Thursday 23 August 2007

Protesters take fight to the EU as Gormley feels heat

ENVIRONMENT Minister John Gormley is now under pressure to reveal what the EU has told him it thinks of building new roads over monuments.

Campaigners against the M3 motorway route want to keep the pressure on the Green Party, given their objections in the past to proposed roads.

Opponents of the highly controversial M3 motorway are vowing to continue their fight against the routing of the road through the archeological site at Lismullen.

In a major setback to the campaigners, An Bord Pleanala gave the green light for the road without demanding a new environmental impact assessment.

Campaigners of the road want the Green Party Minister to release a European Commission report on the law allowing road building to proceed -- even when a national monument is found on the route.

The Tarawatch group says it is appealing directly to the European Commission over the latest Bord Pleanala decision.


The group says it wants Minister Gormley to publish a so-called reasoned opinion from the Commission on the National Monuments Act 2004. The law is possibly in breach of EU environmental directives.

Last night, the Department of the Environment said that such documents are never published because it forms part of potential legal proceedings by the European Commission against the Government.

Tarawatch's Vincent Salafia said the decision of An Bord Pleanala was made without any public consultation or opportunity for independent assessment to be given.

"That is exactly why the EU is saying the decision to demolish the site is illegal," he explained.

Independent MEP Kathy Sinnott said the National Roads Authority is to blame for the delays in the project because it only conducted an Environment Impact Assessment on one route.

"We could have had this road finished by now without all these problems. We've created a terrible dilemma," she said.

Sinn Fein MEP Mary-Lou McDonald said the decision to allow the M3 motorway to proceed along its original route is a blow to Irish heritage.

"The commuters of Meath need and deserve an immediate transport solution. However, it has been proved that this does not have to be at the expense of our heritage," she argued.

Irish Independent

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