Shane Ross


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Archive for the ‘Westlink Bridge and M50’ Category

NTR has Made a Monkey of the Minister for Transport

The Minister, in a fiasco of a statement last week, announced that the plaza on the West Link toll bridge would be opened. Apparently, we were all meant to applaud but why should we do so?

It will only be opened in two years’ time. The significance of the date is that it will be on the other side of an election and the Government hopes, by reassuring people at the hustings this time next year that the plaza will be gone fairly soon, it will be able once again to make monkeys of the electorate. What will happen during those two years? Everybody knows that NTR will continue to milk motorists and the M50 will get worse. The Government will merely whisper sweet nothings in the ears of big business and say, “Do not worry, it will be all over in two years.” (more…)

Open the Gates: Government U-turns on the M50

Only a year ago the Taoiseach said the toll plaza would not be bought out, that the State could not afford it. It would be very useful to have a debate on that U-turn and why it happened. It would also be useful to look at the history of this contract. I will not give a history lesson but Fianna Fáil should stop rewriting history. It keeps saying it was a coalition Government that produced this contract but it was signed by two very well known people, Mr. Pádraig Flynn, who could not wait to sign it —and Mr. George Redmond who also could not wait to sign it. (more…)

Open the Gates: Westlink toll plaza to be abolished!

I’m delighted that the Government has decided to tackle the Westlink chaos, after a year of pressure from the Westlink Action Group. But plenty of problems remain. We need the barriers to be raised at peak times, and for buyout plans to be brought forward, so that motorists don’t wait another three years in Westlink traffic jams.

The Taoiseach himself has said that at times the M50 resembles a car park. Now that the Government has decided to act, the toll plaza needs to be removed as soon as possible. As founder of WAG, the Westlink Action Group, I will continue the campaign for motorists against the crazy delays on Dublin’s ring road.

There are lessons to be learnt from the Westlink fiasco. If the Government is determined to toll Irish motorists in order to deliver world class infrastructure, the tolling arrangements must be arranged to deliver value and accountability for the toll- and tax-paying public.

Open the Gates: Use the Nuclear Option

We need an urgent statement from the Minister for Transport about what is happening in respect of the M50. Talks have been taking place concerning the West Link toll plaza at a torturously slow pace between the National Roads Authority and National Toll Roads. NTR is dragging its feet and trying to delay matters as much as possible, at which it is being very successful.

We should also be aware that the original agreement ties the Government to an extraordinary degree. However, it contains an option of which the Government should now avail. This is referred to as the nuclear option by those in the transport world. The option is for tolls on the M50 to be set at zero. (more…)

Open the Gates: NTR and Government Share Bonanza

NTR and the State will share €1.5 billion of motorists money over the next fifteen years, according to a study by economists DKM. Hear my verdict on the report on RTE’s Morning Ireland here.

Open the Gates: NTR Announces More Congestion

NTR publish figures for the first half of 2005. Traffic is up nearly 4%, to an average of 98,000 vehicles on weekdays. New Eazy Pass lanes are opened on the Westlink, adding to congestion.

Open the Gates: WAG Meets Cullen

The Westlink Action Group met Minister for Transport, Martin Cullen on Tuesday 12 April. We put our arguments to Minister Cullen and pointed out that the Westlink problem is not going to go away. Cullen is shortly to receive a report from the NRA about the Westlink and we look forward to new developments when this is received.

Open the Gates: My Speech to the Seanad

Here is an edited version of my speech to the Seanad on 23 March
You can read the full debate, including Martin Cullen’s response, here

The lack of logic regarding the toll bridge plaza is staggering. If one goes out there at peak hours from Monday to Friday and stands on the southern side, when the majority of the traffic is going north, one can see miles of vehicles on one side of the gates and empty space on the other. A simple solution would be to open those gates to the traffic. National Toll Roads, NTR, and the Government have decided that this is not the optimum solution. (more…)

Open the Gates: Send a Message to Ahern, Cullen, Barry

Send your name and email address to (Enable Javascript to see the email address), and I will send this message on your behalf to Bertie Ahern, Taoiseach, Martin Cullen, Minister for Transport, and Jim Barry, Chief Executive of National Toll Roads:

Every day we motorists are forced to queue and are fleeced on Dublin’s West Link Toll Bridge. On 3 Jan the toll went up 20% to €1.80. I urge you to take immediate measures to remove the toll barriers, relieve traffic congestion and end this rip-off.

Over 5,000 protest messages sent. Keep spreading the word!

Please note we will record your email address solely in order to keep you updated on the Westlink campaign. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Open the Gates: Use the Upcoming By-Elections in Kildare and Meath

By-elections in Kildare and Meath announced for 11 March. Now is the time for maximum political pressure. Find a phone! See below for the number of your local representative and ask them to make their opposition to the West Link tolls clear to the Minister for Transport.

Here’s a list of TDs, Senators, MEPs, Councillors, and by-election candidates. Please ring them and ask them to state their opposition to the West Link tolls. (more…)