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Demand for Halt to M3 at Tara Due to European Commission Lawsuit

category dublin | history and heritage | press release author Tuesday June 30, 2009 11:35author by TaraWatch Report this post to the editors

and Request for UN Intervention to be Made at Dail Tomorrow

TaraWatch will hold a demonstration outside Dail Eireann on Kildare St tomorrow at 1.00pm, and demand that the Government halt work on the M3 within the Hill of Tara landscape and proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to the lawsuit being argued by the European Commission in the European Court of Justice against Ireland this week.
gormley_1.jpg

The European Commission is arguing that the decision to demolish the newly discovered national monument at Lismullin by Dick Roche in 2007 was contrary to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive, which requires independent scientific opinion and public participation, and that the National Monuments Act fails to implement the Directive by automatically requiring a new EIA when a national monument is discovered, which was not covered by planning permission.

A number of Parliamentary Questions will also be handed to Opposition party Oireachtas members at the Dail gates. The questions will be addressed to Ministers for the Environment, Transport and Finance. The topics of the questions will include:

- Why did the Government demolish the Lismullin national monument, after the Commission said not to, with an EIA?

- Why is Minister Gormley acting contrary to Green Party policy and opposing the Environment Directorate on this matter?
- What will the financial implications be if Ireland loses the case?

- Why is the Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey, proposing to put the M3, the North-South Electrical Connector and the Navan to Dublin railway through the same area Minister Gormley is proposing to make a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

- Why didn’t Minister Gormley submit Tara and other Irish sites to
UNESCO at the annual meeting in Seville this week, like he promised?

TaraWatch will also ask Opposition parties to join in an appeal to UN Secretary General General Ban Ki-moon for intervention, and to and him personally initiation of a problem-solving process for the Tara / M3 debacle during his upcoming visit to Ireland on 7&8 July.

TaraWatch spokesperson, Vincent Salafia, said:

“The Government and the public private partners have acted recklessly by proceeding with the M3 and demolishing the Lismullin national monument, despite the demand by the European Commission in 2007 that they were acting in breach of EU law.

“Works on the M3 in the Tara landscape and proposed World Heritage Site should cease, until the case being argued this week in the European Court of Justice reaches a conclusion.

“Enormous amounts of taxpayers’ money have been wasted by the Government in fighting this case, and the consequences of a decision against Ireland could be disastrous.

“We are calling on the Opposition Parties to take the Government to task on this and to support our appeal to the UN to intervene in this matter.

ENDS

Contact: Vincent Salafia 087-132-3365 / info@tarawatch.org
More information:

Commission press release: “Ireland - Commission to bring environmental impact assessment case to the European Court of Justice”
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference...ge=en

Government criticised by EU over environment

Tuesday, June 30, 2009
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/0630/1....html

FRANK McDONALD Environment Editor

THE EUROPEAN Commission’s director-general for the environment, Karl Falkenberger, has criticised the Government’s failure to adopt the EU Directive on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Mr Falkenberger said that unlike the waste management and water quality directives, where implementation required significant investment, this directive was an “administrative procedure that doesn’t cost much”.

Referring to a current case against Ireland over the environmental impact assessment carried out for the M3 and Tara, he said the commission “as guardians of EU legislation, have no choice but to see each other in court” when all other efforts to ensure full compliance had failed.

Under the directive, member states are obliged to carry out EIAs before projects that could have a significant impact on the environment are authorised. This includes the treatment of a country’s archaeological heritage.

The commission considers Ireland’s approach to decisions involving the removal of historic structures and archaeological monuments to be in contravention of the directive, in a reference to the prehistoric henge at Lismullin, Co Meath, on the path of the M3.

Because this site was only identified in 2007, its significance could not be taken into account in an earlier EIA on the motorway project. The Government has argued that the ministerial direction to excavate and record it did not constitute part of the M3 consent. Legal arguments in the case opened last week before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

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