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from the indo today!!!!!!!!

Costs pile up as court stalls M50 plan again
Friday January 30th 2004

TAXPAYERS face an extra bill of €1m-a-month after the M50 motorway project at Carrickmines was halted again following yesterday’s High Court decision.

The Government is to rush through emergency legislation to complete the project after the court ruled it had acted beyond its powers.

But for every month the project is now delayed taxpayers will have to pay an extra €1m as builders cannot move onto the site, the National Roads Authority revealed.

There are 500 workers and contractors waiting to move on to the site and the bulk of the extra costs will go in salaries and huge overheads.

The court yesterday overturned Environment Minister Martin Cullen’s consent for works involving the destruction or removal of medieval remains at Carrickmines Castle.

The consent meant that at long last, after years of objections, work could finally get under way at the site.

But the court overturned government orders of 1996 and 2002 which changed the system allowing work which could destroy national monuments.

The decision means the Government will now have to draw up new legislation to complete the motorway – or face having an M50 motorway with a hole in the middle at Carrickmines.

They could bring in emergency legislation relatively quickly but it would be open to renewed challenge. A more detailed set of laws could take up to nine months.

NRA spokesman Michael Egan said he hoped the Government would press ahead with the necessary legislation needed to finish the South Eastern Motorway.

Eamon O’Hare, transportation officer with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co Council, said he hoped the Government would do whatever was necessary to empower them to get on to the site and complete the project.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Chamber of Commerce last night called for emergency legislation to solve the issue.

Chamber president Michael Johnson said: “This is a national issue. We must have legislation in place to enable the national strategic infrastructure projects obtain planning permission within a reasonable timeframe.”

He said the motorway had been the subject of “far too many delays”.

The Green Party welcomed the decision which party heritage spokesman Ciaran Cuffe said meant that the minister could not “act as judge and jury” for Carrickmines Castle.

“For the last year and a half we have been calling on Mr Cullen to bend the road and save the castle. His intransigence is causing delays and leading to an increase in costs. A compromise could still save much more of the castle and allow the road to be built.”

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