High Court rejects Rath Lugh application

 

An application by protesters for an injunction to halt work on the M3 motorway on grounds of safety and potential damage to a national monument near the Hill of Tara has been rejected by the High Court.

Ms Justice Mary Laffoy was told protesters had dug a tunnel near the monument, at an esker known as Rath Lugh, and that any attempts to remove a female protester who had allegedly chained herself to a carjack in the tunnel could result in the tunnel's collapse and would represent a danger to safety.

The woman claims to have enough food to last for several months.

The National Roads Authority rejected claims that works on the motorway created a danger of damage to Rath Lugh and argued any delay in the project would cost the taxpayer €330,000 per week.

Rath Lugh is located about 2.3 miles north-east of the Hill of Tara and is divided from the hill by the existing N3 road.

The injunction application was brought by Peadar Ó Ceallaigh, a building surveyor from Wolfe Tone Close, Jervis Street, Dublin. He claimed the road works endangered Rath Lugh and that the woman "trapped" in a tunnel underneath the road route was in danger from the impact of heavy diggers passing over it.

Any effort to remove her from the trouble would also result in collapse, the court was told.

Mr Ó Ceallaigh also said that attempts by the road workers, gardaí and fire brigade to remove the girl had failed.

He claimed said a preservation order for Rath Lugh, signed last month by Minister for the Environment John Gormley, was under threat because of the works and that damage has already been caused to the esker.

The NRA, the Minister for the Environment and the Attorney General opposed the injunction application.

Five companies involved in the project - Eurolink Motorway Operations (M3) Ltd, Ferrovial,Agroman (Irl) Ltd, SIAC Construction Ltd and Polish firm Budimex Dronex Spolka Akeygna - were also represented in court but were not party to the proceedings.

Refusing to grant the injunction, Ms Justice Laffoy said Mr Ó Ceallaigh had no legal standing to make an application on behalf of a person in a tunnel.

A challenge to the route of the M3 had already been dismissed by the High Court and an appeal to the Supreme Court was withdrawn, the judge noted. She also said it was clear from the preservation order that there were substantial penalities for anyone who interfered with the national monument at Rath Lugh or to the buffer zone around it.