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EU petition committee visits Tara and Lismullin

category international | miscellaneous | news report author Wednesday June 27, 2007 22:16author by Muireann Ni Bhrolchain - Campaign to Save Taraauthor email muireann at savetara dot com Report this post to the editors

Wednesday 27th June 2007

Members of the EU petitions committee today visited the Hill of Tara and the new National Monument at Lismullin along with petitioners who had made submission.

Julitta Clancy informing the committee
Julitta Clancy informing the committee

This morning the Minister for the Environment John Gormley put together a committee to look at the new monument at Lismullin and nominated Conor Newman as one of the members along with Pat Wallace, head of the National Museum.
This afternoon, the EU petitions committee visited the Hill of Tara and Lismullin. The press release below will probably explain most of what happened but just to say that the petitioners, Julitta and Brian, along with Conor were given a very sympathetic by the various members - especially by the chairman who had a deep interest and concern for the topic and the area.
They first went to Tara and the mound of the hostages and then across to Lismullin where they looked at the henge from a distance. The area is water-logged and the advice was that it was best not to walk on it at all.
We saw the new souterrain as well and photographs of all this will be seen with this article.
I would like to thank Brian Guckian and another campaign supporter for working relentlessly for the past two weeks to bring this visit about. It was hammered home to the visitors that the EIA requirement about looking at alternatives such as rail was breached and that this a very serious flaw in the process.

PRESS RELEASE - CAMPAIGN TO SAVE TARA

EU PETITIONS COMMITTEE VISIT TARA AND LISMULLIN

On Wednesday 27th June EU Petitions Committee visited Tara and the new National Monument at Lismullin in Co Meath to view the proposed route of the M3 motorway that has caused such huge controversy in Ireland and abroad.

The delegation was led by the Polish MEP Marcin Libicki and other visitors included members from England and Rumania as well as the Irish MEPs Kathy Sinnott, Vice-chair of the committee, Mairead McGuinness and Proinsias de Rossa.

The committee met two of those who had sent petitions to them - Brian Guckian an independent transport researcher and Julitta Clancy of the Meath Archaeological and Historical Society who has been active in the campaign against the chosen route for many years. Both made presentations to the committee chairman on the Hill. Members of the NRA and their archaeologists were also present.

The committee also met members of the Campaign to Save Tara and the archaeologist Conor Newman, world expert on Tara and chairman of the committee named by the Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, to examine the new National Monument at Lismullin.

A number of petitions have been lodged with the EU citing breaches of EU Directives in relation to this project. The members were given briefing documents by the Campaign to Save Tara on the importance Tara’s Gabhra Valley.

Brian Guckian said: “My petition to the committee is based on the fact that the planning process ignored other transport options when deciding on the motorway in breach of the EU Directive on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The rail option was never properly considered and other alternatives can still be applies. We must seek EU intervention to save the Gabhra Valley given that our own Government and Taoiseach have failed to acknowledge its significance and have in fact been undermining our membership of the EU through our negligent treatment of our environment, heritage and culture.”

Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin said: “We appreciate that John Gormley is taking an interest in Tara and now that he has a ministerial position we expect that he will take a very proactive role. It is hoped that the EU petitions committee who visited the national monument of Lismullin support the view that the whole Valley is an archaeological complex of inter-related sites and should never have been chosen for the location of a motorway.”

Julitta Clancy on behalf of MAHS said: “I have outlined to the committee the whole history of the project for Meath. Six major routes were put forward by Meath County Council at the route consultation stage, five went through Tara’s landscape and only one was recommended by their own archaeologist – this was never investigated. I questioned the integrity of the planning process and the absence of a meaningful public participation as laid down by EU Directives on Environmental Impact Assessment.”
Julitta Clancy also referred to the pioneering work of the Discovery Programme that clearly identified the unique cultural landscape of Tara’s Gabhra Valley and thanked the committee for taking the time to hear petitions and pointed out that the road can be progressed as planned and that this short section must now be reconsidered by a committee of experts.

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com

Committee and the petitioners and Campaign to Save Tara
Committee and the petitioners and Campaign to Save Tara

The chairman of the committee and Kathy Sinnott
The chairman of the committee and Kathy Sinnott

At the mound of the hostages
At the mound of the hostages

NRA people looking at the Valley - their backs to the committee members
NRA people looking at the Valley - their backs to the committee members

author by Muireann Ni Bhrolchain - Campaign to Save Tara publication date Wed Jun 27, 2007 22:25Report this post to the editors

Then the convoy moved to Lismullin where the NRA archaeologist explained the finding of the henge.
Some members also went to look at the new souterrain as well.
The weather cleared up in the afternoon and the views from Tara were stunning - the Valley was quiet and peaceful. The protesters had stopped work this morning.
The beauty of the area was undeniable.

Visiting the Lismullin site
Visiting the Lismullin site

Archaeologists explaining the henge
Archaeologists explaining the henge

The henge and Rath Lugh today
The henge and Rath Lugh today

Entrance to souterrain
Entrance to souterrain

Another view of souterrain
Another view of souterrain

author by Muireann Ni Bhrolchain - Campaign to Save Tara publication date Wed Jun 27, 2007 22:44Report this post to the editors

Souterrains and then to Skryne with Mairead Mc Guinness

Entrance to souterrain
Entrance to souterrain

Souterrain again
Souterrain again

Mairead Mc Guinness at Skryne
Mairead Mc Guinness at Skryne

author by Colm Ó Broinpublication date Thu Jun 28, 2007 10:11Report this post to the editors

Below is a link to a new petition to have Meath renamed ‘The Motorway County’ (instead of the present ‘Royal County’) if the M3 is built next to the Hill of Tara.

http://www.petitiononline.com/teamhair/petition.html

author by Viewpublication date Thu Jun 28, 2007 11:41Report this post to the editors

If you stand at the wall of Skyrne church you can see the swathe that the Government
proposed to bisect the Valley. The bisection occurs between the two Churches at
Tara and Skyrne. You could also see (a few months ago) the undisturbed valley,
which was as it should be.
I do not say Dick Roche alone because Martin Cullen started the process through
abolishing Duchas and the Taoiseach, (who thinks he is very clever appointing a green
to the issue) with the Support of the FF/PD's sat in the Dail and allowed a series of
planning legislations including the Strategic Infrastructure Bill to pass into Law.
These Bills have only ameliorated the position of the developers and the corrupt
politicians. The S.I.B is still on the statute and it allows for such niceties as GM
and Nuclear Power. There is still no Statutory agency in Ireland to protect for future
generations both our natural and Built heritage. it is nice to see that Conor Newman
has been appointed to oversee Lismullin, it is welcome but this government must
ensure that rapacious greed is replaced by a willingness to preserve our heritage
which is a vast storehouse of knowledge for future generations.

To show seriousness in addressing issues there should be Heritage Legislation.
The full Aarhus Convention must be transposed into Irish law, this does
not mean sections of it as part of a planning bill and the SIB needs to be repealed.
ireland is not a treasur trove for the openly corrupt and their slimy friends.

author by The Insiderpublication date Thu Jun 28, 2007 12:51Report this post to the editors

....I think if all other avenues are exhausted people should consider sabotage of the machinery used to build this road. No violence against people, just machines.

author by anthony blairpublication date Thu Jun 28, 2007 13:12Report this post to the editors

I can't wait until the road is built and I'll be able to drive by and look at the lovely view.

author by W. Finnerty.publication date Thu Jun 28, 2007 13:29Report this post to the editors

I agree with idea expressed above (at Thu Jun 28, 2007 11:41) that the Aarhus Convention Agreement VERY badly needs to be implemented (in full) - if all the outrageous corruption is ever to be brought under control.

I, for one, have made numerous efforts to try and remind politicians of the Constitutional requirement contained in Article 29.5.1 of Bunreacht na hEireann, which clearly states: "Every international agreement to which the State becomes a party shall be laid before Dail Eireann".

Please see the e-mail titled "National Monument (Amendment) Bill 2004, & The Aarhus Convention Agreement ???" among the set of e-mails reproduced at http://www.finnachta.com/ComplaintToMedia.htm - which was sent to both Minister Cullen TD and Prime Minister Ahern TD on Friday, June 25, 2004.

The thanks I got for my efforts: an attempt, which is ongoing, to corruptly criminalise me.

Three years and endless environmental problems later, Prime Minister Ahern & Co. continue to brazenly and unlawfully violate the Constitution regarding the Aarhus Convention Agreement issue; and, not only do they get away with doing so, they even manage to get re-elected back into power.

It seems to me that our new Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government (John Gormley TD) is now in just the right position to bring to an end all the political, legal and corporate corruption relating to the way the United Nations Aarhus Convention Agreement has been handled by the Republic of Ireland since they signed up for it in 1998.

But will John Gormley do so? - or will he and the Green Party just go along with all the corruption in the "business as usual" style of Prime Minister Ahern TD and his Fiana Fail Party?

We'll all know soon enough I imagine which way it's going to be regarding the new GP/FF arrangement, and the path (lawful or corruptly unlawful) whis this new political combination decides to follow.

Related Link: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Aarhus%2C+Finnerty...earch
author by paul o toolepublication date Thu Jun 28, 2007 14:44Report this post to the editors

The government offered eight different routes, all basically superimposing each other which is no choice at all.
The road proposed by people concerned about saving Tara went arround the other side of the hill, one route, avoiding the valley completely. A shorter route, A cheaper route(60 million cheaper). A more sensible route where all the needs of the commuters, locals, and people concerned for the loss of the oldest man made heritage monument on the planet could be met.

The problem:
1. There is a huge tract of land purchased by developers just north of Tara for development into an industrial estate.
2. The land that the road is supposed to be built on has been purchased by developers (presently being investigated by the planning tribunal) and a certain Ministers family 12 years ago-two years before the 'planned' route went for planning permission.
3. If the shorter/cheaper/logical route went in, the developers would not have benefitted from their early purchase of the land.

The Crime(s)
1 The purchase of land with prior knoweledge of a request for planning.in any other durastiction this would be called insider trading and summonses would ensue
2. Allowing planning to go ahead in spite of the obvious profiteering.
3. The failure of certain politicians and officials to inform the public fully on all of the issues pertaining to the planning order and their wilful dismissal of evidence pertaining to the presence of archaelogical artifacts under the land of the route.
4. The reckless and wilful disregard for a fair process in planning.
5. The failure of government to act in the best interest of the people.
6. The destructiuon of an invalueable world renouned ancient (6,500 years old)site with global significance.
7. Spending taxpayers money to profit the wealthiest sector of society.

...A toll booth will probably be put on this stretch of road...ant taxpayers who paid for the construction, will pay again for the road 30 times over by the time the toll booth contract runs out...just like the M50 and the east link. ...
..We will all pay for the loss of this celtic city. and all future generations will condem us for its destruction....and so they should.

author by cheebapublication date Thu Jun 28, 2007 17:32Report this post to the editors

In addition to the above post which outlines the profiteering/corruption aspects of route selection, there is also the motivation of the need to maintain and increse traffic volumes.
The present proposed route scored least well in the overwhelming majority of selection criteria - archaeology, disruption, cost, lenght, enviroment etc. It did however score very highly in term of maintaining and increseing traffic volumes. This is critical when the nature of the PPP contract and in particular, the tolling of the proposed road, comes into play.
More traffic=More profits
Moving the road further away from the existing N3 would mean that many of those living in existing ribbon developments among the southern perimiters of Navan would not be inclined to take the toll-road, they would instead take the existing N3. (If anyone is wondering, existing National routes cannot be retrospectively tolled, so this was not an option.)
This need to maintain and increse traffic volumes is also the sub-text to the refusal to re-open the Navan rail connection and extend it to Kells and Cavan. In fact, the proposed route, quite deliberatly, bisects the old rail alignment north of Navan. This make any future reinstatement of this existing but disused line extremely unlikely.
Now that the Greens are in power how does this blatent engineering of incresed car-dependency sit with the party?

author by Tadhg Crowleypublication date Thu Jun 28, 2007 18:58Report this post to the editors

The previous post by Cheeba is completely correct they engineered the route for maximum traffic growth, but in the first instance they also engineered the "need" for a motorway.
By completely neglecting both the economy and transport infrastructure of Meath for decades, they precipitated an extreme situation where the people had no other choice and would be begging for a motorway as their only option for so-called "economic growth" and transport infrastructure.
This is always the way "motorways" are never necessary and their justification can only be created, where there are No other transport alternatives.

Just to clarify the EU Petitions Committee is a committee of MEPs setup to review and investigate very specific complaints from the European public re. implementations of EU law. These complaints are known as "Petitions".

The EIA directives which the M3 and other road projects breach are:
Article 5(3): "an outline of the main alternatives studied by the developer and an
indication of the main reasons for his choice, taking into account the environmental effects,"
The scoping guidelines suggest that thes alternatives should include:
"different strategies e.g. to manage demand or reduce losses rather than develop
a new resource", Alternative Processes or technologies and alternative Design of structures

and Article 10(a) :
"Member States shall ensure that, in accordance with the relevant national legal system, members of the public concerned have access to a review procedure before a court of law or another independent and impartial body established by law to challenge the substantive or procedural legality of decisions, acts or omissions subject to the public participationprovision s of this Directive."
"Any such procedure shall be fair, equitable, timely and not prohibitively
expensive."

In other words access to justice at reasonable cost which is definitely not the case in this country.

author by W. Finnerty.publication date Thu Jun 28, 2007 19:57Report this post to the editors

The full Petition regarding the M3 (Clonee to Kells) Motorway and its impact on the Tara Landscape is pages long in fact, and can be viewed at http://www.europeancourtofhumanrightswilliamfinnerty.co...t.htm .

I find it very interesting that it was made on 1 June 2005 - well over two years ago now.

Why the long unexplained delay in processing it I wonder?

Also, a reminder about this particular Petition was sent to several senior public officials on February 23rd 2007 - which, as far as I can remember, was well before some very important looking sites in the Hill of Tara area were totally destroyed.

For anybody interested a copy of the February 23rd 2007 e-mail reminder, which also contains information relating to rampant corruption in the European Union, can be seen at http://www.europeancourtofhumanrightswilliamfinnerty.co...l.htm .

No matter which way you turn, it seems guaranteed that you will very quickly run into major problems relating to corruption.

Related Link: http://www.europeancourtofhumanrightswilliamfinnerty.com
author by Connivancepublication date Thu Jun 28, 2007 20:05Report this post to the editors



He used the offices of the State to advance Laws that are designed wholly and regrettably to
enrich a certain section of our society, in so doing he managed to devastate a large section of
our archaeological heritage and to abuse his office. He really should be facing criminal
charges, this does not explain his demotion, however, unless it was a pre-emptive
one because the FF party have used the Government corruptly and destroyed heritage
for profit- something which has never before happened to Tara.
[not even the criminals Liam Lawlor and Ray Burke were so Flamboyant about their
abuses, this sorry episode in FF gombeenism will go down in the annals of history
as vandalism of our knowlege of our cultural roots]

author by Siobhan - TaraWatchpublication date Thu Jun 28, 2007 21:45Report this post to the editors

In my mind, the real root of the land corruption starts with Noel Dempsey who was minister of the Enviornment at the time when this was planned.

His brother Loman is partners with Raymond Potterton Estate Agent. They were involved in a co. called Eracase which has been in the spotlight in the past. Incedentially Mr Potterton is now an employee of the NRA on the board of directors courtesy of Dempsey.

It is no coincidence that Dempsey is now in charge of Transport, so that he can finish off his dispicable act of robbing the Irish People of their Heritage in order to satisfy his lust for money. They are all a disgrace.

Google Eracase for more info. If anyone has any further information regarding land deals could they please post it here. We need to expose these Frauds publicly. Thanks.

author by W. Finnerty.publication date Fri Jun 29, 2007 12:31Report this post to the editors

Siobhan (Thu Jun 28, 2007 21:45 above),

I strongly suspect you're right about Minister Noel Dempsey being a lead player in all the political, legal, and corporate corruption surrounding the Hill of Tara outrage, and other similar planning situations.

However, and allowing for the size of the overall problem, it can't (as far as I'm concerned) just be a question of "one or two rotten apples" in a barrel that's otherwise sound.

The whole barrel is rotten as far as I can judge, and it's the whole barrel that now needs to be turned out and carefully examined.

I still believe that one of the most efficient ways of doing that is for one or more of the groups involved with the protection of the Hill of Tara to run the "insidious" National Monuments (Amendment) Act 2004 before the Judicial Review process in the High Court. For further information on this suggestion please see the June 23rd posting at http://www.indymedia.ie/article/83044&comment_limit=0&c...98896 .

That way, I believe all of the main perpetrators of the despotic and despicable corruption in question, including the stuff you have mentioned above, would eventually be examined and publicly exposed; and, most important of all of course, the illegal and "God Like Power" (as I see it) of any ONE individual person like former Heritage Minister Roche to have important sites destroyed would be removed from everybody, and forever hopefully.

Though it is the The Hill of Tara which is in deep trouble just now, other important ancient heritage sites, such as the Hill of Turoe (Iron Age Capital of Ireland) in County Galway for example, will soon be next: unless something of real and lasting significance is done to right the wrong in the "insidious" National Monuments (Amendment) Act 2004.

Related Link: http://www.constitutionofireland.com
author by Siobhan - TaraWatchpublication date Fri Jun 29, 2007 12:56Report this post to the editors

I Agree with you on this. Thanks for your input. We will be looking into this at our next meeting. Thanks again.

author by Muireann Save Tara - Campaign to Save Tarapublication date Fri Jun 29, 2007 22:48Report this post to the editors

Can I suggest that people continue to write letters to the papers on the issue and the petitions and the committee is a good starting point for this.
Secondly people can get in touch with the Petition's Committee and support the two petitioners, Julitta Clancy and Brian Guckian.
The Irish MEPs can take no part in writing the report for the committee - just as well as the FF MEPs were against the visit. Why are we not surprised.

The Chairman can be contacted here
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/members/expert/committees...&id=2\
4087

and also contact Radu Podgorean - a Romanian MEP who will actually write
the report.
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/members/expert/committees...&id=3\
3985

Rath Lugh from the Lia Fáil
Rath Lugh from the Lia Fáil

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
author by 2nd link does not workpublication date Sat Jun 30, 2007 08:35Report this post to the editors

'no MEP matches your criteria'. (this message accompanies the 2nd link)

Maybe it can be checked out and replaced with the correct link. Thanks Muireann for the hard work
and the vigil who have worked tremendously hard bringing the works at Collierstown and
Baronstwon to the attention of the world.

author by Muireann - Campaign to Save Tarapublication date Sat Jun 30, 2007 18:19Report this post to the editors

Here is the link directly from the EU site where it lists the MEPs. Thanks for that and for the good wishes.
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/members/expert/alphaOrder...33985

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
author by Muireann Ni Bhrolchain - Campaign to Save Tara publication date Mon Jul 02, 2007 11:08Report this post to the editors

Great article in the Irish Times today - a head2head feature and the public can place their comments online here
http://www.ireland.com/head2head/
Good forum to put air your views

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
author by Conorpublication date Tue Jul 03, 2007 20:12Report this post to the editors

I dont really like the idea of a road being built over our heritage and history. Its doesnt make sense?? One of the reason tourists come to Ireland in the first place is to see all these heritage sites, not roads. Also the future of oil isn't looking too hopefully with supplies dwindling. Bio fuel wont solve the problem either because theres not enough land in the world to support the crops. So in the not so distant future we'll have no cars to drive these roads unless some new technology comes along which i seriously doubt. So would the best option not be to update old rail lines?? Better for the enviroment and the public in general...
But I suppose the government is short sighted and always looks for a quick fix...

author by W. Finnerty.publication date Sun Jul 08, 2007 15:37Report this post to the editors

Largely on account of what happened to "the site destroyed under cover of darkness" (i.e. the site at Baronstown, near the Hill of Tara destroyed at 4am on July 4th 2007), an e-mail was sent last Friday, July 6th 2007, to Marcin Libicki, Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Petitions.

As some will already know several Members of the EU petitions committee visited the Hill of Tara site on June 27th 2007, as can be seen from the photographs above.

Like many other people I imagine, I had hoped (and in fact believed) that the destruction of VERY important heritage sites in the Hill of Tara would stop as a result of the June 27th 2007 EU petitions committee visit to Tara.

Then this: "The documents make clear that Baronstown, the site destroyed under cover of darkness during the early hours of Tuesday morning, was considered a National Monument by Pat Wallace, the Director of the National Museum." (This piece of text has been taken from The Irish Times article at http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/breaking/2007/0706/bre...8.htm .)

In the hope that it might somehow help a little to protect what's left of the ancient sites in the area, Mr Libicki was also provided with additional information relating to the overall "Tara" situation, some of which he might not have been aware of.

A copy of the e-mail sent to Marcin Libicki MEP last Friday can be viewed at http://www.europeancourtofhumanrightswilliamfinnerty.co...l.htm .

As can be seen at the address just above, it was made clear to all addressees (which included several senior politicians and lawyers) that "for future reference purposes" a copy would be placed on the internet.

Finally, and in an effort to reflect what my lengthy research results all now strongly suggest, I titled last Friday's e-mail as follows:

"PPP Toll Road EU Petition 546/2005 (Hill of Tara) & "The Culture of Corruption"

Related Link: http://www.constitutionofireland.com
author by M. Ni Bhrolchain - Campaign to Save Tara publication date Wed Jul 11, 2007 16:35Report this post to the editors

-Press Release from Kathy Sinnott

Wednesday, 11 July 2007
Commission Sends Warning on Tara: All Work at Tara Must Stop!
In a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg today, Kathy
Sinnott, Independent MEP for Ireland South, stated that the European
Commission has sent a warning to the National Roads Authority in Ireland
concerning the planned demolition of the Lismullin National Monument
near the Hill of Tara.
The site, which was just discovered in 2007, is due to be demolished as
part of the continued roadwork for the new M3. However, on 29 June,
2007, the Commission sent a Reasoned Opinion (final warning) to the NRA
expressing doubts about the Irish National Monuments Act. This Opinion
follows-up a warning sent to Ireland over concerns that the effects of
demolition works are excluded from the scope of their implementation of
the Environment Impact Assessments Directive, the results of which are
largely determining the direction of the M3.
The Commission does not expect to hear back from Irish officials for at
least two months. "Because of this, I am calling for an "immediate
moratorium on M3 construction. We cannot allow for the continued
destruction of our historic and cultural landmarks when multiple viable
alternatives exist for transport through this area," said Mrs. Sinnott.
"I believe this moratorium is necessary primarily to sort out the status
of the various archaeological projects in the area," added Kathy, who as
Vice Chairwoman of the European Parliament Petitions Committee recently
brought a delegation of the Committee to Ireland so they could witness
first hand the destruction of the Hill.
There is now an added urgency for the moratorium with the destruction of
a significant historical location near Baronstown at 4 am on 4 July.
This site was considered by many to be as worthy of National Monument
status as Lismullin, but the process of moving the Baronstown site
towards this status was delayed, and ultimately rendered moot by its
destruction.
“It is clear that the Commission’s letter must be heeded and all works
stopped until the legal status of the Irish National Monuments Act is
established.”
-ENDS-
For further information, questions, comments or interview, please
contact Kathy on: +353 87 2786 552 (mobile), +32 228 47692 (Brussels
office) or +353 21 4888 793 (Cork office)
Note to Editor
· Attached is the Question by Kathy Sinnott to the Commission and the
Commission's Answer, received yesterday
Question to the Commission regarding Tara asked by Kathy Sinnott MEP
The World Monument Fund has just included Tara in its list of the 100
Most Endangered Sites.
I would like to know the current position of the Commission in relation
to the road construction work in the area of the Hill of Tara, Co Meath,
Ireland, and the general issue of the proposed route for the M3.
Could you also please briefly sketch the history of the Commission's
position and its interaction with the Irish authorities?
////////////////////////////////////////

Answer from the Commission 10th July 2007
The Commission is only in a position to intervene in a matter of this
kind if there is some procedural flaw.
The Commission received a significant number of complaints about the
environmental impact assessment (EIA) undertaken for the M3 motorway
project in 2003 but, based on the evidence received, was unable to
identify any such flaw up to and including the Planning Appeals Board
2003 decision.
However, in a quite separate case, the European Court of Justice has
recognised that decisions to approve projects may unfold in more than
one stage and that it may be inappropriate to limit the possibility of
EIA to an early stage as new circumstances and new factors may arise at
the time of a second-stage decision.
In June our attention was drawn to a new decision relating to the M3
project - namely the decision under the National Monuments Act, 2004 to
allow the demolition of the Lismullin national monument, which had been
discovered in 2007 and was unknown at the time of the original EIA. Our
attention was also drawn to the fact that the National Monuments Act
made no provision for the possible need for an EIA in respect of such a
decision.
As it happened, the Commission already had an infringement procedure
open against Ireland for excluding demolition works from the scope of
its implementation of the EIA Directive, 85/337/EEC on the assessment of
the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment.
On 29 June 2007, the Commission notified a Reasoned Opinion (final
warning) to Ireland in relation to the demolition issue. By way of
illustration of what the exclusion can mean in practice, the Reasoned
Opinion mentions Lismullin (which was not specifically mentioned
previously, as it only emerged as an issue in June of this year). It
also raises the issue of the compatibility of the National Monuments
Act, 2004 with the Directive and takes note of the World Monument Fund
listing that you mention.
When the EIA was undertaken for the M3 in 2003, the assessment was on
the basis that no national monument lay in the path of the road. The
discovery and identification of Lismullin as a national monument in 2007
represents a circumstance that was not - and could not - have been taken
into account at the time of the (first-stage) EIA. However, the National
Monuments Act, 2004 makes no provision for (second-stage) EIA in
relation to decisions allowing for destruction of national monuments
that were unknown at the time of a first-stage EIA.
A response is not expected for two months.
I hope that this clarifies the matter for you.
//////////////////////////////////////////////////

STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE CAMPAIGN TO SAVE TARA
CAMPAIGN WELCOMES MORATORIUM CALL BY MEP KATHY SINNOTT
The Campaign to Save Tara welcomes the call by the Independent MEP Kathy
Sinnott for an "immediate moratorium on M3 construction”. We are calling
on Minister Gormley and the Government to listen to the EU and the
concerns expresses by Commissioner Stavros Dimas if they will not listen
to the people of Ireland.
The fact that the National Monument of Lismullin was not discovered by
the initial exploratory methods demonstrates that there may be other
monuments still undiscovered on the route.
The destruction of Baronstown under cover of darkness, just before
documents released by the Department of Environment showed that the
Director of the National Museum considered it a National Monument as
well, adds to the urgent need for such a moratorium. The National Roads
Authority, a development body, has assumed to itself the power to
designate a National Monument in Ireland and the advice of the Director
is being ignored.
The Campaign to Save Tara demands that the letter about the demolition
of newly discovered monuments from the EU Commission to Kathy Sinnott be
heeded and that this moratorium begins immediately. The Commission’s
letter applies to Baronstown as much as it does to Lismullin. We also
demand at this stage that the rest of the route between Dunshaughlin and
Navan be archaeologically examined by geophysical survey before it is
left to a bulldozer driver to discover the next National Monument that
may come to light in this highly sensitive area.
For verification ring Muireann Ni Bhrolchain 087-9249510

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
author by Megpublication date Wed Jul 11, 2007 18:23Report this post to the editors


See below

This is just John Gormley's inexperience showing through. Of course the NRA contract with SIAC has a get out clause in it to allow a complete cessation of work if serious archaeology requiring a redesign is found. Such contracts always do. Mr Gormley needs to get his own legal advisers and engineering advisors in on this and stop relying blindly on tunnel visioned department officials and the AJ. There will be a financial cost to halting work on the M3 but properly managed this should be affordable and possibly within the contract sum. The real cost is in terms of preserving our heritage and our international credibility

Gormley comes under further pressure to halt M3 work
09/07/2007 - 12:18:31

Minister for the Environment John Gormley has come under further pressure to halt work on the M3 motorway.

Campaign group Tarawatch launched a petition today, claiming that there has been a number of changes to the situation at Tara since the former Minister signed the order.

They say work should at least be temporarily stopped pending a review, as the Hill of Tara has now become one of the most endangered sites.

Minister John Gormley, however, said he has tried everything to stop the development - but it is just not possible.

"Unfortunately, there is contract in place, so you're into legal difficulties, you're into factual difficulties and at this stage, unfortunately, I don't think it is possible," he said.

"I've looked at all the legal possibilities, and the [Attorney General] has advised that it isn't possible."

author by M. Ni Bhrolchainpublication date Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:59Report this post to the editors

Here is the text of a new press release from Kathy Sinnott on foot of
the interview with John Gormley this morning on Morning Ireland
Its up now and here's the link. Muireann
http://www.rte.ie/news/morningireland/

////////////////////////////////////////////////////
-Press Release-

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Kathy Sinnott: John Gormley can and must reverse the decision on M3 and Tara

On RTE Radio 1's Morning Ireland programme this morning, John Gormley,
Minister for the Environment, stated that "unless a material change in
circumstances has occurred, I cannot reverse the decision made by
(previous Minister for the Environment) Dick Roche" on the M3 Motorway.
The Minister said this in response to Kathy Sinnott, MEP who pointed out
that the European Commission informed the Minister on June 29 last that
the M3 Motorway project lacks a valid Environmental Impact Assessment
(EIA) because the discovery of the national monument at Lismullin
constitutes a material change to the original EIA. The M3 Motorway
project in its present route is now illegal.

"According to the European Commission a material change has occurred in
the shape of the monument at Lismullin, which was not taken into account
in the Environmental Impact Assessment conducted in 2003. This
assessment was on the basis that no national monument lay in the path of
the road. The discovery and identification of Lismullin as a national
monument this year represents a definite change in circumstance that
could not have been taken into account at the time of the 2003 EIA,"
says Independent MEP for Ireland South Kathy Sinnott.

In addition, the Commission state that in its opinion the National
Monuments Act relied on by Dick Roche and now John Gormely to demolish
Lismullin is not in line with the EIA Directive and therefore invalid.
This warning is another "material change in circumstances."

On the basis of this material change, Minster John Gormley is now in a
position to reverse the former Environment Minister's decision and can
suspend works on the M3.

"I call on the Minister to hold true to his words this morning and stop
construction of the M3 which is destroying our precious cultural and
archaeological heritage in Tara."

-ENDS-

Related Link: http://www.savetaravalley.com
author by Vercingetorixpublication date Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:18Report this post to the editors

Some in-depth, core-issue information on the outrageous Hill of Tara "SITUATION" can be found in an e-mail sent yesterday to European Union Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas - who is a very well qualified and highly experienced lawyer.

The full text of yesterday's e-mail to Mr Dimas, which was copied to several other senior politicians and lawyers, can be viewed at the following internet address: http://www.europeancourtofhumanrightswilliamfinnerty.co...l.htm .

Il y a assez de tout dans le monde pour satisfaire aux besoins de l'homme, mais pas assez pour assouvir son avidité.

How you zay in English? - "There is enough of everything in the world to satisfy all the needs of mankind, but not its greed".

Related Link: http://www.google.com/search?q=Vercingetorix%2C+Tara%2C...earch
author by M. Ni Bhrolchain - Campaign to Save Tara publication date Thu Jul 12, 2007 16:47Report this post to the editors

The correct email address for Commissioner Dimas is: stavros.dimas@ec.europa.eu
Speech today by Kathy Sinnott, MEP for Ireland South

Explanation of Votes- Barsi Pataky Report on Sustainable Mobility

Thursday, 12 July 2007

The report on Sustainable Mobility for our continent, which we have just
voted on, stresses not only the need to build-up a better
infrastructure, but implies that this must be done responsibly. It
points out that Member States must keep an eye on the environmental
impact of improved infrastructure as well as examining transport while
taking into account socio-economic factors vis a vis safety.

This is particularly relevant to my own country, Ireland, where we are
currently battling the need to make the preservation of a national
historic landmark a priority. The Irish authorities are in the process
of destroying one of the most important archaeological sites in Europe
in a bid to build the M3 motorway, improve transport systems in Ireland.
41 sites which comprise European Heritage, including the National
Monument at Lismullen, will be demolished due to a motorway that is
unnecessarily routed through it. Once these monuments are destroyed
there is no way to replace the culture and heritage that will be lost
with them.

According to the Sustainable Mobility report, future transport policy
will have to optimise each country's own potential to meet the
objectives of clean and efficient transport systems. Ireland can achieve
this but a motorway through Tara is not the answer. Irish authorities
have not considered alternative routes and instead by road construction,
they are destroying significant historical locations, like the site at
Baronstown that was destroyed at 4am on the 4th July last. Nor have they
considered revising an old rail line in the area to carry commuters to
Dublin, reducing road traffic and fuel usage. We should return to the
old methods of transport like the train that used to operate near Tara.

While I agree with a sustainable Europe and better transport
infrastructure, I firmly believe that we cannot and should not sacrifice
one of our most precious archaeological sites for a misplaced motorway.
//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Dear All,
Tomorrow John Gormley, Minister for the Environment will be travelling
to Brussels to meet with Commissioner for Environment Stravos Dimas
about Irish Infringement matters (including Tara).
I have just spoken with Commissioner Dimas' office about Tara.
What is now urgently needed is for everyone to email the Commissioner
about the Tara, M3, Lismullin issue and plead with him to save Tara. We
need as many emails as possible sent to the Commissioner today and no
later than tomorrow morning (also note Brussels is 1 hour ahead of
Ireland).The email of Commissioner Dimas is stravos.dimas@ec.europa.eu
If you could copy me with the email that you send to Commissioner Dimas
that would be wonderful.
So please starting emailing and also pass this on to everyone else you
can think of who is interested in the issue. The more emails that are
sent the better.
I attach my speech made in Plenary in Strasbourg today mentioning Tara.
Thank you,
Yours,
Kathy
Kathy Sinnott, MEP for Ireland South

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
author by M. Ni Bhrolchain - Campaign to Save Tarapublication date Fri Jul 13, 2007 23:47Report this post to the editors

Breaking news all over:

Breaking news.ie
Gormley to respond to EU warning on M3 motorway
13/07/2007 - 19:16:28
The Minister for the Environment has said he will respond shortly to a warning from the European Commission on the building of the M3 motorway in Meath.
A meeting took place in Brussels today between Minister John Gormley and the European Commissioner for the Environment.
Earlier this week, the European Commission told the Irish Government to stop construction of the M3 motorway, which it claims is in breach of EU law.
Demonstrations against the motorway were held in Dublin city centre today and outside Irish embassies in the UK and the US.
Minister Gormley has issued a statement saying he had a long and frank exchange of views with the Commissioner.
The Minister says he will be giving the matter detailed consideration, and will respond to the Commission as quickly as possible.
/////////////////////////////
Ireland.com
Last Updated: 13/07/2007 21:17
Gormley has 'frank exchange' with EU
The Minister for the Environment John Gormley has said that he has had long and frank exchange of views with European Commissioner for the Environment Stavros Dimas.
The two ministers met today for the first time since Mr Gormley became Minister for the Environment to discuss a number of environmental issues.
"I was pleased to meet Commissioner Dimas today and we had a long and frank exchange of views on a number of areas and we covered a lot of ground.
"I have assured Commissioner Dimas of my intention to solve our difficulties as we move forward. I explained to him my concern and willingness to resolve our problems particularly under the Habitats & Birds Directive. I have asked for a road-map on how we can best avoid and deal with infringement proceedings going forward," said Minister Gormley.
The two men also discussed Ireland's implementation of the EU Directive on Environmental Impact Assessment in relation to the Lismullin national monument found on the route of the controversial M3 motorway near Navan, Co Meath.
"The issues associated with Ireland's implementation of the EIA Directive are complex and have been ongoing for a number of years, and Lismullin has recently been cited in the additional opinion.
"This matter requires full and detailed consideration and we will be responding to the Commission as quickly as possible," added Mr Gormley.
Mr Gormley said that both he and Commissioner Dimas shared the hope that a major step forward will be taken at the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in December.
"It is essential that we end informal exploratory discussions and commence a round of formal negotiations that will lead to a new treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.
"Time is getting very tight, in that the new treaty must be finalised in 2009 if we are to avoid a gap at the end of the Kyoto Protocol commitment period in 2012," said Mr Gormley.
© 2007 ireland.com
///////////////////////////////////////
Independent.ie
Environment Minister to decide on M3 motorway shortly
Friday July 13 2007
The Minister for the Environment has said he will be responding shortly to a warning from the European Commission on the building of the M3 motorway in Meath.
It follows a meeting which took place in Brussels today between Minister John Gormley and the European Commissioner for the Environment.
Earlier this week, the European Commission told the Irish government to stop construction of the M3 motorway, which it claims is in breach of EU law.
Campaigners have urged Minister Gormley to use his meeting today with the E-U environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, to put a halt to the road works.
Demonstrations against the motorway were held in Dublin city centre today and outside Irish embassies in the UK and the States.
Minister Gormley has issued a statement saying he had a long and frank exchange of views with the Commissioner.
The Minister says he will be giving the matter detailed consideration, and will respond to the Commission as quickly as possible.

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
author by Muireann Ni Bhrolchainpublication date Mon Jul 16, 2007 09:23Report this post to the editors

Tara will be on the agenda of the EP Petitions Committee Coordinators' meeting on Tuesday morning. Kathy Sinnott will be asking the Committee to write urging the Commission to do everything it can to halt the construction and also to the Government.

The European public petition will be used Monday/Tuesday by Kathy and a representative of Protect Tara there.

The NRA have also issued a statement as follows:

European Commission Intervention
- on M3-Clonee-North of Kells Motorway
The National Roads Authority would like to state for the record that the Authority has not been approached by the European Commission about the M3 Clonee to North of Kells motorway and specifically the Lismullin national monument. Reports to the contrary are inaccurate.
Additionally, it is the Authority's understanding, based on the media coverage of the matter that the European Commission's concerns relate to Ireland's planning regulations which, it is contended, do not fully accord with EU law concerning to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) directive. Media reports indicate that the European Commission has stated that an EIA should have been prepared for the directions issued to the Authority under National Monuments legislation relating to the national monument discovered by NRA archaeologists at Lismullin.
The National Roads Authority reiterates that it is operating in compliance with Irish legislation enacted for the purposes of giving effect to the EU Directive on the Environmental Impact Assessment and for the protection of national monuments. It is a matter for others to address any questions arising as to whether or not the Irish legislation concerned complies with EU law.
For further information please contact:
Sean O'Neill 01 6658770 or 086 823 0600
/////////////////////////////////////////////
The Commission would contact the Government and not the NRA - who are an unelected quango and answerable to no one.

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
author by M. Ni Bhrolchain - Campaign to Save Tarapublication date Mon Jul 16, 2007 22:08Report this post to the editors

News has reached us of two gigs for Tara taking place in England next week.

The first we have heard of is in Brighton and these are the details: Wednesday 25rd July @ The Sanctuary, Brighton, UK.. starts @ 7.30pm..
Acoustic music/cosmic cabaret - Carrie Tree & Avalon Roots .. Performance poetry by Ashfire ..
+ Special mystery guests

The second is in Bristol: here is the link to the ad on myspace:
http://www.myspace.com/eldonhouse

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
author by W. Finnerty.publication date Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:36Report this post to the editors

An e-mail was sent yesterday afternoon to Kathy Sinnott MEP (European Parliament of Petitions) in the hope that she and her colleagues might find the time to consider the contents, before this morning's meeting (referred to in the Mon Jul 16, 2007 09:23 posting above).

Basically, the matter I have tried to bring to their attention, which I set out in the form of a very general and wide-ranging question (which was intended for everybody really), is this:

"Who has given the legal profession in the Republic of Ireland the authority to COMPLETELY abandon this core safety-mechanism (the "Doctrine of the Tripartite Division of Powers of Government"), which lays at the heart of Bunreacht na hEireann (Constitution of the Republic of Ireland)?".

The full text of yesterday's e-mail to Kathy Sinnott, which was copied to several senior lawyers and politicians, can be viewed at: http://www.europeancourtofhumanrightswilliamfinnerty.co...l.htm .

By way of providing a small piece of evidence (in this posting) in support of my claim, which comes from my own own long drawn-out and ongoing legal dispute with Republic of Ireland public officials, which I believe is being corruptly handled by the legal profession (for the purpose of sustaining corruption and protecting these guilty of corruption), some readers may wish to know that I have still not received ANY reply, of ANY kind, from Galway law-firm Hogan & Co. to the letter I sent through the registered post to barrister John Glynn on April 3rd 2007: not even an acknowledgement of receipt. A copy of letter in question, together with a copy of the Post Office receipt can be viewed at the following address: http://www.europeancourtofhumanrightswilliamfinnerty.co...r.htm .

Several e-mail reminders have been sent directly to solicitor Greg Nolan (who works for Hogan & Co) during the past three months or so, and they have also all been completely ignored - in the sense that I have not received any reply from Mr Nolan to any of the e-mails in question.

Personally, and with due regard for the number of senior lawyers and politicians who have been informed about my legal case, I do not believe Mr Glynn and Mr Nolan (of Hogan & Co) are acting on their own regarding the way my efforts to communicate with them are being completely ignored by them. Correctly or otherwise, I believe Mr Glynn and Mr Nolan are acting with the full support of several (possibly all) senior members of the legal profession: who, for reasons best know to themselves, are knowingly obstructing me from getting the justice I have a legal right to.

In other words, the large group of lawyers in question are colluding with each other to pervert and obstruct the course of justice: which is of course an extremely serious crime. And, among MANY other things, a matter which has extremely serious implications for ancient heritage sites in and around the Hill of Tara (County Meath), and the Hill of Turoe (County Galway) areas.

The senior members of the legal profession I have in mind includes those listed in the "CC:" section of my e-mail letter to John Glynn dated April 3rd 2007 (reproduced at http://www.europeancourtofhumanrightswilliamfinnerty.co...r.htm ).

Related Link: http://www.constitutionofireland.com
author by M. Ni Bhrolchain - Campaign to Save Tara publication date Tue Jul 31, 2007 23:23Report this post to the editors

Friends of Tara,

I requested that Tara be added to the agenda of the last coordinators
meeting of the Petitions Committee before the summer recess, The result
was a decision by the committee to write to both the Commissioner and to
Minister John Gormley. The following is a copy of the letter sent to
Ireland. Note the recognition of TARA's important to those who live
beyond Ireland.
I will copy you with the letter to the commissioner when I get it.

Kathy Sinnott MEP
Vice President Petitions Committee

Brussels,
DL/jg[02-COM.PETI(2007)D/47790]

Mr John Gormley
Minister of Environment
Department of the Environment
Heritage and Local Government
Custom House
Ireland - Dublin 1

Dear Minister,

I very much appreciated your willingness to meet with me and other
members of the Petitions Committee delegation when we visited Ireland at
the end of June, shortly after your appointment. As you will recall
issues related to the environment figured very highly on our agenda as a
result of petitions received from Irish citizens related to problems
with water, waste and, last but not least, the environmental impact of
certain large infrastructure projects.
The report of our visit is still in preparation and will be first
discussed at the meeting of the Petitions Committee on September 13th
and representatives from your department, or from the Permanent
Representation in Brussels, will be most welcome to attend and participate.
However, at yesterday's meeting of the Committee several members voiced
concerns about recent developments related to the M3 project at Tara and
Lismullin and the Skryne Valley. Without anticipating too much on the
broader findings resulting from our visit to the site I would like to
impress upon you the extreme concern which is felt by the Committee
regarding the serious damage to these sites of great archaeological and
historical value and significance. The Committee has urged me to write
to you, and also to Commissioner Dimas, in order to ensure that the
Irish authorities responsible for the M3 project fully respect their
obligations under EU law, notably as regards respect for the Directive
on Environmental Impact Assessment ((85/337/EC) for which an Article 226
procedure is open, and a Reasoned Opinion issued on the grounds that
Ireland's National Monuments Act 2004 does not allow for additional EIAs
in the event of new factors coming to light. Lismullin is cited as an
example of this I believe.
Many members, including myself, share the view that in the light of the
discovery of previously unrecorded, yet vitally important archaeology on
the current route at Lismullin and nearby, urgent action is needed to
halt existing works in this area and to review the routing of this
section of the M3 motorway.
I am very much aware of the fact that there are many complex factors to
be taken account of in ordering a review but I trust the outcome will be
a decision which complies with Ireland's obligations under EU law and
which respects and protects a most important feature of Europe's common
heritage.
Yours faithfully,
Marcin Libicki
Chairman of the Committee on Petitions
///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

EU Committee Chairperson Repeats Calls for Work to Halt on 'Illegal' M3

The chairperson of the influential EU Petitions Committee has written to
Minister John Gormley calling for a halt to all construction work in the
disputed Tara/Skryne Valley area. The letter states that: "urgent action
is needed to halt existing works in this area and to review the routing
of this section of the M3 motorway." (full text attached below) A
similar letter is being sent to the Commissioner for the Environment,
Stavros Dimas.
The letter from Marcin Libicki, Chairman of the Committee on Petitions
confirms previous correspondence with Minister Gormley where the EU
indicated that continuing works on the M3 were illegal under EU law
governing the need for Environmental Impact Assessments. It goes on to
state that many members at the recent meeting of the Committee voiced
their concerns about "recent developments related to the M3 project at
Tara and Lismullin and the Skryne Valley" and that serious damage was
being done to sites of great archaeological and historical value and
significance.
This letter and the EU argues that under law the discovery of the
Lismullen National monument constitutes a 'material alteration' from the
circumstances of the initial EIA. The Campaign is calling on Ministers
Gormley and Dempsey to respect European Law and to cease all work within
the Valley until the European Court of Justice has ruled on this issue.
The letter also said that the report of the committee's visit will be
ready for discussion at the September 13th meeting and that they welcome
representatives from the Department of the Environment in Ireland.
Michael Canney, a spokesperson for the Campaign said today; 'The removal
or altering of a National Monument not previously subject to an
Environmental Impact Assessment is illegal under European Law, and
indeed the whole route selection process is flawed - you cannot pretend
that the potential impacts were adequately assessed in this case because
the National Monument was not discovered at the time of the 2003
Environmental Impact Assessment. In fact, all the discoveries along the
proposed route indicate that the Tara landscape is an integrated complex
and constitutes a National Monument in its own right'.
'The Irish Government, like any member state, must respect EU law. After
all, what is the point of the EU's existence at all if individual states
simply cherry pick directives to suit their own convenience? These
directives are designed for the common good and aren't issued lightly.
The Government chose to run a motorway through a complex of
archaeological sites, against all professional, impartial advice. They
are now choosing to disregard and flout EU regulations and directives.
Democracy - never mind heritage - is diminished by this whole affair and
the wishes of both the Irish people and the dictates of the EU have been
disregarded. This is another wake up call for the Irish Government.' Mr.
Canney added.
ENDS
///////////////////////////////////////////
-Press Release-

EU Petitions Committee pleads for Tara
Vice President Kathy Sinnott releases Committee’s letter to public and
demands an end to illegal works

At the last meeting of the European Parliament’s Petitions Committee on
July 17, Vice President Kathy Sinnott MEP requested that Tara be added
to the agenda because of material changes in the situation at Tara since
the Committees fact finding visit of June 27. On June 29 the EU
Commission sent a final warning to Minister Gormley warning him that the
EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) on the M3 motorway project was
invalid and that the National Monuments Act was out of line with the EU
EIA Directive. The National Monuments Act had been used to allow road
construction to continue without a new EIA after the discovery and
classification of a major archaeological site at Lismullen. A further
important but as yet unclassified heritage complex at Barronstown was
destroyed at 4 am on July 4th.
The Petitions Committee considering the legal situation and the
potential for destruction of what the Committee clearly saw as European
Heritage over the summer decided to send an urgent letter to Environment
Commissioner Dimas and to Irish Minister for the Environment John Gormley.
Now that both recipients have had time to receive their letters, MEP
Sinnott is circulating it to Tara supporters and now the media.
Kathy Says: “I have held off releasing this document until now so as to
give Commissioner Dimas and Minister Gormley time to receive it. This
letter clearly shows how seriously the Tara issue has become in the EU.
As Vice President of the Petitions Committee I have been in a position
to highlight the issue and have received enormous support for the
preservation of the Archaeologically important Tara-Skryne valley
especially in light of the findings at Lismullen. I demand that the
government cease all works on this section of the M3 motorway until the
EU’s pending legal action against Ireland is resolved. I also urge
Minister Gormley, who I know has a great personal concern for Ireland’s
heritage to make that concern public and join me and the Petitions
Committee in forcing the Government to suspend all works around Tara
until the legal issues are resolved. It is completely unacceptable for
the government to continue to push through the works and destroy this
site so that it will be too late once the case is heard in the Autumn to
save Tara. This government must be prevented from destroying an
important part of our heritage.”
For further information, questions or comments, please contact Kathy on:
+353 87 2786 552 (mobile) or +353 21 4888 793 (Cork office)

-ENDS-
//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
[This and other documents can be found at:
http://www.environ.ie/en/Publications/Heritage/National...ents/

24 July 2007

Marcin Libicki
Chairman
Committee on Petitions
European Parliament

Dear Mr Libicki,

Thank you for your letter of 20th July, following the visit of your
delegation to Ireland in June. I was delighted to have the opportunity
to meet your delegation on that occasion, and I trust the rest of your
visit was productive. As I said at our meeting, it is my hope that your
committee will investigate all of the relevant petitions as rigorously
as possible, in particular those which relate to environmental issues.
I look forward to receiving your full report in due course.

In your letter you express the committee’s concern about damage to
sites of great archaeological and historical value and significance
along the route of the M3. Although I do not have responsibility for
the M3 or its routing, as Minister for the Environment I am responsible
for protecting our heritage and any significant sites uncovered during
this project. In 2005 my predecessor issues a series of directions in
respect of sites along the route of the proposed motorway, and in June
2007, shortly before I took office, he issued further directions in
respect of the national monument at Lismullen, which had since been
discovered. These directions ordered the excavation of the
archaeological remains at this site.

As it is not open to me to review or reverse these directions, I have a
responsibility to ensure that the excavation is carried out in
accordance with best archaeological practice, and that any potential
damage to the site is avoided. For this reason, I established an
expert advisory committee to advise on the conduct of the
archaeological investigations. This committee includes Dr Conor Newman,
a leading expert on the archaeology of Tara, Dr Pat Wallace, Director
of the National Museum of Ireland, Professor Gabriel Cooney of the
School of Archaeology, UCD, as well as representatives of the National
Monuments Service of my department, and of the National Roads
Authority.

It is important to point out that the advice I have received from the
expert committee is that the monument at Lismullen is in a very
vulnerable condition, could not sustain or withstand preservation in
situ and that, therefore, excavation is desirable and in the best
interests of the archaeological remains. It is therefore most urgent
that these excavations begin as soon as conditions allow, as
recommended by the expert committee. I am enclosing a copy of this
committee’s report for your information.

The issue of compliance with EU law is of particular concern to me, as
I have stated that one of my priorities in office will be to resolve a
number of outstanding cases taken against Ireland for infringements of
EU directives. For this reason I sought a meeting with Commissioner
Dimas earlier this month, at which we discussed the M3 project amongst
other issues. My department is actively engaged in preparing a response
to the recent Reasoned Opinion in respect of the EIA Directive, and we
have sought legal advice in the matter. However, as you will
appreciate, the immediate issue of avoiding damage to the vulnerable
site at Lismullen must be the overriding concern, so it is my intention
that the recommendations of the Lismullen Advisory Committee be pursued
as soon as they consider appropriate.

Your letter asks for urgent action to halt existing works in this area
and to review the routing of this section of the M3 motorway. As
responsibility for the works, and for the routing of the motorway, lies
with the National Roads Authority, I have forwarded a copy of your
letter to the Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey TD, for
consideration. I should point out that the motorway works at this
location have indeed stopped, and will not recommence until excavations
of the national monument at Lismullen are complete.
Yours sincerely,
John Gormley TD
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
author by Muireann Ni Bhrolchain - Campaign to Save Tara publication date Wed Oct 03, 2007 23:32Report this post to the editors

The Petitions Committee have reported on Tara and the other issues in Ireland.
The full report is 20 pages long.
I'm only putting the Tara information here. The full report is on the Save Tara yahoo list.
Just visit the website.
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Tara.
Eremon, the first chief of the Milesians was the first high king to
reign at Tara on the site which has been used continuously from the
Stone Age to the era of Christianity and which is mentioned as one of
the Green Isle sites in the Book of Invasions. An Irish citizen today
hears reports every day through the news media about the proposed M3
motorway route which will pass through the Tara area which remains of
enormous heritage value to the nation and to the world. Many very
detailed petitions have been received and assessed and it was therefore
appropriate that the Committee decided that it was necessary to visit
the site and surrounding area to establish a clearer opinion of the
situation.
Today's residents on the site are maintaining a vigil and its many
visitors are quickly made aware of the value with which this atmospheric
spot on the Irish map is considered. Its situation and its artefacts
constitute a national treasure; the integrity of the site an enormous
challenge. When the original plans for the motorway were proposed (as a
result of the need to upgrade and improve road transport and
communications between this important commuter area and Dublin,) and the
impact assessment conducted it was agreed to choose the second best
option available in relation to the archaeological criteria and abandon
the first choice option which would have avoided encroachment on the
historic remains known at that time. It is however apparent and quite
clear that the authorities fulfilled their obligations under EIA
Directives inasmuch as they clearly identified alternative options for
the road.
The first choice option would have entailed larger compensation payments
to landowners and residents. But the option retained is outside the
central Tara zone, 1.5km away over the brow of a hill and not visible
from the Hill of Tara itself. It is considered the best corridor in
terms of serving traffic demands and engineering impacts, and also the
preferred crossing of the River Boyne according to the National Roads
Authority which has the responsibility for the project. The current main
road used is between the planned route and the Hill of Tara and clearly
visible from the hill.
Since work began however, and specifically since March this year,
several significant new discoveries have been made, notably at nearby
Lismullen, which were not recognised in the original survey and the
whole Tara domain is now said to be of greater historic value covering a
wider area than originally known. Many prominent archaeologists have
attested to this fact and it is also now accepted by the government
which in June this year designated the Lismullen site as a National
Monument.
This has clearly created a serious dilemma for the authorities who, it
is considered, did their best to properly conduct archaeological
investigations using internationally recognised methodology. It may be
argued that they failed to fully respect the precautionary principle
when evaluating the road corridor in relation to the Tara domain, but
everything indicates that the planners acted diligently in assessing the
practical options given the knowledge available at the time. Both
geophysical and magnetometer surveys were conducted which, it turned
out, led to the discovery of the Lismullen site. The decision was then
taken to preserve the site by the outgoing government, not by
maintaining its integrity but by recording and excavating its artefacts
and treasures.
The Meath Archaeological and Historical Society has the support of many
other similar societies within and without Ireland and as one of the
main petitioners it speaks with a particular authority about the
implications and the dangers of the M3 motorway development in the
Tara-Skryne Valley. Julia Clancy, the principle petitioner, conducted an
incredibly useful and informative site visit for the members of the
delegation with several of her colleagues and supporters from the
Society. It is indeed painful to discover that several of the
petitioners’ allegations in relation to the failure to consider
alternatives are not born out by the available facts, even though the
alternatives proposed by the petitioners may indeed not have been
assessed. Routes to the west of the main Tara site, running closer to
the river Skane, for example, do not seem to have been seriously
considered by the authorities. Whether they are more or less likely to
contain historical remains is a mute point.
Here we are confronted with the limitations in assessing the application
of EU Directives, and indeed the inherent weaknesses in the Directive
itself. The EIA Directive says alternatives must be considered, but it
does not indicate which ones. Archaeological factors must be taken fully
into account as well but there is no evidence they have not been. The
public has been informed and involved in an oral hearing in 2002 – 2003,
albeit before the recent findings at Lismullen were uncovered – a fact
which renders such hearings meaningless for the petitioners.
There is not any impact, as far as the delegation is aware, on land
protected under the Habitats or the Birds Directive for example; and
were this to have been the case our assessment could well be very
different. The European Commission has informed the Committee that in
its opinion the provisions of the EIA Directive have been respected and
the visit by the delegation has not found sufficient evidence to
disprove that except in the Lismullen area.. (One might add – much as it
would have liked to have done so.)
The delegation is however perplexed by the choice of route and by the
damage done to the integrity of the many sites in the Tara area and the
Gabhra Valley which have been vividly drawn to our attention by
petitioners. (Sites in particular at Baronstown, Collierstown, Roestown
and Dowdstown) It is also concerned as to why it has been deemed
necessary to build one of the largest M3 intersections precisely at this
most vulnerable location in terms of Ireland’s national heritage, which
destroys forever the intact archaeological landscape of the area. This,
and subsequent analysis by the European Commission since the designation
of the Lismullen site as a National Monument by the Irish Authorities ,
motivates a clear call by this Committee for a substantial review of the
environmental impact of the M3 and for less intrusive alternative routes
to be designated which should safeguard this area for the Irish nation.
On the slightly broader picture, it is nevertheless surprising that so
much emphasis is placed by the Irish authorities responsible for
transport on the development of road infrastructure and so little on
developing an efficient and more sustainable rail network for passengers
and freight. It is surprising that there is no commuter rail service
between this area, Navan, and Dublin, and that none is planned before
2015 at the earliest, a fact which condemns and confirms an inevitable
choice of motorway construction. The National Roads Authority build
roads. What would a National Transport Authority decide ask many of the
petitioners? These are issues that need to be addressed by the Irish
authorities with the competence to make decisions and the treaty does
not allow for the European Parliament – or one of its committees, to
take decisions in the place of the competent national authorities.

Related Link: http://www.savetara.com
author by W. Finnerty.publication date Thu Oct 04, 2007 11:16Report this post to the editors

I'm a bit concerned about the way that no reference of any kind is given regarding the source of the above claim that "Eremon, the first chief of the Milesians was the first high king to reign at Tara ...".

I'm not trying to say the above claim (in the Wed Oct 03, 2007 23:32 posting above) is incorrect - I'm just wondering where this information is coming from?

Also, my concern regarding this point relates in part to the fact that I have sent Marcin Libicki MEP (Chairman of European Parliament Committee on Petitions) plenty of information in the past (often copied to Kathy Sinnott MEP) which he could have usefully used (in my view) about the history of the Hill of Tara - some of which comes from the highly regarded "Annals of Ireland by the Four Masters" written in the 1600's AD - and which he and his colleagues at the European Union appear to be completely ignoring.

The e-mail at http://www.europeancourtofhumanrightswilliamfinnerty.co...l.htm (for example) represents one of my efforts to communicate with Marcin Libicki regarding the history of the Hill of Tara, and the fact that it appears - for reasons unknown to me - that a lot of crucially important information about Tara's history is being suppressed: with the result that the vast majority of Irish people still know nothing about it.

Related Link: http://www.kingollamhfodhla.com
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