The facts on the Slane bypass
Meath Chronicle | Letter to the editor | Wednesday, 29th September, 2010
Dear sir – The Bypass Slane Campaign (BSC) has repeatedly accused ‘commentators’ of being ‘ill-informed’, and spreading ‘misinformation’. So, let’s deal with the critical facts here, regarding the proposed Slane bypass.
The first fact is that it has been Meath County Council, acting as agents of the National Roads Authority (NRA), who have proven themselves lacking in the information department. That is why An Bord Pleanala forced them to publish additional information, and re-open public consultation. Submissions can now be made to An Bord Pleanala until 15th October. All the previously withheld information on the proposed bypass, including; the western route options; the potential impact on Brú na Bóinne; archaeological reports on the 44 impacted sites; and the relationship of the bypass to the N2 Ashbourne to Ardee project, is now available on the Meath County Council web site. Even the original Environmental Impact Statement, which was not available on their web site during the original consultation, is now available for download.
The second fact is that while the Fianna Fail leaders of BSC, Thomas Byrne TD and Cllr Wayne Harding have attacked ESRI economist Dr Edgar Morgenroth, for calling the bypass proposal ‘idiotic’, the fact of the matter is that the NRA agreed with Dr Morgenroth and cancelled the Slane Bypass in May 2009, on economic grounds. In a letter delivered to councillors at a Slane Electoral Area meeting, reported in this paper, the NRA said that it needed to concentrate on a number of other national projects which are seen as being “particularly important for regional development”. Because of this, and the continued uncertainty regarding public finances, the NRA regretted that “it is not possible at this time to provide funding for the construction of the N2 Slane Bypass.”
The third fact is that the HGV ban was approved unanimously by Meath County Councillors in April 2009, and the County Manager, Tom Dowling, is under a legal duty to implement it, as he was told in the Transport Committee hearing last year. Residents of Slane, including the Ban HGVs from Slane campaign led by Carina Mount Charles, have campaigned and protested for years for a HGV ban in the village. The Minister for Transport, and Fianna Fail TD for Meath, Noel Dempsey, was even reported in this paper in 2009 as promising to “actively implement” the HGV ban. But the HGVs still roll through the village at an alarming rate, endangering lives every day.
The fourth fact is that a bypass of Slane has already been constructed, at a cost of over half a billion euros to the taxpayer. It is called the M1 motorway, and lies about five miles to the east of the village. It runs along the eastern boundary of the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site, with a massive bridge over the Boyne, clearly visible from the Unesco site. Minister Dempsey and the Fianna Fail led BSC campaign would rather endanger lives in Slane on a daily basis than force the HGVs to use the road that was built for them, in order to unfairly pressurise An Bord Pleanala into approving a non-viable bypass, based on artificially inflated traffic volume.
The Capel Building,