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14 September 2008
M3 motorway through Tara may open early

The controversial M3 motorway in Ireland is understood to be nearly a year ahead of schedule and it is hoped it may open to traffic in advance of the official completion date of June 2010. The progress on the project has been welcomed by Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey, who is a TD for Co Meath. However environmental group TaraWatch has repeated its call for the scheme to be cancelled and a heritage trail to be created, which, it said, would bring more benefit to the county. The motorway passes through the rich archaeological landscape of the Tara-Skryne valley. Last year a national monument was discovered in the middle of one of the lanes of the motorway itself.
     Mr Dempsey said: "We all want to cut journey times and travel on safer roads. The M3 will deliver on both of these fronts." This was reiterated by the road safety officer for Meath County Council, Michael Finnegan, a retired Garda chief superintendent. "The sooner it is completed the better," he said. However, Vincent Salafia, TaraWatch spokesman, said: "I believe this is spin and the motorway is not due to open until 2011. We are in uncertain times and this is a waste of taxpayers' money." He claimed the current economic climate meant the project was now 'economically unviable'. Instead the group wanted a heritage trail or park developed, which, it said, would economically benefit the county more than the motorway. Meath County Council has disagreed, saying the motorway would boost the county as a prime business location.

Source: The Irish Times (12 September 2008)

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