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New National Monument Discovered at Baronstown, Tara

category national | environment | news report author Sunday March 12, 2006 13:57author by Chris - TaraWatchauthor email dotliath at gmail dot comauthor phone 087-776-5289 Report this post to the editors

TaraWatch demonstration 12.00pm Wednesday March 15th

* Update on campaign to save the Hill of Tara from the M3 motorway – 12 March 2006

A discrete national monument has been discovered in the pathway of the M3 motorway, during investigative archaeological excavations. It is entitled Baronstown 1, by the NRA, and lies just on the other side of the N3, between the hills of Tara and Skryne. It can be seen at: http://www.m3motorway.ie/Archaeology/Section2/Baronstown1/

A protest involving local and national activist groups is planned for 12.00PM, March 15th, at 'Baronstown 1', a newly discovered national monument in the pathway of the M3 motorway. Evidence regarding this site was not allowed to be presented in the High Court case, because Justice Smyth denied an application for cross-examination of expert witnesses.

Baronstown National Monument
Baronstown National Monument

Update on campaign to save the Hill of Tara from the M3 motorway – 12 March 2006


* Protest at Baronstown 1

A discrete national monument has been discovered in the pathway of the M3 motorway, during investigative archaeological excavations. It is entitled Baronstown 1, by the NRA, and lies just on the other side of the N3, between the hills of Tara and Skryne. It can be seen at: http://www.m3motorway.ie/Archaeology/Section2/Baronstown1/

A protest involving local and national activist groups is planned for 12.00PM, March 15th, at 'Baronstown 1', a newly discovered national monument in the pathway of the M3 motorway. Evidence regarding this site was not allowed to be presented in the High Court case, because Justice Smyth denied an application for cross-examination of expert witnesses.

Maps, photographs and archaeological and historical information about the site is available at http://www.tarawatch.org

The route of the M3 motorway was given approval by An Bord Pleanala in July 2003. During the course of building the motorway, which will stretch 60 km between Clonee and Kells, 38 new archaeological sites were found during investigative test-trenching in the stretch between Navan and Dunshaughlin. In May 2005 the Minister for the Environment gave directions under the National Monuments Act 2004, for the excavation and removal of these sites. That decision is being review in the courts.

Many of the new sites lie within or near the archaeological complex of monuments associated with the Hill of Tara, County Meath. This complex has been extensively researched by the Discovery Programme, an independent, but State-funded archaeological research unit, over the last decade.

TaraWatch maintain that all of these sites, with in the complex, are national monuments, because they are part of the larger national monument that is the archaeological complex of Tara. This complex is defined in relation to the upstanding defensive features that have stood for centuries around the Hill of Tara. To the east; sites on the Hill of Skryne. To the northeast; Rath Lugh. To the north; Rathmiles. To the northwest; the linear earthwork. To the west; Ringlestown Rath.

These man-made features, taken in conjunction with the natural features of the hills and valley in between create a clearly defined sanctuary within, which is a national monument. This is similar to Glendalough National Monument, which encompasses lakes, a valley and numerous archaeological features, taken as a whole.

Baronstown is a national monument, even aside from its association with tara, because of the spectacular features that lies above and below ground. Its proximity to tara and Skryne only adds to its intrinsic value.

* New Web site - tarawatch.org

TaraWatch is pleased to announce the launch of its new web site at http://www.tarawatch.org The site is a WordPress blog, which allows anyone to read and post information, images and so on, in an effective and dynamic manner.

The Hill of Tara issue has trundled on now for about 6 years, with no satisfactory end in sight. Over the years various groups have come and gone in efforts to lobby the Government to alter the route of the M3 away from Tara.

TaraWatch has been set up to amalgamate and refocus the campaign to save Tara. We are co-ordinating efforts between activist campaigns, locally, nationally and internationally and are working closely with local residents groups in County Meath.

* Legal Action / moratorium

The litigant in the High Court case on Tara and the M3, Vincent Salafia, is working closely with TaraWatch to ensure that legal and activist approaches, though independent of each other, work in synch. Site monitoring and local information is being relayed to the legal team.

TaraWatch is requesting all campaigning groups and individuals to refrain from making statements or taking any public action with regards to Baronstown before the costs hearing in the High Court case on March 14th. We are very conscious of the need not to cause any allegation of contempt of court to be made against Mr. Salafia, or to prejudice his case in any way. We ware asking the media to also respect this moratorium.

After March 14th, it is likely that the issue will remain before the courts for some time, and TaraWatch is designed to provide accurate information to the media, regarding the legal situation and the campaign to save Tara.

We are also organising a fundraising dinner at Drimnagh Castle, March 24th, to support his litigation fund. Please contact Chris Murray at dotliath-at-gmail.com for more information.

* Online Activism Can Save Tara

TaraWatch is using online activism as a means of attaining critical mass, and restoring the democratic deficit on the Tara issue. The online activist mailing list already has 450 members. You can join at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hilloftara/.

While many groups have lobbied for Tara, and fair dues to them, none have been able to build up critical mass. With the issue reaching crisis point, the campaign has to be taken to a new level. Irish people throughout the world, and people in general, are appalled when they hear what is happening. The problem is getting the message out. TaraWatch enables anyone, anywhere, to take action now, by:

- Signing an online petition. http://www.petitiononline.com/hilltara/ (19,000 signatures)
- Sending letters to newspapers. Instructions at: http://www.hilloftara.info
- Writing to politicians. Instructions at: http://www.hilloftara.info
- Promoting the web sites and petition above, by sending mails and adding sites to engines and directories.
- Joining the Discussion group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hilloftara/.
- Signing up to attend events when informed http://groups.yahoo.com/group/litigation
- Editing web sites like TaraWatch, which is a blog. Please add your views, images and so on.
- Spreading the word
- Displaying the Save Tara logo http://www.hilloftara.info/images/tarabutton.gif
- Donating to the litigation fund, so a professional and effective case can be completed.

* Democratic deficit.

Despite the fact that a national survey last year showed that over 70% of Irish people survey, wanted the route of the M3 changed, the Irish authorities have dug in their heels, and are pushing ahead in the courts and on the ground. Details of the survey can be found at http://www.hilloftara.info/downloads.html

Instead of listening to unequivocal public, professional and scientific opinion, the Irish authorities are pressing ahead with the excavations at Tara and preparations for the M3 motorway. They have abdicated their responsibility and transferred the difficult decision-making on the controversy to the Irish courts, under pressure from small but powerful commercial interests such as, IBEC, http://www.ibec.ie the Construction Industry Federation, http://www.cif.ie Meath Chambers of Commerce and private tolls companies, who are bidding on this and other motorway projects in Ireland.

* On the ground.

Excavations are proceeding on the 38 sites found between Navan and Dunshaughlin. The National Roads Authority has a web site http://www.m3motorway.ie showing the sites being excavated. They expect to be finished some time this year. Then road construction will begin. Four consortia are in the bidding for the construction contract, with a preferred bidder having been chosen. Meanwhile, land around the massive 52 acre interchange planned for Blundelstown, 1,000 metres from the tip of the Hill, is being bought up.

The Tara Management Plan, http://www.friendsoftara.com/position.asp for a visitor center at Tara has been drawn up, but has not been released to the public. We need people on the ground in Meath to keep an eye on what is happening there, and to help organize events locally.

* Media

In the media, the plan has received worldwide attention.
Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/20....html
Associated Press, http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/20050511-1408-....html
International Herald Tribune, http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/05/11/news/travel12.php
New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com (subscription)
Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A27671-20....html
and even China News Daily have featured the story.

Stories are archived at http://www.hilloftara.blogspot.com/ and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/taralitigation/

* Issues at stake

Tara has become a global beacon in the struggle with modernity, and incorporates many civil rights issues:

1. Sovereignty – What is the duty of the State to protect the national cultural and environmental assets, owned by the people of Ireland?

2. Citizenship. Does citizenship entitle you to take a legal action to protect the national cultural or environmental assets? Does it place an active duty on you to take legal or some other action to protect these assets against abuse by the State and private developers?

3. Privatisation – Are privately run toll roads an economically sound idea, or is it a way of keeping certain small interests very happy? Is it ethical for the Government to take land from a private citizen, at below market value, and hand it over to a toll company who will reap huge profits from it? Is rezoning land for huge profits anti-democratic?

4. Global warming. More roads means more cars. Is the current policy of massive investment in private roads, and little or none in public transport going to lead to a more and more car-dependent State, and possible economic ruin when the oil runs out?

5. Cultural identity. What does it mean to be Irish? Who are we? What are our symbols? What is sacred to us? Do we care? The same isues are being faced by peoples and nations worldwide.

6. Right to the Environment. The European Convention on Human Rights has been interpreted to recognize ‘environmental rights’. Do these apply to our right to enjoy Tara?

7. Public consultation. The EU Environmental Impact Assessment directives, and the theories of sustainable development, require public consultation during the planning of national infrastructure projects. An Bord Pleanala has ben holding oral hearings, but many who participate in these hearings feel they are a sham, and that the authorities are only going through the motions, and the Bord is only rubberstamping projects because they are in the ‘national interest’.

8. Draconian legislation. Every year more and more laws are being passed which limit citizens rights and increase Government powers, particularly in the area of environmental law. On the other hand, Ireland has the worst environmental record in the EU and the slowest rate of incorporation of EU legislation, such as the overdue AARHUS agreement. In the case of Tara, the Landscape Convention would have made a big difference, but we are not signed up to that either.

- The Planning and Development Act 200 limited judicial review of an An Bord Pleanala decision to those who made submissions. http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/ZZA30Y2000.html

- The National Monuments Act 2004 greatly increased the powers of the Minister for the Environment and decreased protections for monuments. It was basically drafted by the National Roads Authority, in response to the Carrickmines Castle cases. http://www.environ.ie/DOEI/DOEIPol.nsf/wvNavView/Nation...Lang=

- Strategic Infrastructure Bill 2006 has just been published and will be making its way through the Oireachtas in the coming weeks. It severely limits the ability of a citizen to challenge a national infrastructure project in the courts, by limiting judicial review to certain types of groups. It also does away with getting planning permission from local authorities. Download a copy of the draft bill http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=4946

- A new National Monuments Act is currently being drafted by the NRA and the Department of the Environment

9. Waste of public money. The National Roads Authority has overspent by three times the amount of money estimated to complete the National Roads Programme under the National Development Plan 2000-2006. It has gone from 6 billion to 18 billion and they are way behind delivery time too. It has been described as the biggest waste of taxpayers money in the history of the State. Se RTE Prime Time’s ‘The Money Pit’ http://www.rte.ie/news/2005/0509/primetime.html

10. Corruption. Many people are smelling rats all along the pathway of the M3, but nobody has been able to catch one yet. There was a flurry during the by-electin last year when the Fianna Fail candidate stepped down because it had reached the papers that he had bought land in Meath with Frank Dunlop, former press secretary of Fianna Fail, who has been a star witness in the Planning Tribunal. See RTE ‘Riley Withdraws from Election’ http://www.rte.ie/news/2005/0131/byelection.html

* Public opposition thus far

The purpose of TaraWatch is to harness all those who oppose the current plan, and reach all those who still don’t know about it or haven’t been given an opportunity to express their opinion.

So far there has been significant opposition to the plan. The M3 motorway’s route through the Hill of Tara’s archaeological complex has been publicly opposed by:

- 70% of Irish people who voted in a national survey by Red C Research, the results of which were reported in The Irish Times. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/taralitigation/message/1 Download the survey at http://www.hilloftara.info/downloads.html
- The Director of the National Museum of Ireland, Mr. Pat Wallace. http://www.rte.ie/news/2005/0512/m3.html
- The Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland (RSAI). http://www.rsai.ie/index.cfm?action=obj.display&obj_id=93
- The Heritage Council. http://www.heritagecouncil.ie/news/M3_hill_of_tara.html
- The Discovery Programme, Ireland’s State archaeological research unit. http://www.discoveryprogramme.ie/controller?action=grou...id=55
- Top experts on Tara, Dr. Edel Bhreatnach, Conor Newman and Joe Fenwick http://www.nuigalway.ie/faculties_departments/archaeolo....html
- Sean Haughey, T.D., Chairman of the Environment Committee. http://www.unison.ie/classifieds/property/planning/stor...07934
- The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA). http://www.archaeology.org/online/news/tara.html
- The European Association of Archaeologists (EAA). http://www.e-a-a.org/
- The Landmarks Trust, New York.
- Members of all Opposition parties in the Oireachtas and Meath County Council: Fine Gael, Sinn Fein, Labour, Green Party, Socialist Party, as well as many Independent members like Senators Maurice Hayes, David Norris, Shane Ross, Joe O’Toole, and current Chairman of Meath County Council Brian Fitzgerald.
- Mr. John Bruton, Irish Ambassador the United States, and former Taoisaeach of Ireland and County Meath TD.
- The Meath Archaeological and Historical Society.
- The Ancient Order of Hibernians, and many other Irish organizations worldwide.
- Writers of Opinion/Editorial in newspapers like The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Sunday Tribune, The Sunday Independent, The Sunday Times and The Meath Chronicle.
- Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend.
- Hundreds of academics worldwide who signed a petition.
- Thousands of people worldwide who signed an online petition.
- Thousands of people who have protested publicly, such as at the march through Dublin city center in March 2004
- Thousands of people who made written objections to the Minister for the Environment, the Environment Committee and Transport Committee.

* In the courts

The case of Vincent Salafia –v- The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government; Ireland; The Attorney General; Meath County Council and the National Roads Authority

The costs hearing in this case will be held Tuesday March 14th in the High Court, before Justice Thomas Smyth. The case was dismissed on March 1 2006. Mr. Salafia had argued that the Directions of the Minister, under the National Monuments Act 2004 were illegal; the Act was unconstitutional; the motorway passes through the Hill of Tara national monument or complex of monuments; and that newly discovered sites required that work stop, and a new route be found. The case may be appealed to the Supreme Court. A case is bring prepared for the EU, now that the Irish courts have spoken.

Massive resources are being thrown into media spin and the legal case. The NRA has invested in a glossy booklet booklet, http://www.m3motorway.ie/Publications/ full-page newspaper advertisements, and animated videos, and well as creating scholarships to bribe academics. http://www.ucd.ie/news/mar06/030206_newman_scholars.htm Over 20 lawyers on three legal teams opposed the latest action, and costs are estimated to be around 500,000 for the High Court action alone. TaraWatch is the only group supporting and fundraising for litigation. A fundraising dinner is planned for Drimnagh Castle March 24, to support the legal fund. http://www.hilloftara.info

Other events are also being planned.


TaraWatch http://www.tarawatch.org
Hill of Tara litigation http://www.hilloftara.info
General information and links on the Tara issue: http://www.hilloftara.blogspot.com
Online Petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/hilltara/petition.html
News archive and mailing list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/taralitigation/
Online Activism mailing list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hilloftara


Please contact Chris Murray - 7 Kenliworth Square, Rathmines, Dublin 6
087-776-5289 dotliath@gmail.com

Related Link: http://www.tarawatch.org



author by c murray - Tarawatchpublication date Mon Mar 13, 2006 14:54author email dotliath at gmail dot comauthor address n/aauthor phone 0877765289Report this post to the editors

Went to Commissioners of Public Works this am, to get public domain info. I was escorted out of the building, most politely and told that the filing system is not completed for 05 digs, that the Dept of Environment has not consolidated its systems since the break up of Duchas in 2003. The public domain in this case is non-operational. I have one last contact to get the reports and am waiting to see if they reflect the phots of the methodology that we witnessed and photographed @ the site.

Related Link: http://www.hilloftara.info
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