Sinn Fein Louth TD Gerry Adams attended a Dáil briefing on Tuesday given by a Working Group of Residents who will be significantly impacted by the N52 Ardee by-pass. The briefing was attended by the Minister for Transport Shane Ross.
The families live on the Mullanstown Road, Townspark Road and Silverhill Road, two of which will become cul-de-sacs if the current N52 plans go ahead unchanged. The presentation was made by Fergal Finn and Anne Lennon.
Teachta Adams met several of the Working Group two weeks ago when they brought him and Councillor Pearse McGeough along the affected roads and explained the community concerns and the environmental impact of the proposals.
Gerry Adams said:
“I asked Minister Ross, who attended the Dáil briefing to listen carefully to the briefing by the local community representatives and to look closely at their reasonable and thoughtful alternative proposals to the currents plan.
Like everyone else in and around Ardee the families welcome the decision to finally move ahead with the Ardee by-pass. However, they correctly point out that the N52 Realignment project was granted permission 12 years ago in 2006. Since then there have been community, demographic, sporting and environmental changes which the plan fails to take account of.
As a result of the current proposal the Townspark Road and the Mullanstown Road will become cul-de-sacs and the Silverhill Road will have a staggered ghost island junction. The Silverhill Road is essentially a narrow country lane which is inadequate for the substantially increased traffic it will now be expected to take, including school buses servicing the Tallanstown National School, Ardee Community Secondary School and the Ardee Day Care. The road is also prone to flooding.
The imposition of the current plans will in some instances double the physical length that residents have to walk or drive and will increase the time it takes for residents to reach Ardee. It will also present safety concerns for people travelling to the Ardee Celtic grounds.
The bogland between the Townspark Road and Silverhill Road is now a National Heritage area which seeks to protect our natural fauna, bird life and other wildlife. The current plans pre-date this development and no environmental impact assessment has been carried out.
The residents’ proposals outline a number of common sense, practical solutions to resolve the difficulties arising from the current plans. These include the use of over-pass and under-pass arrangements, as well as traffic lights. I asked the Minister to support these proposals.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough has been elected the new Chair for the Ardee Municipal District Council.
Speaking after tonight’s AGM, Cllr McGeough said “I want to thank my fellow Sinn Féin councillor Tom Cunningham for nominating me and also want to thank Independent Cllr Jim Tenanty for his vote. For years there was a pact to keep Sinn Féin out but it’s good to see that pact has been broken tonight.”
“I have been proud to serve the good people of Ardee and Mid-Louth Municipal District for over fourteen years and this is the first time that I will have the opportunity of doing so as Chair. I will serve and represent all the people of the area and look forward to what will no doubt be a challenging but very rewarding time.”
“This coming year is an important one as we are facing into an election next year and Brexit with all the uncertainty that brings with it, is looming. Over the last years we have seen the powers in our municipal Districts stripped and diluted, obviously we need to reverse that trend if we want to affect real change in Mid-Louth. We, as councillors, are accountable to the people so it is up to us to represent those people and help Ardee and Mid-Louth to realise its full potential.”
“There are a few challenges that need to be prioritised this year. We need to appreciate the area’s potential for jobs and enterprise. Sometimes we tend to be overlooked in favour of Drogheda or Dundalk but we have a lot to offer too. I would like to see the Ardee By-pass well underway and to tackle the drugs and alcohol usage and addiction in the area especially among young people. These are projects that will require all of us and multi-agencies working together but if we have the will, it can be done.”
“I also look forward to working with Dolores Minogue as Leas Cathaoirleach in the year ahead.”
Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Transport, Imelda Munster TD, is calling for amendments to the proposed plans for the N52 Ardee bypass following a meeting with the Ardee Residents Committee.
Deputy Munster said:
“Minister Ross announced on 23rd December that the project is now “shovel ready” to go ahead but the residents committee are urgently seeking a review to ensure that the safest methods are employed to maintain continuity of access for the community into and out of Ardee town, while diverting the Heavy Goods Vehicle traffic from the town.
While the committee stress that they welcome the bypass, they are concerned that the realignment design needs to be modified to reflect changing demographics in the area during the intervening 12 years since the plans were originally finalised in 2006. The community understand and support the need for the bypass to join the the N2 but they do not accept that this necessitates the closure of two roads with cul-de-sacs which would permanently block local traffic from travelling two established direct routes in and out of Ardee town. They contend that with innovative engineering there is a safe way to retain both roads open and at the same time achieve the stated objective of the N52 bypass while maintaining through access with other options such as roundabouts, traffic lights, staggered junctions and flyovers/tunnels.
I have requested a meeting with Minister of Transport, Shane Ross and a small delegation from the residents committee to highlight the negative affect the plan as it stands will have on the communities to the north of Ardee town and the bypass.
I do hope the Minister will make himself available to meet with the delegation.”
Councillor Pearse McGeough called those who discarded mattresses along the N33 Ardee Link Road “a disgrace.”
Cllr McGeough who visited the site this morning said “someone just decided not to dispose of these mattresses responsibly. There are several of them so they had to be brought here by a van or lorry of some kind. If anyone has any knowledge on those who are responsible for this disgraceful dumping then please let Louth County Council know.”
Councillor McGeough also commended Louth County Council for their quick response in getting the mattresses removed. “It should not be up to Louth Council or indeed anyone else to clean up after someone else. I for one, am sick of paying to clean up someone else’s
Several mattresses at the site
filth. There seems to be an increase in the instances of dumping and that needs to stop.”
“When I arrived this morning the Council were here in the rain clearing the mattresses when they could have been doing something else. Well done to them.”
If you want to report littering or have information on who is responsible for this then please phone the Council’s litter hotline on 1890 202303 or (042) 9335457
Fines for littering can range from €150 – €3,000
Sinn Féin Councillor for Ardee Tom Cunningham has welcomed funding that has been made available for the Ardee Bypass.
Cllr Cunningham said “this is very welcome news for the people of Ardee and has been a long time coming. Ardee was forgotten about when it came to the Capital Investment Programme so this is good news to have it included in the midterm review of the Capital Plan.”
“All we need now is a date and timeline for the project.”