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Hill of Tara


Campaigner unveils 'alternative' M3 route


A new campaigning group - Tarawatch - has been formed. The
group sees it's role as articulating the opinion of the 70% of the
irish population who are against the routing of the proposed M3
through the Tara Complex. The group is determined to keep the
issue at the forefront of public debate in the run-up to a high
court challenge to the Governments decision.

The group's first public action took place today at the M50
tool-booth operated by National Toll Roads who are part of the
consortium most likely to build and collect tolls on the proposed
M3 for the next 25 years as part of a Private Public partnership

Leaflets were distributed at the action to motorists informing

- that the Clonee to Kells motorway will have two toll booths for a
initial contract period of 45 years
- that one toll booth will be located north and the other south of
the Hill of Tara
- that profits from these tolls will go to a private corporation and
not the exchequer
- that NTR has been selected as the preferred bidder on the M3
Public Private Partnership (PPP) contract
- that NTR are part of Eurolink, along with SISK and Cintra
Construction PLC (Spain).
- that the profit from their tolls will pay for destruction of Tara
- that a shorter cheaper route to the west of the tara complex is
- that commuting problems on the M50 are likely to get much

A member of Tarawatch, Michael Canney said "The government
are attempting to frame the debate over the M3 in terms of
heritage and environmental campaigners VS the commuter and
motorist. We have set out today to convince motorists that the
length of commuting times is the real problem and that the lack
of public transport alternatives is contributing greatly to it. All of
this is a result of failed housing and transport strategies". Mr.
Canney continued: "To add insult to injury, the long distance
commuter will now see their toll money, paid to NTR, used to
fund the M3. In effect their monies are going to be used by this
company to destroy the Tara complex".

The new group sees itself as an extending and broadening the
already existing campaign against the plan to run the new M3
through the Tara-Skryne Valley. It intends to be action oriented
and will be launching a major website next week.

Another member of the group said: "The government have
overruled their own experts, ignored national and international
academic opinion and resisted and slandered those seeking to
challenge their actions through the courts. We are now
beginning to mobilise for the next stage of the campaign. We
represent the majority of public opinion on this issue and we will
not allow this opinion to be ignored."

Campaigner unveils 'alternative' M3 route
By Elaine Edwards Last updated: 19-08-05, 16:39

A campaigner against the proposed route of the new M3 motorway near
the Hill of Tara in Co Meath has presented an alternative route for
the road, again urging that it be re-routed to avoid the historic

A campaign graphic voicing opposition to the proposed M3 route
In a briefing on his legal action against the Government, lawyer
Vincent Salafia claimed that 70 per cent of more than 1,000
respondents in a recent survey by research group RED C favoured a
different route for the M3, which will run from Clonee to Kells,
bypassing Dunshaughlin and Navan.

The campaigner said he had separated himself from the Tarawatch
protest group because he did not want them exposed to liability in
the event that he loses his High Court action against the route. He
said he was personally exposed financially if he loses the
forthcoming case.

Campaigners and their advisors are awaiting judgment from the Supreme
Court in a case related to the controversy over the Carrickmines
Castle site in Dublin. The outcome may have an effect on their legal
argument in the Tara case, which centres on technical points in
legislation under which the Minister for the Environment consented to
the route.

Mr Salafia expressed concern about the fact that no public hearing on
tolling had yet been heard, even though it has been widely reported
that the Eurolink consortium will toll the route and also receive a
State subsidy.

Mr Salafia today presented what he said was a professionally designed
and "legally acceptable" engineering solution which would protect the
Hill of Tara. The alternative route is up to 2km shorter between
Navan and Dunshaughlin and brings the M3 nearer to Trim, which would
make sense he said.

"The NRA and the Government are saying 'you must allow us to build
this motorway through Tara or you must sit in traffic jams; it's the
only solution'. You, the motorist, and the citizen, were promised
upgrades and by-passes years ago, do not allow them to foist a
destructive, wasteful and unsustainable - but highly lucrative -
motorway as a bullying tactic now," he said.

"The only people who will benefit from the construction of the M3 are
the toll road operators and property speculators. The same company
who operate the M50 toll (NTR) have been selected as the preferred
bidder, they will operate it and profit from it in exactly the same
way. The prospect of large retail and commercial developments at
junctions along the route is a prime motivation behind large land
transfers in the Meath area."

The NRA insists that the route chosen makes most sense economically
and that it will run further from the Hill of Tara than the existing
N3. However, Mr Salafia said Tara had to be considered a complex and
that it wasn't confined to the hill itself. He wants the entire
complex declared a World Heritage Site.

Green Party TD Ciaran Cuffe said he would like to see the matter
brought back before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the
Environment, which is chaired by the Fianna F€ ¦áil TD Sean Haughey.

Mr Haughey has previously said that plans to run the route through
the Tara area were "bordering on vandalism" against one of the most
important historic sites in the country.

Mr Cuffe said today: "It's about time he put his money where his
mouth is and moved it on."

The Green Party TD also said he believed there was public concern
about some of the investigation methods currently being used on sites
around Tara. Diggers are in operation on a number of the sites and
some environmentalists claim they may cause irreparable damage to
terrain or artifacts of archeological and historical significance.

Sinn F€ ¦éin TD Aongus € ¦Ó Snodaigh said his party favoured rerouting the
road alongside the development of public transport alternatives such
as a rail line to Navan.

"My main point is the protection of our natural environment and also
our archeological and historical heritage. Anyone who has any
understanding of history will understand that the outlying area is
often more important than the site itself. If you start to destroy
the landscape you lose the sense of what was there."
Posted by BrigantesNation
20th August 2005ce

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