12 January 2006

Challenge to M3 to begin in High Court

RTÉ

12 January 2006 10:21

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A High Court action over the proposed route of the M3 motorway near the Hill of Tara is due to open in the High Court today.

The case will centre on the constitutionality of the National Monuments Act 2004 and the decision by the Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, to allow the M3 motorway pass through the Tara/Skryne Valley.

Campaigners, led by Vincent Salafia, are expected to begin an action against the minister, the County Council and the National Roads Authority.

Their legal team will argue that the National Monuments Act of 2004 is unconstitutional and therefore the decision under this act by Minister Roche to allow the motorway through the Tara/Skryne valley is invalid and should be rescinded.

That proposal will be vigorously opposed by counsel for the State, who will argue that the act is constitutional and that any decision made as a result is valid.

The case is likely to last up to six days.

Campaigners opposed to the present route of the M3 motorway want Mr Roche to reverse his previous decision and move it away from the Tara/Skryne Valley.

They claim the motorway would destroy a unique archaeological landscape.

The minister has refused to re-route the M3, pointing out that the proposed route was approved by Meath County Council and An Bord Pleanála and is backed by many in the locality.

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