Senator Thomas Byrne has made a call for the Slane bypass to be included in the Government’s latest capital expenditure programme which is understood to be announced in July.

“I understand that the Government is to launch a new capital spending programme.  They have cut substantially capital spending and so it is absolutely essential that realistic amounts are included to ensure that the nation has the resources to fund new roads and schools that will be badly needed.

“The Slane bypass in particular needs to be part of the Government agenda for capital spending.  It was included in the previous Government’s plans and funding was made available to let it go to An Bord Pleanala, which happened around the time of the last general election.  When this Government came to office, mention of it was removed from the Government’s capital plans.  I have no doubt that this played a role in the An Bord Pleanála refusal for the project which is now more than three years ago.

“If the Government is seen to be committed to the project, by including it in its capital plans for the next few years, it makes it very difficult for An Bord Peanála to refuse planning permission, all other things being equal.  If the project is not included again, then a huge signal will be sent about Government disinterest.

“While a huge amount of work has been done by Meath County Council in relation to traffic management issues in preparation for another planning application, I’m concerned that the National Roads Authority have not given much consideration to the heritage issues which will inevitably arise again.

“The Slane Bypass is essentially about saving lives.  The Government must include it in its capital plans and I will be seeking a debate with the Minister for Transport in the Seanad to ascertain his plans in respect of this” concluded Senator Byrne.