Monday, July 01, 2013

Alternatives to Slane bypass must be explored before resubmitting application

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Monday) said that alternatives to the Slane bypass must be fully explored before an application is resubmitted to An Bord Pleanala. Deputy Doherty added that a rushed re-submission would be risky and counter productive, and it would be much wiser to exhaust other options first.

Last week Fianna Fail's Thomas Byrne expressed his "outrage" because the Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar TD, wasn't in a position to drop everything and appear before the Seanad to answer Senator Byrnes' queries regarding the Slane bypass. This is a blatant attempt to play politics on a topic that is close to the hearts of everyone who lives and works in Slane village.

Rather than trying to point score, we should look at the reality of the current situation, and examine how it can be moved forward. An Bord Pleanala has already rejected one submission on the bypass, and the last thing we need to do is rush a second submission and do the entire campaign an injustice in the process.

It is clear to me that we must explore the alternatives to the bypass, as this was one of the primary reasons the original submission was rejected. The National Roads Authority and Minister Varadkar have consistently stated what everyone in Slane knows; the best solution for the village is a bypass. So what we all need to do is find a way to satisfy An Bord Pleanala.

For this reason I think Meath County Council will have to push ahead with a HGV ban, to see how it works and what impact it would have on the surrounding area. It is clear to me that only through exploring and exhausting the alternatives, will we be able to deliver the bypass the village needs.

Minister Varadkar has engaged personally on this issue and has met with the Slane Bypass Action Group, Meath County Council and elected representatives to discuss the best way to approach the issue. I will continue to work with local interests and the Minister on this issue, and in the meantime I would encourage Thomas Byrne to stop wasting time by staging a charade in the Seanad.

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