Archive for the ‘Limerick Leader’ Category

Consultant – road schemes put animals before people

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Limerick Leader

A representative for more than 20 individuals affected by the M20  Limerick to Cork motorway and the N21 Adare Bypass claims that  “woolly and feathered friends and otters are too well protected” in terms of the road schemes “while the human species is largely ignored”.

And in relation to one family affected by the proposed Adare bypass, he says that if they were bats, mitigation measures such as new bat houses would  be provided for  them.

Richard Rea of the Rea Group, accountants and agricultural consultants in Tipperary was speaking at the oral hearing held by An Bord Pleanala in respect of the
proposed M20/N21 in the Charleville Park Hotel.  In his submission he criticised the lack of support for families and individuals along the proposed road routes, highlighting how many won’t receive compensation for the inconvenience caused to
them during and after the construction phase.

In relation to the case of the Smyth family of Castleroberts, Adare,  the law dictates that no compensation is payable. Bryan and Maeve Smyth and their two young  aughters aged 6 and 10  moved from Raheen to Castleroberts and received the keys  to their new home on April 2, 2009 – the day the four potential routes for the Adare
bypass  were announced. Maeve suffers with  Rheumatoid Arthritis and had been advised that a country location  would be beneficial to her health. “We are not landowners. We are the nearest house to the road but we are not landowners. If you are not a landowner, you are not entitled to any compensation. We own  the house but the road isn’t going through the fields. “The road is  going through the fields next  to us.  We get nothing, only dirt, noise and debris – they won’t even clean our  windows. As a non landowner you are entitled to absolutely nothing,” explained Mr.
Smyth.

According to Mr. Rea, these shortcomings in the law are hugely unfair to families like  the  Smyths.  “When we established  four independence, to a large extent we took down the Union Jack and replaced it with the tricolour – but have largely retained he
worst aspects of the British system in relation to compensation. “At least the British have changed the law – so that cases like the Smyths’ would be properly dealt with in the UK”, said Mr. Rea.

Taking account of these shortcomings, he said that the only alternative and fair way
to deal with the Smyths   during construction is to relocate the family during the  excavation works at this location and provide security on the residence as appropriate.

“If Mr. and Mrs. Smyth were bats mitigation measures such as new bat houses or
temporary bat houses  would be provided”, said Mr. Rea. According to Mr. Smyth in their case, most of the experts have  assessed the impact on their house from a visual
perspective as  being “profound” for the first 15 years and “significant” thereafter.10

“Were a similar assessment made in the UK then compensation would be payable even if you weren’t a landowner”, said Mr. Smyth.

Mr. Rea, who has experience of working on other road schemes has called for the  inal build to be as per EIS drawings as submitted and as approved by An Bord Pleanala  with no deviations whatsoever except with written agreement with the affected property owners and the impacted public.

“The people affected by any change should have the benefit of independent advice
paid for by the contractor”, he said.  With respect to his earlier comment at the oral  earing that the process is “corrupt” – he  said that any system that is weighed so  heavily in favour of the developer and excludes the opportunity for the affected public to professionally present their case “I have to submit, is corrupt and contrary to the principles of European Union Law and natural justice”.

“I consider it wrong that Sweetman’s [environmentalist Peter Sweetman] woolly and feathered friends and otters are protected while the human species is largely  ignored,” he  added. During the oral hearing Eileen McCarthy, a chartered engineer and an associate of Arup Consulting Engineers who presented a presentation on the M20 motorway scheme  said that the need for the proposed €850 million road development which includes the bypassing of Charleville is justified by the fact
that the motorway scheme will result in the saving of an estimated 70 lives over the 30 years from the year of opening.

The meeting heard that the average journey time from Blarney to Attyflin near Patrickswell which is  currently approximately 61 minutes would be reduced to 44  minutes if  the road development were in place. Meanwhile, the chosen “blue route” for  the Adare bypass is the  longest and furthest away  from the village of Adare of  the four possible routes, and was described in a report published last summer as
the least value for money. However, the route was recommended, as it is the cheapest option.