Wednesday 23 May 2007

Tara protesters block depot to halt road works

OPPONENTS of the M3 motorway in Co Meath continued their protest yesterday with a day-long stand-off at a depot near Dunshaughlin.

Up to 10 protesters stopped construction machinery from leaving a depot at Cookstown to prevent further works being carried out on the controversial 60km motorway being built through the Tara/Skryne Valley.

Yesterday, Fine Gael released a statement saying it would re-route the road away from the Hill of Tara if the National Museum recommended it.

It emerged last month that a prehistoric ritual site, deemed to be a national monument, had been discovered on the route at Lismullin, but a decision has yet to be made to destroy it or leave it in place.

Transport spokesperson Olivia Mitchell said that while the party supported the €850m motorway, no national monuments should be destroyed during its construction.

"Fine Gael supports the development of the M3, given that the existing road is overcapacity, causes significant congestion and affects the quality of life of those who rely on it each day," she said.

Gardai were called to Dunshaughlin yesterday as protesters spent their second day trying to stop work on the motorway by preventing machinery from leaving the depot which is situated a kilometre from Dunshaughlin.

There were some scuffles between demonstrators and construction workers, but no arrests were made.

"We started a peaceful protest," one protester Debbie Reilly said.

"Gardai told me I wasn't in breach of the peace so I could continue my protest.

"Gardai told the workers they couldn't do anything because we weren't breaking the law." Contractors Siac Ferrovial were not available for comment.

Paul Melia
Irish Independent

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