20 August 2005

Public want M3 to steer clear of Tara

Irish Examiner

Louise Hogan
20 August 2005

OVER 70% of people want the controversial M3 motorway rerouted away from the ancient seat of the high kings of Ireland, according to a new survey.
Environmental campaigner Vincent Salafia insisted it would be possible for the state to choose a viable alternative route to steer traffic far away from the Hill of Tara in Co Meath.

“The people of Ireland want Tara protected. This alternative offers the best compromise solution and I am seeking support for it from all political parties. Tara is too important to be a political football It should be a UNESCO Word Heritage site,” he said.

Campaigners have been disputing a 14 kilometre section of the planned 62km M3 motorway, which is scheduled to run alongside the former seat of the kings.

Mr Salafia said the results of a recent national survey by Red C Research had shown that 70% of people surveyed want the M3

motorway rerouted away from the site. The campaigner said the contingency engineering plan would offer a legally, economically and environmentally advantageous solution to the current route.

He said the new route between Navan and Dunshaughlin would be up to 2.5km shorter and would end any costly and lengthy legal disputes.

Protesters gathered at the toll booths on the M50 yesterday claiming the Government was trying to push a destructive and wasteful motorway through the scenic area. A leaflet handed out to motorway travellers stated: “The only people who will benefit from the construction of the M3 are the toll road operators and property speculators.”

The Eurolink consortium involving Spanish construction firm Cintra and the Irish group SIAC was recently announced as the preferred bidder to build the 600 million M3 motorway between Clonee and Kells.

Mr Salafia said legal advice is being sought as to whether they could also be held liable for any damage of the historic site as a co-developer of the project.

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