Dear sir – Slane needs a dual-carriageway bypass (built to motorway standard) like Minister Dempsey needed the (larger) Government jet to go to summer school in Derry. It needs it like County Meath needs three parallel motorways; the M1, M2 and M3, passing within 15 miles of each other with Slane bang in the middle.
The Minister for Meath, Noel Dempsey’s local Fianna Fail underlings, Thomas Byrne, TD, and Cllr Wayne Harding, were, however, correct in saying that powerful forces from outside County Meath were attempting to stop the Slane bypass going ahead. These ominous forces are called taxpayers – occasionally also known as voters – who reside in overrun villages and counties all across Ireland. They are being told they have to pay for this bypass, while many of their own roads’ badly needed improvements were put on hold by Minister Dempsey last December. Even the N2 Ashbourne to Ardee project, which will run through Slane, has been put on hold.
Now, we see hospital services in Navan being curtailed, as part of the radical cuts taking place nationwide. How many lives are now at risk as a result? Wouldn’t the €100 million-plus cost of the bypass be better spent keeping Navan hospital in full operation?
Transport economist Dr Edgar Morgenroth, associate professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute, is right to call the Slane bypass plan idiotic, and no better man to complain to the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) if the bypass goes ahead as planned. Gold-plated, as Dr Morgenrath called it, pork-barrel spending like this is what the C&AG watchdog was designed to hunt down and kill.
The Bypass Slane Campaign, which operates out of Cllr Harding’s offices in Slane, has criticised Dr Morgenroth for threatening to exercise his right to complain. They would have us believe that the current bypass plan is the only viable alternative to stopping the HGVs rat-running through Slane every day, to avoid the M1 toll. If the HGVs were gone, there would be no danger in Slane.
Dr Morgenrath wrote in The Irish Economy blog on 1st March:
“The simple, cheap and obvious solution to the problem of HGVs going through Slane is to ban them from doing so…This would also avoid all the hassle of forcing a major construction project through an area rich in archaeological sites and historic significance. However, Meath County Manager Tom Dowling has refused to implement the ban, which Meath County Councillors voted for in early 2009.”
If Deputy Byrne, Cllr Harding and the Bypass Slane Campaign are sincerely alarmed at lives at risk on the roads throughout the village every day, they should be demanding that Noel Dempsey behave like the Minister for Transport and force the county manager to immediately implement the HGV ban, like we are.
The Capel Building,