The following is a press statement issued by Fine Gael Meath by-election candidate, Shane McEntee, re the proposed M3 motorway:
Fine Gael Meath By-election candidate Shane McEntee has called for an immediate
start to work on the M3 motorway and said the county cannot afford to allow the
issue to go to court. He warned that the motorway is principally an issue for
the people of Meath and its neighbouring counties, and called on all parties in
the dispute over the motorway to make a final attempt to reach agreement.
"In the final analysis, the need for the M3 is overwhelming. Co. Meath needs
this motorway to bring jobs to the county, and to prevent it turning into a
dormitory county of Dublin with no identity of its own. I believe that most
people in Meath want this motorway to go ahead, because the existing N3 is
stretched to its limits and can barely cope with the current level of traffic.
At 21,700 vehicles a day, the level of traffic on the N3 is 87% greater than
what the road was designed for.
"Objectors to the road claim that, at best, commuters will only save 20 minutes
on each journey if the M3 is built. Fine Gael believes commuters could
potentially save up to 40 minutes per journey, or one hour and 20 minutes every
day. But even if you take the lower estimate of 20 minutes, then the 21,700
commuters who use the road daily would each save a total of 160 hours in
commuting time, almost a whole week, every year. This would make a huge
difference to the quality of life for thousands of people. Between them, the
21,700 commuters using the road would save a total of 416 years in commuting
time every year.
"I fully understand the concerns about the M3, particularly the section proposed
for the Tara/Skryne Valley. Many people in Co. Meath are worried about the
impact that the M3 will have on the historic area around the Hill of Tara. But
the controversial stretch of the M3 is only three miles long.
"I believe the archaeological concerns which have been raised by the objectors
could be overcome if the relevant archaeologists were brought in to work on the
construction project. At the same time, the threat of legal action should be
lifted. Fine Gael believes that development, archaeology and community interests
can go hand in hand. Community and farming interests must be protected in the
final arrangements, but work should start on the road without delay.
"Everyone must remember that the proposed route for the M3 cannot be changed
without losing all the available funding. And if this project does not go ahead
as it stands, we would be waiting at least 20 years for another opportunity.
That alternative does not bear thinking about.
"The number of cars using the N3 will rise to 36,500 by 2024, or 215% greater
than what the current road was designed to cope with. This would be a nightmare
for commuters and businesses, and would also be extremely dangerous.
"Ten routes were considered for the M3, and archaeology was just one of 18
different aspects which were examined. Other aspects were traffic flow, safety,
visual intrusion, the impact on homes and quality of life, business, hedgerows,
farming, severance and community. This final route was the best in 14 of the 18
criteria, far ahead of the next best option. It is neither the cheapest nor the
shortest, and was determined by well-paid and independent professionals.
"Without this road, it will be almost impossible to attract new industry into
Co. Meath. Without this road, thousands of people in Meath will have to continue
commuting out of the county to find work. But with this road, it will be much
easier to attract new industries and jobs into the county to provide for the
"The most important point is that this is an issue for the people of Meath. And
I believe that if the concerns about the M3 are addressed, then the vast
majority of Meath people will want the motorway to go ahead."