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Meath Chronicle Nov 4 2006

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  • Dr. Muireann Ni Bhrolchain
    [Great coverage, particularly in the letters from Rosaleen and Claire. Note at the end of the editorial that it mentions leaving cars at home.] Meath Chronicle
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2006
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      [Great coverage, particularly in the letters from Rosaleen and Claire.
      Note at the end of the editorial that it mentions leaving cars at home.]


      Meath Chronicle Saturday, November 4 2006

      Editorial

      AS CRUCIAL United Nations talks get underway in Nairobi next week, we
      are going to be hearing a lot more about global warming and the
      implications for the future of our planet and our way of life over the
      next couple of weeks. And it is an issue we need to hear again and again
      to reinforce the fact that global warming and climate change is the most
      pressing matter facing humankind.

      Ignoring the overwhelming evidence now being presented of the dramatic
      changes occurring in our atmosphere will not only lead to severe
      climatic consequences that will impact on poorer, vulnerable countries
      most, but could also trigger massive economic upheaval unseen since the
      Great Depression of the 1930s.

      The extremely significant report from former World Bank chief economist
      Nicholas Stern, commissioned by the British government and published
      this week, warns that governments will ignore climate change and its
      implications at their peril. It urges determined, co-ordinated efforts
      to fashion a response to this threat now before it is too late stop the
      effects of global warming. He advocates that strong early action now
      will offset the worst of what is to come, the benefits of which, in the
      longer term, will considerably outweigh the immediate costs.

      Stern’s report states that, on present trends, average global
      temperatures are expected to rise by two to three degrees within the
      next 50 years, triggering melting glaciers, rising sea levels, causing
      severe flooding in low-lying countries, severe summer droughts and
      declining crop yields. In stark terms, the report also concludes that
      the possibility of avoiding a global catastrophe is almost out of reach,
      but that, if action is taken now, the worst effects of climate change
      can be countered.

      Tony Blair, in particular, is pushing for a new deal on climate change,
      post-Kyoto, that will include the world’s biggest polluter and engine of
      the global economy, the United States, which opted out of the Kyoto
      Protocol. This was the agreement of several years ago whereby most of
      the world’s richest nations agreed to cut emissions of greenhouse gases
      by 2010. Many nations that signed up already are ahead of their targets,
      which is encouraging. Ireland, in contrast, is one of the countries
      which is not.

      In global terms, Ireland’s contribution to global warming is tiny, but
      we must all nonetheless play our part in helping to halt this threat
      that will impact on all our lives if it allowed to gather more momentum.
      It is clear that this country will have to take additional measures to
      comply with its Kyoto obligations - now estimated to be running behind
      target by 16 per cent. Under the Protocol, Ireland is committed to
      reducing its rise in carbon emissions by 13 per cent by 2010. The
      European Commission has said that, without additional measures,
      Ireland’s carbon output will increase to nearly 30 per cent in the years
      to come.

      Environment Minister Dick Roche will need to do a lot more in this area
      as, clearly, what is being done at present is wholly inadequate. This
      Government needs to take a lead in promoting policies that limit carbon
      emissions and provide energy efficiency in homes and throughout
      industry. In particular, transport policy needs to be examined and a
      range of measures put in place to encourage people to leave cars at home
      and use public transport. But because our public transport
      infrastructure is so poor, particularly in rural areas, then issues
      surrounding the blending of biofuels with petrol and diesel to help cut
      consumption and reduce emissions should be encouraged.

      //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

      March to save Tara valley

      Saturday November 4th 2006

      (Editor, Meath Chronicle)

      Dear sir - As the ‘culture vultures’ darken the skies of the Tara-Skryne
      valley, never before has it been so important for people to voice their
      objection to the needless destruction of Ireland’s most sacred site.

      This motorway will be of no benefit to the people of Meath and will
      simply line the pockets of those who are responsible for building it.

      With two tolls and leading into the already badly congested
      Blanchardstown roundabout, the M3 will bring unspeakable destruction to
      Ireland’s heritage with no relief to the stressed commuter. Many people
      are unaware that as part of the M3, a massive interchange will also be
      built at Blundelstown at the foot of the Hill of Tara and this whole
      area will be floodlit 24 hours a day.

      With a general election not far away, there seems to be a belief that
      the option of the tolls may be waived, as they were with the M2. As this
      project is a PPP there is no such option. As a financial investment for
      those concerned, this motorway most definitely comes with two tolls.
      Widespread development is also planned along the route of the
      Tara-Skryne valley.

      We are inviting all those concerned about this issue to join us on our
      Save Tara Valley Awareness March on Saturday, 4th November at 2pm,
      starting at The Railway Station, Navan.

      The march is intended to bring attention to the fact that viable
      alternatives do exist, such as an integrated transport system and that
      at this important moment in Irish history we hope to draw attention to
      the futility of the current proposal.

      Yours,

      Rosaleen Allen,

      Save Tara Skryne Valley Campaign,

      20, The Grange,

      Beechlawn,

      Ratoath.

      /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

      ransport realities must be faced

      Saturday November 4th 2006

      (Editor, Meath Chronicle)

      Dear sir - It is encouraging to discover there is one political party
      (the Greens) that will not acquiesce to the disastrous M3 planning
      decision, which has been shown to be well and truly flawed on both
      heritage and transport grounds. Even Meath County Council now recognises
      in its Draft Development Plan: “that the current trends in
      transportation are unsustainable, in particular the relentless increase
      in private car traffic.”

      It says: “The Council is strongly committed to the promotion of
      sustainable means of travel.”

      Unfortunately, the council has at the same time committed to putting all
      its transport eggs into the M3 basket, with the desperately needed rail
      on the very long finger.

      This makes a bit of a nonsense of the worthy aspirations in the Draft
      Plan. It also continues to leave the exhausted commuter with no choice
      other than the private car or an inadequate and unreliable bus service.

      With the arrival of the M3 in years to come, the commuter’s greatest
      gain will be to be able to zoom up the new road, arriving sooner to join
      the ever growing Dublin traffic chaos.

      How do we in Ireland continue to fool ourselves that road transport is
      the way of the future? We seem to persist in planning for an era that is
      clearly over.

      The earth is warming at such an alarming rate that analysts now see the
      ‘tipping point’ as dangerously close. Transport is a major contributor
      to climate change.

      Meanwhile, peak oil is almost upon us, after which, demand for oil will
      be greater than supply with obvious outcomes. Whether we like it or not
      fossil fuels are running out.

      Ireland seems to consider herself immune from these twin realities and
      is busy planning a massive motorway construction programme. The point
      has been made that at least those countries who have had motorways for
      decades have got their monies’ worth out of them. As for Ireland, we
      will be lucky to get 10 or 20 years before large scale road transport
      becomes a thing of the past.

      We may get very short dividend indeed for all the destruction of
      irreplaceable heritage and good farmland.

      The greatest challenge to our planners today is that, with the bigger
      context changing so rapidly, we must constantly reappraise what we are
      doing.

      We cannot afford to doggedly persist with playing ‘catch-up’, working
      with plans that may have seemed right seven or eight years ago.

      The vast amounts of money destined for motorway construction should
      instead go to improving existing roads, building by-passes and above all
      to providing the citizens of Ireland with a state of the art public
      transport system. We have to take our collective heads out of the sand,
      wake up to today’s realities and plan for transport systems that are
      genuinely sustainable into the future that we now face.

      Yours,

      Claire Oakes,

      Bellinter,

      Navan.

      ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

      Change of mind on M3 is possible

      Saturday November 4th 2006

      (Editor, Meath Chronicle)

      Dear sir - Our taoiseach seems to think little of the humble pencil or
      indeed of people admitting that they are wrong and changing their minds.

      Last week in the Dáil he made the astounding statement that our ‘silly
      old system is outdated’ that we should ‘correct the software and move
      forward’ and that we are a ‘laughing stock with our silly old pencils’.

      Last year he also referred to pencils as the Irish Times said: ‘In what
      could only be taken as a reference to the Kildare bypass - where a rare
      snail’s habitat was discovered, and the proposed M3 in Co Meath which
      passes through an area of significant archaeology - Mr Ahern said: “in
      other countries they just get on with things.

      If you take a pencil and account for things like snails and archaeology
      you will never do anything.” (Tim O’Brien, Irish Times, September 30 2005).

      If someone did use a pencil for the route of the M3 it must have been
      late at night on the back of an envelope in a pub, the pencil then
      slipped and the route to be most avoided was chosen by mistake. There is
      no other explanation for such an idiotic route - or is there?

      Our taoiseach also faulted the opposition for changing their minds on
      the issue of electronic voting, unlike him they had the sense to listen
      to the experts.

      Finally, in other countries they do not ‘just get on with things’ - in
      Gran Canaria when the route of a major highway unearthed a Guanche
      graveyard containing 1,000 skulls the Spanish government moved the road.

      This government should put its hands up and admit that a monumental
      planning mistake has been made or put their trust in those great voting
      machines and hold an e-referendum on the round-the-bend route of the M3.

      Yours,

      Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin,

      58 Laurence Avenue,

      Maynooth,

      Co Kildare.
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