RTÉ News has learned that the outgoing Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, has signed an order that will lead to a resumption of work on the M3 near Tara.

Mr Roche has decided that the new National Monument found at Lismullen should be preserved 'by record', in other words, studied in detail and then the motorway will be built as scheduled.

The order comes under the remit of the Minister for the Environment and does not require Cabinet approval.

It will be the first controversy to hit the new Government, as the Green Party has long held that the route of the M3 is wrong.

John Gormley of the Green Party has this evening been announced as the new Minister for the Environment. 

Vincent Salafia of TaraWatch said the group is appalled at the decision about the motorway, particularly given a new more environment friendly government is to take power.

He said he thought there would, at the very least, have been a re-assessment of the project before any decision was taken.

Mr Salafia said it was now certain that legal action would be taken against the project, which the new Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, would have to defend.