Saturday 8 August 2009

Blackrock locals risk jail in bus lane protest

RESIDENTS OF Blackrock, Co Dublin, said they will risk jail this morning in a bid to highlight their protest against the development of two bus lanes in their area.

The residents, many of whom campaigned unsuccessfully against the proposed Monkstown Ring Road, say they are protesting against plans for bus lanes on a 200m stretch of the route close to Brookfield Park and Rowanbyrn housing estates.

Graham Byrne, who took part in a protest at the site yesterday, said locals had previously sat in the buckets of digging machines.

They did so in a successful attempt to prevent work going ahead when vehicular access to their homes was threatened in recent weeks.

Mr Byrne said 12 locals had blocked the path of construction vehicles yesterday and would do so again today.

Mr Byrne said gardaí had warned protesters that if construction company Siac secured a court injunction against them, they could face jail.

However, Mr Byrne was adamant that locals “have not got a fair hearing” for their opposition to the development of the bus lanes.

He told The Irish Times that the proposed bus lanes would turn the relief road into “a four-lane highway” for 200m of the route at the point where it intersects with the access road to the Rowanbyrn and Brookfield estates.

He said the road reservation was not long enough for bus lanes along its entire length, which, in any event, he said, would interfere with the 46 route.

A spokesman from the council’s transport department confirmed that a protest had taken place in the morning.

However, he said the bus lanes along Rowanbyrn and Brookville Park were included in the original scheme, as approved by An Bord Pleanála.

The spokesman added: “Senior officers of the council met residents on a number of occasions in an effort to discuss their concerns. Notwithstanding these discussions, the site has been occupied by a number of people and the council now has genuine concerns about progressing the contract.”

The Monkstown Ring Road is designed to carry traffic from the Stillorgan Park area, across Newtownpark Avenue and across Deansgrange Road to Monkstown.

Irish Times

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