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'Launch Today of Tara UNESCO Petition Alleging Breach of International Law'

category international | history and heritage | press release author Wednesday June 04, 2008 13:50author by TaraWatch Report this post to the editors

Minister Gormley effectively wants to declare substantial parts of the M3 a World Heritage site

TaraWatch will launch a public petition today at a demonstration outside the AGM of the Irish branch of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), calling on ICOMOS and UNESCO to designate Tara a World Heritage site, but to insist that the M3 is rerouted first.
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PRESS RELEASE

TARAWATCH.org

4 June 2008

'Launch Today of Tara UNESCO Petition Alleging Breach of International Law'

TaraWatch will launch a public petition today at a demonstration outside the AGM of the Irish branch of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), calling on ICOMOS and UNESCO to designate Tara a World Heritage site, but to insist that the M3 is rerouted first.

The demonstration will begin at 5.00pm, outside the offices of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, at 8 Merrion Square, Dublin 2. The petition will be available at the demonstration and online after this evening's launch, at www.tarawatch.org.

The Petition calls for UN intervention and alleges that Ireland is in breach of it's commitments, in international law, under the World Heritage Convention. It also alleges that UNESCO and ICOMOS would be in breach of international law, by agreeing to inscribe the the Hill of Tara cultural landscape as a World Heritage Site, with the M3 motorway being constructed in the heart of it. The petition states:

- UNESCO adopted the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (“The Convention”) in 1972. Ireland ratified the Convention in 1991.

- The Convention has as its goal the identification and protection of cultural and national heritage of “outstanding universal value”.

- The Hill of Tara complex qualifies as a natural and cultural landscape of outstanding universal value.

- Tara covers a much larger area than that the 100 acres of State-owned land on the summit of the Hill, which currently delimits the 'national monument'. The M3 passes through the middle of the area to be protected.

- The entire Tara archaeological complex and cultural/natural landscape should be declared a World Heritage site. Expert bodies, such as the Heritage Council, have recognised Tara consists of the entire Hill of Tara along with the Tara / Skryne valley, as well as the defensive forts that encircle the hill, including national monuments such as the defensive forts of Rath Lugh (to the east), Rath Miles (to the north) and Ringlestown Rath (to the west).

- Ireland has been in breach of the Convention since 1991, by failing to nominate the Hill of Tara to be a World Heritage site, until after the M3 motorway was approved.

- Article 3 of the Convention states: “It is for each State Party to this Convention to identify and delineate the different properties situated on its territory".

- A recent UN report on Ireland's implementation of the Convention found that “Inventories, established at national and local levels, have not been used as a basis for selecting World Heritage sites”

- This has resulted in the contradictory approach being taken by the Irish Government, which is on one hand facilitating destruction of significant parts of the Tara complex, and on the other, seeking International legal protection for those same parts.

- The Minister for the Environment, has breached his responsibilities under the Convention by initiating the inscription process of making Tara a World Heritage site, while at the same time, failing in his legal duty adequately protect the Tara complex from the immient threat of the M3 motorway.

- John Gormley, said in a department press release, 11 April 2008, that he did not see M3 motorway preventing the Hill of Tara from being nominated as a world heritage site. He said his department had engaged Dr Jukka Jokilehto, a member of ICOMOS to visit Tara and issue a report on it. It is these statements and actions that have as well as other failures to act, that have invoked the jurisdiction of international law.

- ICOMOS is an international non-governmental organization of professionals, dedicated to the conservation of the world’s historic monuments and sites, and is an offical Advistory Body to UNESCO, for purposes of implementing the World Heritage Convention.

- UNESCO and ICOMOS would also be in breach of the Convention by accepting the Minister's nomination of the Tara archaeological complex and cultural/natural landscape, without insisting that the M3 motorway is rerouted, while it still can be.

- National survey's have shown that 70% of Irish people want the M3 rerouted

- An Irish Times online survey showed that 82% of people want Tara declared a UNESCO site.

Laura Grealish of TaraWatch said:

"The petition supports the nomination of the Hill of Tara archaeological complex and natural landscape to the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites, but is opposed to the construction of the M3 motorway through the Tara-Skryne valley.

"The petition calls on UNESCO and ICOMOS to intervene and support the nomination of the Hill of Tara to the World Heritage list, but to insist that the M3 be rerouted first.

"We say 'YES UNESCO, NO TARA M3'

Vincent Salafia said:

- Minister Gormley's actions effectively seek to declare substantial parts of the M3 motorway a UNESCO World Heritage site, which would be owned and operated by the SIAC-Ferrovial toll company, and the National Roads Authority.

"Allowing the M3 to proceed would destroy the integrity of the site, and be a breach of the World Heritage Convention, which Ireland signed in 1992.

"The Irish Government has the power to reroute the M3 motorway, away from Tara. The petition alleges that it's failure to do so amounts to a breach of international law.

ENDS

Contact: Laura Grealish 087-972-8603 / Vincent Salafia 087-132-3365

For more information see:

UN Report on Ireland's Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, 2005
http://whc.unesco.org/archive/periodicreporting/EUR/cyc...n.pdf

Minister Gormley's press release
http://www.environ.ie/en/Heritage/Archaeology-NationalM...n.htm

Irish Times poll results for “Do you think the Hill of Tara should be added to Unesco’s list of World Heritage Sites?” (June 2007) available at
http://scripts.ireland.com/polls/breaking/index.cfm?fus...d=356

ICOMOS Ireland
http://www.icomos.ie

ICOMOS International
http://www.icomos.org

UNESCO World Heritage centre:
http://whc.unesco.org/

TaraWatch
http://www.tarawatch.org / info@tarawatch.org

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 #   Title   Author   Date 
   Petition now online     TaraWatch    Fri Jun 06, 2008 01:45 
   Sixth World Archaeological Congress to hold Tara / M3 round table at UCD     TaraWatch    Fri Jun 06, 2008 14:41 


 
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