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Charleville Castle calls for support to stop road construction

category offaly | environment | press release author Tuesday November 09, 2004 01:52author by J. Antonio DiBella - Charlville Castle Trustauthor email juan_dibella at hotmail dot comauthor address Tijuana, Mexicoauthor phone 6881285 Report this post to the editors

Bypass threatens to undermine cultural and nature preservation effort

Help stop road construction near Charleville Castle

This a letter I received by Dudley Stewart, who I met this past summer as I visited Ireland for the first time. He represents a group of people trying to preserve the Charleville Castle and transforming it into a cultural haven for students of all countries under the Irish flag, and the educational premise that knowledge should serve a social purpose as opposed to greedy, selfish targets, this in order to make an effect and tilt the balance in favor of justice and equality where it's most needed: the Third World and other poverty stricken and underdeveloped areas. I had the pleasure and honor of spending a week as a guest in this castle that is being remodeled and reshapen into something alive and wothy of praise. Please get informed, and help and support this inspiring effort.

J. Antonio Di Bella
Mexican, Irish culture lover...

My name is Dudley Stewart, Managing Trustee, Charleville Castle Heritage Trust (registered charity)

Our mission is to hold Charleville Forest Castle intact as the principal architectural feature of the natural land unit known as Charleville Demesne - and when possible, after due study, to implement a full and complete restoration of this important structure.

For your information - The Heritage Council published in Nov 2003, The Charleville Demesne Conservation Report (by Howley Harrington) i which the demesne was described as of "immense international cultural importance" Charleville Forest Castle "is an exceptional example of domestic Gothic Revival. It is one of the very finest and most impressive country houses ever to have been built in Ireland . amongst the most important rooms in the country. Most of the other great designed landscapes in Ireland such as Carton, Castletown, Powerscourt, Dromoland, Rockingham and Headfort have been significantly compromised by golf courses, forestry or insensitive housing developments, which leaves Charleville as one of the last opportunities to preserve a great historic demesne in Ireland." Heritage Council Conservation Report, Nov. 2003.

Offaly County Council announced recently that the tullamore Bypass will go ahead and will cut through the centre of the Desmesne, splitting it in half. Three major roundabouts will be built in front of the castle with massive lighting towers operating all night. The original "Mucklagh" gate will be destroyed. The announcement states that the road is no moving to CPO status.

This road will destroy absolutely the value of our work and undermine the international cultural significance of the entire complex. I have informed An Taisce. I hope that you can help. We cannot possibly maintain our position "holding Charleville Forest Castle intact" while launching a major campaign against this road. We are under extreme pressure from local developers to sell out and abandon our mission. All state funding to the project has been cut since the Bypass was first proposed and we are really feeling squeezed but will hold out.

There is an alternative - the road through the Demesne is already large enough - it simply needs to be linked on either side to the bypass. The Roundabouts can be pulled back from proximity to the Demesne - only two roundabouts are needed the first could be place further back the bypass to the East in Belard. The second can be pulled back further North-west towards Lynally, slightlt north of Mucklagh, but avoiding the Mucklagh gate.

Please can you help?

Yours sincerely

Dudley Stewart C.Eng.
Charleville Castle heritage trust

Related Link: http://www.charlevillecastle.com
author by Terrypublication date Tue Nov 09, 2004 15:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Back in the mid to late 90s, the NRA brought out some kind of document which basically proposed building dual carraige ways connecting various cities and towns in Ireland. These were based on various projections of traffic growth and so forth.

However the construction industry requested that they 'review' the document and when they were finished with it, they changed the recommendation from building dual carraige ways to building a whole series of brand new motorways. This was the plan that was then adopted by the FF/PD government.

We should recall that the FF manifesto, a number of years back famously had over 40 pages of adverts in it, most of which were from the building industry.

It would seem the new technique to contributing funds to FF is to by expensive ads.

But to get back to the main point, building a motorway uses more land than a dual carraige way and also costs more. No surprise there, then that the construction industry recommend them. Also many of the dual carraige ways could have been built over or as part of existing roads.

The amount of traffic a motorway can carry is significantly higher than a dual carraige way. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think a motorway would be for around 80,000 cars per day. Another point is that the capital costs should be spread out in terms of this kind of usage over 20 years.

There is no way that traffic levels will ever reach these levels on anything but a handfull of the ALREADY existing motorways in Ireland.

Therefore as suggested above, widening of the existing road around Tullamore is completely justified and the building of a mtorway for this area is a complete white elephant designed to line the pockets of the relevant construction firms with obvious kick backs to various politicians and other vested interests.

A further point, but one which has got almost zero publicity in Ireland is the issue of Peakl Oil. That is the global production of cheap, easy accessible oil, has more or less reached it's half way mark, as of now, like this year and next. After that oil will get progressively more expensive, because the number of fields is smaller, the fields themselves are smaller, the quality of oil is lower, the costs to extract will rise dramatically. Crucially and perhaps the main point is that the amount of energy to extract a barrel of oil will rise dramatically.

Currently a significant fraction of the 82 million barrels of oil used per day, come from the largest 200 oil fields in the world. Many of these fields have been producing for years, and a number are in decline and others are due to decline. Almost no major oil fields (of this category) have been found in the past few years. In fact oil discovery peaked in the mid to late 60s, and all that new technology has only gone to help to get the oil out faster. Indeed the world's largest oil field Ghwar in Saudi Arabia which has been producing for over 60 years is very likely to rapidly decline in the next year or two. It currently produces 4.5 million barrels per day.

Anyway the bottom line is that if you were to plot the oil consumption in Ireland and the number of cars, they would both rise rapidly over the past 40+ years to what I reckon is the current peak this year or next. After that oil consumption will have to start falling, because they ain't as much as this good stuff about, and MOST IMPORTANTLY IN REGARD TO MOTORWAYS and the TRAFFIC LEVELS and FORECAST to justify them, the number of cars will fall! Thus the powers that be will destroy our hertitage here and in Tara Valley too, only to see it turn into a moment of greed and stupidity in just a few years time.

The models for traffic growth used take no account whatsoever of this issue. Economists as a rule, who tend to know close to zero about anything scientific and for the oil issue, anything about geolgy, think if oil runs out, the magic free market will create it out of thin air. This isn't going to happen. In the USA, the so-called hydrogen economy has been promoted by non-other than Bush and co. This is a distraction to designed to stop the public and wider society from panic. Hydrogen is NOT a source of fuel (on Earth at least). It has to be produced and it takes energy to produce it. There is no free hydrogen to speak of on the Earth. If you use electricity to split water to create hydrogen and then burn the hydrogen, you don't get as much energy back. So the total amount of energy used would be greater, since you would be running those power stations on any of oil, gas, coal, nuclear, hydro or wind. It's not going to happen folks.

Oh, and one other thing, all those estimates of reserves of cheap, useable oil are pretty suspect. They are a bit like some of the stock values a few years ago, -over exaggerated.

Some references:
The End of Cheap Oil by Clin Campbell

Political Reserves: Background and Demonstration

ASPO Newsletter(s)

Matts Simmons (world leading energy consultant in oil services industry) Speechs & Lectures

Some stuff about Ghwar

Save Tara Valley

Related Link: http://www.oilcrisis.com/
author by john paulpublication date Tue Nov 09, 2004 17:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

as its the road connecting cork city with limerick and whilst the road is fine out to mallow on the cork side and to some point in linerick from the limerick city side in between the road is pretty poor so this construction is essential .

author by Francpublication date Tue Nov 09, 2004 18:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If they're putting a new road from Cork to Limerick through Tullamore, this only supports what Terry's saying.

author by Terrypublication date Tue Nov 09, 2004 19:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

First off, Tullamore is NOT between Limerick and Cork, it is between Dublin and Galway, east of Athlone and about 10 miles south of Kilbeggan

But, lets suppose it was where you think it is. What is the level of traffic between Limerick and Cork? I would be surprised if it is even close to 15,000 cars a day.

The point I am making is that a motorway, generally has a capacity of anything from 50,000 up to 80,000 cars per day. There is no point building a road to take 50,000 cars a day, if traffic growth rates never even reach 20,000. It would then be wise to look at the existing road and perhaps widen it if there is a problem. And it would be a lot cheaper and less damaging. That is the point I am making and it applies all over.

author by Terrypublication date Tue Nov 09, 2004 20:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have now found the name of the study referred to above that got changed. It's called the National Road Needs Study.

Here's an extract of what an article from the Irish Times says on Apr 18 2002 titled: Infrastructure must pay its way
The road budget problems were compounded when the Road Needs Study was discarded in favour of a more expensive motorway system linking the main cities with Dublin. A motorway has a capacity of 55,000 vehicles a day.

By building a motorway between Cahir and Mitchelstown you create 55,000 spaces a day in addition to the 20,000 on the present alignment. This is almost four times the 2019 predicted volumes on the route. It is 14 times the traffic count of 5,463 vehicles a day south of Cahir in the 1999 traffic-counting programme.

In The Irish Times on April 4th, Senator John Dardis raised the issue of the Waterford motorway. This has a capacity of 55,000 vehicles a day for a route with 1999 volumes as low as 2,879 at Gowran and 9,581 at Crookstown. A standard two-lane road costing €1.8 million per kilometre is sufficient for these traffic volumes and costs less than a third of the motorway cost of €5.7 million per kilometre.
URL http://www.ireland.com/focus/election_2002/boom/boom7.htm

So it would appear that motorways are being planned for traffic capacities that are in direct contradiction of the NRA's own traffic estimates, which no doubt are optimistic -what else would you expect from such a body?

So we can see from, that the reference to the rather low traffic figures for Waterford show that a full motorway is completely unjustified and therefore the destruction of the Waterford Woodstown archaeological site, that has been compared to Ireland's own Pompeii site, will be all in vain.

The Campaign For Sensible Transport seem to have covered many of the issues around uneccessary motorways and their website address is given below.

Related Link: http://homepage.tinet.ie/~camway/resource_centre/index.html
author by Christine Shanahan - Save Viking Waterford Action Grouppublication date Wed Nov 10, 2004 16:12author email save at vikingwaterford dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The stats for people travelling through Gowran are low because people choose to travel to Dublin via Kilkenny or the coast road via Gorey.
There is a point on the main road from Waterford to Dublin where the traffic stops for cattle crossing - twice a day - every day.

Waterford needs an improved route to Dublin and the second river crossing. (on the cards for over 30 years).
It just so happens that the "largest archaeological excavation" the state has ever considered undertaking, which is "of huge importance internationally", is in the way of a proposed feeder road.

Related Link: http://www.vikingwaterford.com
author by Terrypublication date Wed Nov 10, 2004 17:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

But are you saying because so people go a different route that a brand new motorway should be built to carry a massive number of cars per day or should the existing road be widened and thus very likely cause less damage to our heritage? The figure above for Gowran is 2,879. What figure are you suggesting. If it were double, say 5,500, I think that would only justify some widening and maybe a bypass of Gowran, maybe not. Seeing that a motorway kicks in at around 50,000+ cars per day, are you suggesting this?

This whole road building thing seems to be presented as when we need new roads, they must be motorways!

author by awfullypublication date Wed Nov 02, 2005 13:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the people of county Offaly still face the scourge of 10 year road development and infrastructural plans of the FF regime as outlined by minister Cullen yesterday. But they have remained silent on their local concerns perhaps associating the indymedia network and the potential it offers them to highlight their campaign priorities with certain fashionably coiffured "jackeen outreach" types in Dublin or indeed leftist exiles in Tijuana Mexico.

author by bardspublication date Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

were it not for the roads programme a lot of archeology would remain undescovered E.G Woodstown.. BTW Woodstown is on route of the Waterford City Bypass not part of the Motorway to Dublin.

Also the population of the SE is almost the same as Cork City & County combined. Therefore if a motorway between Dublin & Cork is Justified then a motorway through the whole Southe East is equally justified.

Once Infrastrstructure is in place a region/City is allowed to grow and business flourish. At the moment the SE is underperforming economically due to a lack of Infrastructure vis-a-vis other regions in this country.

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