Anti-Green Route group steps up action

The campaign to halt the construction of the proposed N4 Green Route through Multyfarnham has stepped up a gear as the local action group, has hired a number of high profile consultants.

Chair of the N4 Concerned group Clair O’Neill, says they want to ensure “a more viable project” and are urging the council and NRA to look at “more viable alternatives” to those proposed which would be completed sooner and at less cost to the economy, the environment, and potentially Mullingar’s water supply.

A hydrologist has been hired to consider whether there will be “catastrophic effects” to the water supply, not merely from run-off from the new road but from deep ground works which will affect areas adjacent to the water sources.

Ms O’Neill says serious concerns have emerged at their meetings about “protecting the extended water source area and springs that provide Lough Owel and the greater Mullingar area with their drinking water”.

Difficulties with water supply won’t simply affect householders, but also the county’s ability to attract industry. Westmeath has a reputation as the home of some of the world’s leading pharmachem companies but lack of clean water will deter future investment in the area, the committee has been informally advised.

A transport and road engineer has been hired to consider “accessibility and the viability of alternatives.”

The aim is not to engage in conflict with State bodies but to “provide information and help the NRA to create something that is long-term sustainable so it protects tourism for the future but more importantly the hydro-geology and water supply”.

She is critical of Minister for the Environment John Gormley’s recent initiative to save water, saying “we should be protecting our water sources from badly planned developments, roads and estates”, and points out that there hasn’t been a very hot, drought summer since the mid-90s, before the building boom began.

Since the closing date for submissions on October 10, the group has been meeting weekly and continues to liaise with council officials and local councillors. She’s delighted the council remains “open” to submissions coming from the group.

“We have been working together as a committee and having meetings and also sending a lot of letters from the local community to the local papers and media. As a result, more people are becoming aware and are feeling that they could have an input too.”


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