Bypass near heritage site rejected
Plans for a controversial bypass around Slane village have been refused in order to protect a World Heritage Site.
An Bord Pleanala ruled that the proposed bridge and road in the Boyne Valley, Co Meath, was too close to Bru na Boinne.
The board said that while there was an urgent need to alleviate the traffic safety concerns at Slane, an accident blackspot, it did not believe alternatives to the bypass had been explored.
The Bypass Slane Campaign, formed after a serious road accident in the village, said it was shocked and dismayed by the decision.
However, Save Newgrange welcomed the move to protect the area near the historical sites of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth.
Campaign spokesman Vincent Salafia said: "The Unesco World Heritage Site is our most popular tourist attraction, which will play a key role in our economic recovery, and it deserves the highest level of legal protection." He called on authorities to immediately implement an HGV ban in the village to protect drivers, villagers and the local heritage.
Campaigners for the bypass argue that Slane has a medieval bridge and an 18th century road carrying 21st century articulated traffic.
White crosses have been erected beside the bridge in memory of the 22 people who have died over the years, including toddler David Garvey, who was killed in February 2001 when a lorry mounted the path.
Michele Power, of the Bypass Slane Campaign, said: "Life in the village, over generations, has been overwhelmed by the dangerous volumes of traffic and by the constant threat to life it brings. We now feel that as we have exhausted every avenue open to us that we are now entirely helpless.
"The decades of inaction and failure to deal decisively with this appalling situation are nothing short of a national scandal."