In the prior blog post, Vincent had just gotten to the point of explaining the need for a safer road in Slane.
Question: Why did they want to build this road around Slane though? Aren’t there other high capacity roads nearby?
They had built the M1 motorway as part of this huge, grand motorway scheme that was introduced in Ireland by the National Development Plan back in 2000. Unfortunately, in hindsight, when I took a look at that scheme, there had been huge damage done to the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site. They hadn’t even included the Brú na Bóinne site in the Environmental Statement, even though a motorway was planned to actually go through the buffer zone of the World Heritage Site. There wasn’t awareness back then in the communities and in society of the idea of protecting heritage. There were no protest groups.
This M2 is the third major motorway going out of Dublin and was on the other side of the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site from the M1.
What was happening in Slane was there were tolls on that M1 motorway, so a lot of the big lorries were avoiding the tolls by going back onto the old road. There were counted to be 1,400 HGVs , they call them Heavy Good Vehicles in Ireland, a day going down through the village of Slane. Bad accidents were happening and it was a dangerous place. I think everyone was in agreement that something had to be done. It was unfortunate though to have the design affecting the World Heritage Site. But you have to remember these were the same engineers and the same County Council who built the other motorway on the other side of Slane and who built the M3 motorway affecting Tara. We were all very familiar with each other. The same experts, the same archaeologists for the NRA (National Roads Agency), even going back to Carrickmines, we were all old soldiers at this stage.
There was huge support for the bypass in Slane. We had sympathy at the Hill of Tara with local community groups. This time, I was public enemy number one in Slane. There was a silent minority of people who were concerned about the World Heritage Group, but everyone in Slane was scared to raise their head in Slane to make that point. They all knew they would be crucified.
It was a different type of a campaign in Slane which was more legally based with people participating in the public process. The beauty of it was, unlike Carrickmines where the public process had already ended at the point where we went into court, and unlike at Tara where a lot of the public campaigners there hadn’t had a chance to participate, at Slane we were in early. We got a lot of good arguments in and used a lot of the ammunition that we’d built up over the years particularly with UNESCO, who had met with us over the Tara issue, when they were over looking at an incinerator proposal which was also close to the Brú na Bóinne site.
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