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Tara/M3 controversy to be raised at UNESCO

category international | history and heritage | other press author Saturday June 14, 2008 15:23author by misspix Report this post to the editors

A Phoblacht reports on the new initiative by TaraWatch, to raise the Tara issue with UNESCO

AN IMPORTANT forum of the world’s leading archaeologists is to debate the controversial M3 motorway route near the hill of Tara in County Meath.

In what could be a highly embarrassing development for the Irish Government, the World Archaeological Congress is to hold a public debate on whether a decision to run a motorway through one of the country’s most sensitive archaeological sites was merited.

The M3 motorway is expected to be completed in two years. Since the final route was announced, academics worldwide and campaigners in Ireland have criticised the decision.

Last week, the World Archaeological Congress identified campaign group TaraWatch as a stakeholder in the Tara/M3 issue and asked for a position statement on the matter to be incorporated into a round-table discussion at the 6th World Archaeological Congress, to be held in University College Dublin, from 29 June to 2 July. The debate will focus on the ethical considerations of the M3 project. Public submissions will also be included in the position statement.


Meanwhile, TaraWatch will be making a formal submission to UNESCO to coincide with the 32nd Session of the World Heritage Committee in Canada (from 2 July) and a delegation of experts is to be sent to the event to lobby on behalf of Tara.

TaraWatch has issued a call to the public for submissions which will be presented to the Archaeological Congress and the UNESCO meeting. The group says it is vital that all stakeholders in the issue make a written submission before 21 June, 2008.

TaraWatch says submissions should address the importance of the Hill of Tara, why it should be a UNESCO World Heritage site, and why the M3 motorway should not be built in the area proposed to be protected by UNESCO.

A new web address has been set up for people to enter statements at
Longer submissions can be emailed directly to

TaraWatch says the process is being launched in response to the recent announcement by Environment Minister John Gormley that he has begun the nomination process for the Hill of Tara to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site but with the controversial M3 route going through the middle of this archaeologically sensitive area.

Laura Grealish of TaraWatch said:

“We are sending a delegation of experts and heritage professionals to the UNESCO meeting in Quebec to make the case for Tara.

“It is vital that the public are given an opportunity to state their opinions on this issue and that those opinions are heard by the international bodies that are responsible for world heritage.

“Unfortunately, we have been given very short notice and it is vital that the public are aware that this process is occurring, so we have set up a website to make it easy for people.

“We believe that UNESCO has the power to influence the re-routing of the M3 now that the Minister for the Environment has invited them into the equation. We also believe it would be unethical and illegal for UNESCO to declare Tara a World Heritage Site without first requiring that the M3 be moved away from the site as well as the buffer zone around it.”

- For more information visit

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author by Muddaearthpublication date Fri Jun 27, 2008 17:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Good luck, I hope it keeps Tara in the news at least.
Nice pic!

author by joe mc gowanpublication date Fri Jun 27, 2008 18:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well Tara still has not been saved,the road is and will be going ahead,its even on this Years GB & Ireland road maps. The only thing that can come good from this is that there will be tighter procedures for future heritage sites.
I would love for the road to be re-routed ,its not going to happen though, the damage is done.

author by Bikerpublication date Sat Jun 28, 2008 09:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hold on to that guide Joe, it could become a collecters item!

author by Hanna Zdunskapublication date Thu Jul 31, 2008 01:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sorry I have been home for few days. I am repeating here a mail from an other site which is similar to the reply I received from the UNESCO concerning Tarawatch and the round table issue. This is important as it clearly shows that Tarawatch are misleading Tara campaigners.

"Hi all,
Mr Francesco Bandarin of UNESCO has given us permission to circulate his
email response to our enquiry.
I am reproducing it below, leaving out the name of the official from the
Department. Muireann

Dear Dr Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin

Thanks for your message and for asking my view on this matter.
While I always support conservation initiatives coming from civil
society, I was surprised to see a statement with my name in the press
release you mention.
I only met Mr Salafia for 2 minutes in the Conference room while I was
in Quebec, and cafter hearing his points I ommented that a meeting would
have been useful to present his case -as it is obvious.
I did not propose a "UNESCO initiative" or any other thing. I have the
feeling that my comment has been abused and turned into something else.
I have already explained this to Mr [.........] of the Ministry, and I have
been told that Mr Salafia is not new to this kind of twisting.
There is therefore no UNESCO initiative on this issue, and the press
release is phoney.
That said, please feel free to keep us informed on the situation.

Francesco Bandarin
Francesco Bandarin

Unesco World Heritage Centre

7 Place de Fontenoy
75532 Paris 07 SP

Tel 0033145681572"

This is not the way to behave with such an organiation and will only make them less likely to listen to our viewpoint.

Hanna Zdunska

author by The reporterpublication date Tue Aug 05, 2008 00:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

UN to discuss Tara future
By - Evan Short.

Tara is to be on the agenda at an upcoming UNESCO workshop that will be held in Trinity College.

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation who designate world heritage sites will discuss the ongoing works around Tara and what needs to be done to turn the area into an area of special interest.

The Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government John Gormley, is believed to be behind moves to turn the area into a world heritage site. The workshop format will involve a series of presentations from various local, national and international bodies, over a number of days.

The impact on the integrity of Tara cultural landscape by the proposed M3 motorway will also form a part of the workshop. Government bodies such as the National Roads Authority and the Department of the Environment will be invited, alongside local pressure groups that are against the ongoing M3 development.

Dr. Sarah Alyn Stacey from Trinity College she hoped all invited parties would take part in the workshop "This will be the first such workshop to take place in Ireland, and we hope that all of the stakeholders, including the Minister for the Environment, will participate fully". Vincent Salafia of TaraWatch said: "We are putting this matter into the hands of UNESCO now. The M3 is still two years away from completion, and we still hope that a compromise can be reached, which will preserve the complex and deliver the road".

author by Bonohpublication date Tue Aug 05, 2008 14:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No Camping and No Fires


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author by M. Ni Bhrolchainpublication date Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For information:
I have just heard that work has begun on the esker. There are three machines in
the area today, probably started about 3 days ago.
They have shaved off a portion of the esker on the road side of the
large fence erected in March.

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author by Frank O'Reillypublication date Sun Aug 10, 2008 07:10author email frankor at o2 dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Francesco Bnadarin's comments show what a corrupt outfit these campaigners are.
The country needs motorways to save the lives of the living.
Nobody has ever shown any interst in this site until people saw a chance to get some self publicity from it.
The campaign to save lives on the roads has suceeded in the case of the M50 and Glen of the Downs, in spite of all the opposition to these projects the tax paying public who financed them have no problem using them.

author by Siobhan Rice - TaraWatchpublication date Sun Aug 10, 2008 21:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Frank, I believe your comments to be both misinformative, and unrepresentative of the general public.
Who in their right minds would opt to pay approx E2,000 a year just to get in and out of work, on a road that was previously free? These people have NO choice,to try to convey that the ordinary people of Meath are chomping at the bit to get a new motorway is simply fantasy.
The vast majority are not aware of the huge price the tolls will take on their lives, and that of their children.

author by Road userpublication date Tue Aug 12, 2008 15:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Siobhan you may have forgotten (?) that the old road will still be capable of being used as a route to Dublin.

Under EU rules a Toll Road cannot be the sole road, there has to be an alternative road.

In which case only those who can afford the Toll will use the M3.

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