Toibin joins M3 condemnation

Irish writer Colm Toibin has condemned the construction of the controversial M3 motorway which opened today.

Mr Toibin said the desecration of the landscape around Tara was shameful, short-sighted and beyond belief.

The M3, through Co Meath, is expected to cut journeys between Co Cavan and Dublin by an hour at peak times.

The 60km (37-mile) tolled scheme – with a €1bn price tag – has provoked legal action and angry protests over its route past the historic Hill of Tara and archaeological complex.

Toibin spoke out against the scheme from Kerry, where he was chairman of the Listowel Writer’s Week.

“In a time when Ireland needs places which have a sacred aura and a special beauty more than ever, it is sad to see those who have misruled our country ganging up on our heritage,” he said.

The author joined a long list of Irish artists – including Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Louis le Brocquy, Jim Fitzpatrick, Robert Ballagh and the Chieftains - who have previously criticised the location of the motorway.

Campaigners and environmentalists battled unsuccessfully since 2003 to force the Government to re-route the motorway away from the land around Tara.

The controversy over the roadway will continue for years as Tara was nominated to Unesco to be a World Heritage Site and listed as one of 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund.

Elsewhere they maintained the European Commission is taking a case against Ireland for breaching the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive.

Vincent Salafia, of TaraWatch, said activists have been completely vindicated in their campaign against the route of this road.

“The majority of Irish people, including most of our leading artists, as well as the EU and the major international archaeological bodies, have condemned it,” said Mr Salafia.

“The same reckless disregard for ethics, rights and regulation that brought down the economy, was employed to bulldoze this road through.

“The real kicker is yet to come, when traffic levels will show that the taxpayer will start paying millions of euros every year to the toll company, because traffic fails to meet the traffic guarantee which was secretly written into the M3 contract by the NRA.”

However Transport Minister Noel Dempsey, who officially unveiled the motorway, which bypasses Dunshaughlin, Navan and Kells, said it was one of the biggest road projects to open in Europe this year.

Around 1,800 people were employed in its construction, with about 80 staff set to work at the its offices and toll plazas.


More in this Section

Fatal assault of homeless man in Cork: ‘More will die on our streets’, charity worker saysFatal assault of homeless man in Cork: ‘More will die on our streets’, charity worker says

Man due in court in relation to a loaded gun found in Dublin parkMan due in court in relation to a loaded gun found in Dublin park

Homeless man, 53, murdered in Cork city was a 'talented chef' who served Elton JohnHomeless man, 53, murdered in Cork city was a 'talented chef' who served Elton John

Katherine Zappone aware of distress at Tusla refusalsKatherine Zappone aware of distress at Tusla refusals


Lifestyle

Helen O’Callaghan says we are the least strict in all of Europe.Praise over punishment: Irish parents least strict in Europe - study

Kya deLongchamps detects a hint of rebellion behind the ritual of afternoon tea.Vintage View: English tradition of afternoon tea won't exit with Brexit

Friends and Young Offenders actors Shane Casey and Dominic MacHale speak to Pat Fitzpatrick about struggling to make it but why they are not seeking out fame.‘I was down to a euro’ - The Young Offenders actors tell of struggle to make it in acting

Gerry Fitzgerald runs Bandon Books Plus in Riverview Shopping Centre, Bandon, Co Cork.We Sell Books: Turning over a new leaf from bank to bookshop in Bandon

More From The Irish Examiner