The heritage organisation, An Taisce, is seeking permission from the High Court to challenge the construction of the M3 motorway, in legal action that could have implications for the State's entire road building programme.

An Taisce says the National Roads Authority has failed to comply with legislation obliging it to produce a draft plan for the construction and maintenance of the national roads system every five years.

Because of this, it says the procedure followed in relation to the M3 motorway between Clonee and Kells is completely flawed.

An Taisce described the building of the M3 as having very major consequences for a range of environmental issues, and it said it would have adverse effects on the national monument at the Hill of Tara.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly refused to grant permission for An Taisce's challenge without hearing from the NRA and the Minister for Transport, Martin Cullen.

He said negotiations are underway and may even be completed between the NRA and the contractor who is going to build the motorway.

Justice Kelly was not prepared to take the risk of jeopardising those negotiations without hearing from the NRA.

The case will come before the court again next Wednesday when the NRA and Minister Cullen will have the opportunity of making submissions.