Slane has a medieval bridge and an 18th century
road carrying 21st century articulated traffic…
The only long-term solution to the
ongoing traffic problem in Slane
is the construction of the bypass.

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Letter received from Minister Varadkar in response to queries from Bypass Slane Campaign

12th October 2011

Please find attached a copy of correspondence received from Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar in response to a letter sent by the Bypass Slane Campaign seeking assurances that the Slane Bypass remained a priority project after the 'strategic leaks' made in early August concerning the possible non-funding of a number of planned road projects.

The text of the letter sent by the Bypass Slane Campaign is below and a PDF copy of the reply we received may be viewed by clicking on the Department of Transport logo on the right:

26th August 2011

Dear Minister Varadkar

We wrote to you on the 20th of June 2011 outlining our concerns in relation to funding for the Slane bypass in the event that the project receives planning permission from An Bord Pleanála. In our letter we expressed our hope that the project would not be ‘shelved’ until someone else loses their life in Slane.

Since our last communication four serious road traffic incidents have occurred on the roads of Slane. The most serious of these involved a HGV going on fire as it descended the Mill Hill towards Slane bridge, subsequently bursting into flames before exploding. The explosions could be heard up to a mile radius away. All incidents can be verified by An Garda Siochána. You are very welcome to come and visit our village and experience what life is like in Slane on a daily basis, we guarantee you will be appalled.

We live in an environment that is quite literally, an accident waiting to happen, the next one potentially fatal. You can, therefore, imagine our utter shock and dismay when the following article appeared in ‘The Irish Independent’ on Tuesday the 9th of August 2011: ‘On the road to nowhere: 45 routes axed as cutbacks bite’
 (Treacy Hogan, Environmental Correspondent)

Special attention was drawn to the fact that the Slane bypass was one of the “shelved” schemes, despite the shocking safety record on the current N2 through our village. You are quoted in this article as follows:
“It will come as great disappointment to local communities and business interests that projects have been suspended, but I am sure the public will see the sense in this policy change”.

We in Slane see no sense in a policy change that condemns us to a life of waiting – waiting for the next death on the roads of our village. We are also deeply concerned at the timing of this article, coming as it does while An Bord Pleanála are currently considering the application for planning permission for the Slane Bypass.

Our campaign group actively participated in the Oral Hearing into the Slane bypass. While we would like to feel confident that the Bord is a completely independent body,  we sincerely hope that your recent announcement on the funding of road construction does not in any way influence the decision that the Bord will make.

Our local FG Deputy, Minister Shane McEntee, moved quickly to reassure us on the funding issue. He released a statement advising there was “no change in the position regarding a road bypass for Slane” and that “the Slane by-pass is among the top five priority road projects to be completed by them (NRA), once planning approval has been received.”

We sincerely hope this is the case and in light of the confusion caused by the assurances from Minister McEntee and the conflicting article in “The Independent” we are calling on you to issue a statement clarifying the position with regards to funding the Slane bypass, should it receive planning permission.

We know the fiscal situation in our country is grave. We were unlucky not to have had effective and responsible leadership at both local and national level during the largesse of the Celtic Tiger years when this road should have been built, but for some bizarre reason was not. We urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to do everything in your power to ensure the Slane bypass proceeds to construction without any further delay should it receive the necessary planning permission. At the very least we expect all preparatory works to be carried out, CPOs etc. We also would like an assurance that this time, when funding does become available, it will immediately be used for the construction of the Slane Bypass, a comparatively inexpensive project which would yield significant safety benefits far beyond simple economics and would perform very well in any cost-benefit analysis.

The article in “The Independent” caused outrage and disappointment in our community and a profound sense of sadness that a road so essential to save lives, could once again be kicked to touch, despite 22 deaths, countless lucky escapes and a campaign stretching back some forty years.

We very much hope that the old adage “don’t believe everything you read in the papers” is true in the case of the Slane bypass and await your reply,

Yours faithfully

-----------------------------------------
Bypass Slane Campaign

 

 

 

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Contact us at bypassslanecampaign@gmail.com

Bypass Slane Campaign, c/o Slane Community Forum, The Village Inn, Slane, Co. Meath.