Meath Chambers of Commerce Press Release Feb 8th 2005
Meath Chambers of Commerce today called on the Minister for the Environment, Mr Dick Roche, to approve the proposed M3 motorway from Clonee to Kells without further delay. The Chambers released the results of recently commissioned research conducted by local research firm Orchard Research and Analysis Ltd. Orchard undertook 500 face-to-face interviews with individuals living in the three main towns along the existing N3 Corridor: Dunshaughlin, Navan and Kells. The sample mirrored the population distribution between the three towns.
The survey reveals that almost 80% of people are in favour of, or have no
objection to, the proposed M3 route. Only 21% objected to the route. Mr
Michael Cassidy, President of the Navan Chamber said „this supports the
findings of earlier research undertaken by the Chambers and another Pro M3 group, MC-M3‰ (Meath Citizens For the M3). The latter group recently
surveyed local opinion along the controversial Tara-Skryne section of the
route and found 92% of locals in favour of the proposed route.
„Those protesting against the route are a vocal minority‰ said Adrienne
Bowen, President of the Dunshaughlin Chamber. „They have mislead people by indicating that the proposed route is going through the Hill of Tara. In fact it is 1.5 miles away from the centre of the Hill of Tara!‰ This is the message the Chamber is focused on communicating. „When people actually see where the route is going and realise it is further away than the existing N3, support for the route increases substantially‰ claims Bowen.
This view is reinforced by the research. Before asking people their
attitude to the M3 route, current awareness of the route was first assessed.
Respondents were asked to select the route they believed the proposed M3
would take, from a choice of three routes. In addition to the actual route,
respondents were presented with two fictional options; one going through the Hill of Tara and another to the West. Only 37% identified the correct
route. A third of people incorrectly identified the Hill of Tara route as
the actual route. The research shows that when advised of the correct
route, respondents became significantly more positive in their attitude to
the route. „The result shows the importance of highlighting just how far
away the M3 will be from the Hill of Tara‰ said Bowen.
The message appears to be getting through. The Chambers and the MC-M3 group obtained 2,000 signatures of support in Navan Shopping Centre on each of the last two Saturdays, an average of 5 signatures per minute. „Those politicians who have sided with the M3 protestors should recognise that this will be the key issue influencing voters in the forthcoming bye-election in the county‰ warned Cassidy. „This research shows that they are out of touch with public opinion on this key election issue‰.
The survey reveals how people along the corridor suffer the longest commutes in the country - „On a national basis, only 17.31% of the population report a journey time of over 15 miles to work, but for the sample covered by this survey the comparable figure is 59.15%.‰ ? Orchard Research.
According to Penny McGowan, President of the Kells Chamber, „the lack of
enterprise investment and jobs in Meath is directly responsible for the
appalling congestion on our roads. This in turn is linked directly to the
lack of investment in transport infrastructure along the corridor. The
research shows that our local population faces the double hit of longer
distance commutes and slower commuting speeds due to the incredible pressure on the N3.‰
McGowan said „we knew that the N3 corridor commute was one of the worst in the country but the extent to which businesses and commuters are suffering is made even clearer by this survey <sum>
The research indicates that people can tolerate commutes of up to 45 minutes but after this they become very unhappy with the commuting experience.
Almost 50% of those travelling to work spend more than 45 minutes en route.
However, as McGowan points out, „ the commuting misery is most acute in
towns like Kells where commuting times of 2 hours in each direction are
The Meath Chambers of Commerce represent the combined chambers of
Dunshaughlin, Navan and Kells, supported by Trim and Ashbourne chambers.