Independent Media Centre Ireland

WAC at Tara

category international | environment | news report author Wednesday July 02, 2008 16:58author by Tara Tara Tara

Archaeologists on Tour

Two bus loads of Archaeologists arrived at Tara this morning for a Tour of the Hill.
Conor Newman chats with Campaigner
Conor Newman chats with Campaigner

Greeting the Archaeologists, Tara Campaigners handed out leaflets entitled "What You Can Do To Save The Tara/Skryne Valley " as well as promotional literature for the Meath Master Plan. The Tour got underway led by Conor Newman who was pleased to have the Campaigners join in -and very enjoyable it was too!

They did not however visit Lismullin or the Sousterrain under threat.

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MMP Promo
MMP Promo

Conor leads the Tour
Conor leads the Tour

Comments (8 of 8)

Jump To Comment: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
author by John Farrelly - Independent Tara Campaignerpublication date Wed Jul 02, 2008 17:06author address author phone

Rath Maeve, M.143, is a large circular rath and a protected national monument close to Tara. It was the mythological home of Maeve, the old earth goddess and consort of successive kings of Tara. As such it has a central place in our heritage and should be afforded all the respect and care it deserves. However yesterday when we visited it we were shocked to see that the entire rath has been planted with Kale. This involved it been ploughed up, planted and it is to be expected, later harvested. Kale is a deep growing vegetable with a long tap root. The harvesting will entail soil disturbance to a dept of at least half a metre. As far as we know no archeologically investigation has taken place on Rath Maeve and no archaeologist was present at the ploughing so priceless items belonging to our history and heritage could have been removed or destroyed. It is known and accepted that this happened in the past and much of what was of value under our soil was destroyed or carried away. That this is again happening today and under a green environment n minister beggars belief.

We also visited the henge site at Colvonstown, with an ancient standing stone at its centre. M.135. This henge is a perfect horse-shoe shaped henge with an opening to the east and so one can assume it was used as a spiritual place of sun worship and ritual. Just last year one could see the traces of a path leading across the fields to the henge, now however recent ploughing has obliterated this. The henge is now full of thistle but there are tractor marks where the plougher drove his tractor over and across the henge, damaging it severely. Also at the back of the henge, away from the roadside, a large portion of the edge has been removed. This henge has stood sentry here for many, many centuries but one more year of this vandalism will regulate it to the long, long list of endangered, neglected and destroyed monuments which now litter our once beautiful land. Earlier in the day we seen this at Teltown, where just ten years ago a farmer was allowed remove a large part of the ancient royal stand without sanction or imprisonment. This same farmer now uses these ancient Knockans as a place to wrap and throw his unwanted plastic.

These monuments belong to us. They could be the focus of a vibrant sustainable and unique tourist industry, something we are going to need as productive industry heads east and leaves us to pick up the pieces of what some still call a boom. We need these monuments in these multi cultural times to provide an anchor and identity for our own young. Above all we need them to remind us of our once proud spiritual past. If we are to stop the feral vandalism now running riot in our land, where nothing seems to be respected, treasured or cared for then we need to knock loudly on the doors of our politicians and if they continue to neglect their duty, as they are now doing, and refuse to do their jobs which they are paid to do, then it must be made clear to everyone; we do not have a future. All our hopes, dreams and aspirations can be easily removed by first removing our past. Market forces will do the rest.

We have photographed and documented all of the above, it is now on record and the photos can be sent to anyone who wishes to see them. The Monument numbers given are those used in the OS Map No. 43.

John Farrelly.
Emma S-Hayes.

Warning Unheeded
Warning Unheeded

Rath Maeve Under Kale
Rath Maeve Under Kale

author by John Farrellypublication date Wed Jul 02, 2008 17:28author address author phone

Would WAC like to see this?

Colvoston Henge Damage
Colvoston Henge Damage

Refuse at The Knockans, Telltown
Refuse at The Knockans, Telltown

author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Wed Jul 02, 2008 17:42author address author phone

Rath Maeve and The Knockans are both protected National Monuments. Damage to these incur severe penalties. Hello OPW!!!!!!!

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author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Thu Jul 03, 2008 19:10author address author phone

No one in a government or semi-state body will move against the government's avowed intentions over Tara. It's a shame, a deep shame, but it's the philosphy of nod-and-wink. We have disgraced ourselves again.

author by Emma Sharma-Hayespublication date Tue Jul 08, 2008 13:00author address author phone

Hi all,

Fri 4th July Plenary Session WAC. We, that is Maggie Ronane, Debbie,
Emily, Lou,
Dublin Robert and myself all managed to get into the plenary session.
Debbie and
Maggie and myself had made submissions to the Congress. On each of our
submissions, the congress, which was 1800 archaeologists from 75
countries kept
saying they didn't know enough about Tara to vote; so there were a
lot of
abstentions, which meant none of our submissions carried. However,
one woman who
was from America or somewhere like that, though she did have a very
name, she stood up and said she was not happy that the congress were
not given
any information on Tara. she demanded that she be allowed to make a
(and this is rough at the moment) something to do with alternatives
to m3 be
investigated. I'd made a submission for alternatives to M3 and gave
as an
example of an aesthetic, sustainable and environmentally friendly
alternative in
the Meath Master Plan Project. I had attached a flyer, an a4 size
colour of the
mmp with all the advantages etc on it. This flyer was not presented
with my
submission, I asked the chair person why it wasn't, especially when
so many
present abstained from voting because there was no information made
available to
them about Tara. The chair person said he did not see my flyer with my
submission. Maggie stood up and re-assured him I had stapled my flyer
to my
written submission. At that there was a bit of toing and frowing. The
of wac, Clair Smith said the information wasn't available on Tara
because Tara
on the agenda then off then on again. She Clair Smith then asked me
for a flyer.
I gave her a half dozen. She then announced that the situation
regarding Tara
would be discussed at an assembly when the plenary was over. The
woman with the
American accent then said it was not good enough and she insisted she
be allowed
to make a submission on having the entire m3 investigated by wac. Her
was voted on and the entire hall showed a vote in favour.
To say we hijacked the plenary would be an understatement. the packed
listened about Tara for over one hour. Of the 20 submissions made to
the plenary
Tara was the only one that had five. All the other countries had one
and there
was nothing to object to in any of them so they went through with big
show of
hands. But not Tara. we made our presence very felt. Just to give you
idea on
our submissions.
Maggie submitted on how archaeologists working on M3 were harassed
their reports
distorted/doctored and in effect the archaeologists were intimidated.
Debbie submitted on the bones of the ancestors been put in black
plastic bags
and into ware houses
Maggie submitted on the Henge and the sutarian in Lismullan woods.
However she
asked the chair if Debbie could talk about it; she explained she had
written the
submission before Debbie arrived but she felt Debbie as a campaigner
had better
knowledge about both the Henge and the sutrain. so Debbie gave
brilliant talk
about both.
Then I submitted on alternatives to m3 and gave example of
alternative as MMP.
By the time we had finished with Tara which was the longest and most
argued by Mary deevy. Well she didn't hotly argue. She tried but we
had answers
for her. She didn't even try to defend her stand on the M3 route when
alternatives were been discussed. she sat dead quiet.
so it was another brilliant day for Tara.
I'll be writing to Clair Smith on how information on Tara was not
made available
to the Archaeologists hence our submissions were not voted for or
against but
abstentions because of lack of information.
So looks like wac is going to investigate Tara. To make sure they
don't take too
long I'll be hounding Clair Smith to find things out.
Will write up better and more when I meet with Debbie and Emily and
lu and
Robert to make notes on our the wac plenary. Also think Maggie is
going to
complain about Archaeologists not been informed about the M3. so it
starts here

Emma Sharma-Hayes

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author by billy idlepublication date Tue Jul 08, 2008 14:56author address author phone

Thanx Emma - The elephant in the room well and truely made its presence felt!!

author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Thu Jul 10, 2008 14:04author address author phone

Question Nos. 73 and 78

Chun an Aire Comhshaoil, Oidhreachta agus Rialtais Áitiúil:
To the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government:

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government if he will make a statement on the claim that the report
of an archaeologist regarding the proposed road at Tara was falsified
(details supplied).

- Martin Ferris.

(Irish Mail on Sunday 29/6)

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government if he has taken steps to establish or investigate if the
necessary archeological information was available when the decision
to approve the M3 Motorway route was made; and if he will make a
statement on the matter.

- Joanna Tuffy.

For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 9th July, 2008.

Ref Nos: 26938/08 and 27565/08


Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr.

I propose to take Question Nos. 73 and 78 together.

The decision to approve the M3 Motorway route was made by an Bord
Pleanala in August 2003. Under the relevant provisions of the
National Monuments Acts, the statutory functions of the Minister for
the Environment, Heritage and Local Government in the matter relate
only to the regulation of archaeological works associated with an
approved road scheme, such as the M3.

According to my Department's records, the archaeologist who wrote the
report referred to in recent media allegations was granted six
licences under the National Monuments Acts in 2004 to carry out test
trenching on the approved route of the M3 motorway in accordance with
the requirements of the EIS for the scheme. The licences related to
archaeological investigative works on the Navan to Kells (including
the Kells Bypass) section of the motorway, but not on the
Dunshaughlin to Navan section, which passes through the Gabhra
valley, between Tara and Skryne.

The test excavations were carried out following the standard
methodolgy used in such cases i.e. a 2 metre wide trench was
excavated along the centre line of the approved route with offset
trenches at 20 m intervals extending to the edge of the land-take for
the road. Reports on the results of the test excavations carried out
were submitted to the Department and Ministerial directions were
issued for the full archaeological excavation and recording of all
the archaeological sites identified in the test excavations. These
excavations were carried out under the direction of qualified and
experienced archaeologists and work on all the sites has been
completed. Archaeologists from my Department carried out inspections
of the foregoing works on a number of occasions. The reports of the
test excavations submitted to my Department were comprehensive and
were considered accurately and fully to reflect what was found during
these excavations.

In later High Court proceedings, Vincent Salafia v. the Minister for
the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Meath County Council,
Ireland and the Attorney General, the High Court considered, inter
alia, the archaeological trench testing that took place on the route
of the M3 between March and December 2004 and the reports on that
testing. In its judgement in the case, the Court found that the
Minister at the time considered carefully and in detail the material
supplied to him before issuing the foregoing directions and having
sought the advice of the Director of the National Museum, as required
under the National Monuments Acts, he was entitled to issue the
directions in the circumstances in which they were issued.

A Code of Practice on archaeological heritage protection between my
Department and the NRA has been in place for a number of years. The
Code commits the NRA to a number of principles including the
appointment of its own staff of project archaeologists to oversee
archaeological works associated with road developments. The Code also
provides that where any dispute arises between the relevant project
archaeologist and a consultant archaeologist carrying out
archaeological works, the matter will be referred to the Department
for a decision. There is no record of any dispute between the NRA's
project archaeologists for the M3 motorway and any of the consultant
archaeologists working on the scheme ever having been referred to the

Please Sign the new Save Tara UNESCO petition

Related Link:
author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Tue Nov 25, 2008 16:15author address author phone

A new Video by Mark Cantwell and Chris Eva of interviews with Maggie Ronayne, Julitta Clancy and Sean Gilmartin , speakers at the World Archaeological conference in Dublin earlier this year is available at the following link.

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