Under the Roads Act, 1993, the National Roads Authority has overall responsibility for the planning and supervision of works for the construction and maintenance of national roads. The Authority is obliged to arrange, as far as possible, for many of its functions, including project planning and design and the carrying out of construction and maintenance works, to be performed on its behalf by the relevant local authority.
In view of the trend towards larger project sizes, particularly under the current National Development Plan roads programme, which, in many cases, extend across more than one local authority functional area, the Authority, in co-operation with local authorities established a system of National Road Regional Design Offices, with offices now operating in eleven locations: Limerick, Kildare, Cork, Kerry, Waterford, Donegal, Galway, Mayo, Meath, Roscommon and Westmeath.
The Regional Design Office structure has proved to be an effective mechanism to deliver the national roads programme and has ensured a continuing central role for the local authorities concerned in relation to road scheme planning, applicable statutory procedures and construction.
The NRA plays a primary role in financing and managing the archaeological investigation and resolution of the on-site and post-excavation phases of road schemes.
In June 2000, a Code of Practice was agreed and launched between the National Roads Authority and The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and The Islands. The purpose of this Code is to provide a framework within existing legislation and policies to enable the National Roads Authority (NRA) to progress with its programme of work within the timescale of the National Development Plan 2000-2006, whilst having regard to a set of principles and actions agreed by both parties.
The NRA directly employs three archaeologists and is funding, through the local authorities, 13 Project Archaeologists and 8 Assistant Archaeologists. The role of the NRA archaeologist is to oversee and develop a consistency of approach to the procurement of archaeological services and archaeological investigation/ resolution/publication. The role of the Project Archaeologist is to manage the archaeological aspects of national road projects. This incorporates the pre-planning stages of road design to the on-site archaeological investigation and resolution phases, to the post-excavation and publication of the results.
Meath County Council is the primary unit of Local Government in County Meath and was established in 1899 following the enactment of the Local Government (Ireland) Act in 1898. In 1999 Local Government was for the first time given constitutional recognition. The Council consists of 29 members who are directly elected by the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote. Elections are held every 5 years.
The functions of the Council are classified into 8 programme groups, i.e. housing, transportation, water and sewerage, planning and development, environment, recreation and amenity, agriculture education welfare, and miscellaneous services. The Council also has powers of general competence to take action in the interests of the local community.
The National Roads Authority (NRA) was formally established as an independent statutory body under the Roads Act, 1993 with effect from 1 January, 1994. The NRA's road development programme forms part of the Government's overall strategy for the improvement of national infrastructure, which is contained in the NDP, 2000-2006.