After two years and a €20m bill, work resumes on motorway - but not for long, warn protesters
By Senan Hogan
WORK finally resumed yesterday morning on the remaining section of Dublin’s M50 motorway, but conservationists have warned they will try to halt the project again.
The route, which passes through the ruined walls of Carrickmines Castle, has been delayed by a two-year campaign of sit-in protests and legal battles by the local ‘Carrickminders’ group.
But workmen and officials from Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co. Council re-entered the South Dublin site at 8.30am yesterday and began work under strict archaeological supervision.
Environment Minister Martin Cullen gave the official go-ahead for the project last week under the specific terms of the new National Monuments (Amendment) Act, 2004.
This allows for the removal and partial destruction of some of the remains of the medieval castle site by the council.
However, the Carrickminders group, which wants the entire site preserved, served notice yesterday on the local authority, warning that the National Monuments (Amendment) Act is unconstitutional and therefore any resumption of work is illegal.
Carrickminders’ spokesman Vincent Salafia said yesterday: “We are considering getting an interlocutory injunction in the High Court as early as tomorrow morning to stop the current work.”
Mr Salafia, who is not allowed to enter the work site, added: “We want the council to respond to specific written queries on the construction work or else we will begin legal proceedings.”
The council says the delays have added €20m to the cost of the South Eastern Motorway project, which will bring its final estimated cost to €596m. The council’s director of transportation Eamonn O’Hare said: “We are satisfied that we are acting within the law and barring any court injunctions, we hope to have the project completed by August 2005.”
Speaking from the site, he added: “We believe we are fully complying with the directions of the courts and the provisions of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act.”
A small number of protesters attended the site yesterday as work progressed, but they did not attempt to halt any of the work. The 9km project, which was originally due to open in October, will complete Dublin’s M50 motorway bypass linking the M11 to the M1.