Thursday, 19 July 2007

M3 protesters jailed after refusing bail

FOUR of the five people who were arrested yesterday during a demonstration against the controversial M3 motorway being routed close to the historic Hill of Tara were detained in prison last night.

The protesters were jailed after refusing to accept bail conditions imposed at Navan District Court.

Yesterday, seven protesters appeared in court, charged with public order offences. Four were remanded in custody after refusing to accept the conditions of bail, which included not interfering or entering a construction site associated with the M3. Three others were remanded on bail to appear again at the next sitting of Navan District Court next Wednesday.

The 60 protesters tried to block machinery from carrying out demolition works at an archaeological site called Soldier Hill on the northern slope of the Hill of Tara when the arrests were made.

The demonstrators said that around 20 diggers and bulldozers moved onto the hill early yesterday to carry our preliminary works on the controversial road.

Laura Grealish of TaraWatch argued the gardaí had arrested the wrong people.

“This is a trespass issue which is covered by civil law,” she said.

“If the construction company wants to prevent trespass they should go to the High Court and seek an injunction.”

“What happened this morning is unacceptable and cannot be condoned by anyone,” said Jos√© Tamariz, managing director of Eurolink, the company carrying out the work.

“We recognise the protesters’ right to protest peacefully and legally but workers should be allowed to do their work without interference.”

He said the company fears the situation on the M3 construction site is becoming “more and more dangerous every day”.

Tarawatch called for a moratorium on all work on the M3 until a full investigation of the route was undertaken by the European Commission.

The National Roads Authority has said the route is the only one feasible and is aimed at reducing congestion on the N3.

Irish Examiner

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