that there are many more archaeological sites on the route of the proposed motorway than initially claimed. Eminent archaeological experts from Ireland and abroad have testified to the archaeological importance of the Tara/Skryne valley and have spoken about their dismay at the proposed routing of the motorway.

"The Government got itself into this mess because it did not consult adequately with local communities or elected representatives. It should have learnt by now that taking time to consult in the initial stages saves time and money in the long run. The case has been made by many of those campaigning against the proposed route of the M3 that there are viable and realistic alternatives where both infrastructure and heritage can be accommodated. The single 64 kilometre construction contract for the M3 should be broken up into a number of contracts to ensure work on the bypasses and non-contentious sections of the route would not be further affected by archaeological concerns and delays in the Dunshaughlin to Navan section. The people of Meath and Cavan should not be forced to endure the current levels of traffic congestion because of the delays to one section of the proposed motorway. The best way to address the appalling congestion problems we have heard about is to proceed immediately with the work on the bypasses.

"Commuters are irate that despite the fact that Meath County Council approved a plan for a bypass of Kells in 1999, nothing has happened to date. Public transport in County Meath is seriously underdeveloped. As well as proceeding immediately with the construction of the bypasses, the Government must commit the necessary funding for the reopening of a rail link from Dublin to Navan. Traffic congestion is inevitable in the absence of proper public transport alternatives. Navan is one of the fastest growing towns in the State and a commuter rail service is vital and would make environmental sense.

"It is proposed that this motorway should be constructed by way of public private partnership and should be tolled. The Government arbitrarily upgraded the road, which was to have been a dual carriageway, to motorway status just to apply a toll. Sinn Féin is opposed to PPPs as a method of infrastructure delivery. They do not make long-term economic sense and cost the State more in the long run. Road tolls are an additional stealth tax on motorists and the consequences of tolling this route for a person who lives in Cavan and travels to the southside of Dublin is that he will be ripped off three times - once between Cavan and Navan, a second time between Navan and Dublin and a third time by the Department's modern day highway men who are waiting to fleece him yet again on the M50 toll bridge."ENDS

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