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PDs: The Political Wing of IBEC
Friday March 03, 2006 18:00 by Andrew McGrath - The Tara Foundation
The challenge currently under way in the High Court to the lunatic M3 motorway has brought out an important fact that the corporate media have, as is their wont with important facts, ignored:
that the present administration has done more to undermine heritage protection than any in the Republic's history.
On January 12th, Gerard Hogan S.C., argued that the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 2004 permits the Minister for the Environment to order the sale or destruction of any monument, heritage site or artefact in the country, if said Minister deems this to be "in the national interest", the definition of this term not being provided. This incredible amendment to previous National Monuments law was introduced as emergency legislation by the previous incumbent, Martin Cullen, now Transport Minister, in response to the Supreme Court decision in 2003 that, not only was the National Roads Authority's wish to destroy Carrickmines Castle illegal, but that Government has a Constitutional duty to safeguard heritage.
The contempt of the Minsiter for the highest court in the land, as expressed by his evisceration of the National Monuments legislation, is symptomatic of the PD-led administration's contempt for the constitution, or more precisely, their rage at the existence of a legal document with the temerity to presume that there are such things as basic rights and protections. It is also a sign of their contempt for the country and its history that they should see themselves entitled to act so openly.
The arrogation to the Minister's possession of all national monuments and heritage sites has been done with a distinct aim in mind: by removing all State monitoring of and guidelines for archaeological excavation, the Minister can now permit for-profit archaeological firms to work the necessary destruction, without repsonsibility for this destruction secruing to the State, or to the office and person of the Minister. Once the corporate media and other vocal interest groups have suceeded in normalising the transference from archaeology as research and preservation to archaeology as something old and useless that gets in the way of progress, the projuect canproceed, with expressions of triumphalist scorn from Cullen and Co. for old thinkers who stand in the way of the inevitable future.
The problem is that the M3, and the roads programme as a whole are simply an excuse for spending large amounts of money in a way that does not benefit those who actually have to pay for them. The M3 will enable drivers to reach the glut of traffic on the M50 in less time than before, but that is all. What is to be done about the increasing dependency on private ownership of petroleum-powered GM or Ford products and the non-existence of a public transport network in the country is, simply, not the administration's business. Their business is to create 'investment' opportunities for land speculators in the Boyne Valley and on any re-zoneable land in the 'Greater Dublin Area'. This is a logical step for IBEC's political wing the PDs, a party which no one elected to Government and enjoys 3% support, yet dictates Government policy and controls its major ministries.
But there are bigger games at work. One of the condidates for the M3 contract, Brown and root, formerly Kellogg, Brown and Root, is well known for its greatest cash-cow yet, the Dublin Prot Tunnel, perhaps the most appropriate symbol of expensive futility imaginable. Brown and Root is the construction subsidiary of teh Halliburton, a corporation that is less than popular in America owing to the investigations by the Pentagon and Congress into its practices, including allegations of massive fraud, bribery and insider trading.
But a friend in need is a friend indeed, and what better way to support ailing administrations to give them tax holidays and vastly expensive prestige projects like the Dublin Port Tunnel and the M3? And waht better way to make this possible than to clear waway a few inconvenient legislative obstacles?
Considering Minister McDowell's willingness to trample on the legal rights of Irish citizens and to sign defence 'agreement' with the US without bringing them before the Oireachtas, it seems that the IBEC administration's policy is to ignore the Constitution wherever possible until the great day dawns when it can be cast aside. and 'who will stand upright in the winds that would blow then?'