As corruption charges are brought against Jim Kennedy and 4 former Co Dublin councillors, An Taisce calls on former Minister Martin Cullen to explain his role in delivering essential access to Jackson Way lands
An Taisce Press Release - 25 October 2010
Carrickmines Corruption Charges – An Taisce calls on former Minister Martin Cullen and others to answer for their role in delivering essential access to Jackson Way lands.
THE charges against four former Co Dublin Fianna Fail Councillors regarding rezonings are to be welcomed, as is the news that the Criminal Assets Bureau has also charged Jim Kennedy in relation to the Jackson Way offshore company holdings. Without wishing to prejudice the courts findings, An Taisce welcomes that these matters are finally coming before the courts and the Irish public.
As will be recalled, construction of the M50 Motorway was mired in controversy arising from the discovery of the extent of the immensely important archaeological site of Carrickmines Castle, a site subsequently recognized as a National Monument by the Supreme Court.
Much of the excavated castle site was in the path of a motorway junction, which was the fourth junction within five miles along a motorway, the primary purpose of which was supposed to be the bypassing of Dublin city. Notably this junction at Carrickmines was not connecting to any National Roads. As such it has long been questioned as to what the actual purpose of this junction was.
This key matter has been at the cockpit of the investigation into Jackson Way by the Flood Mahon Tribunal. According to the Irish Times report from the Tribunal, dated 28 March 2003, Mr. Willie Murray, the planning officer at Dublin County Council and then Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council during the 1990s, “told counsel he did not know who had decided in 1990 that there should be an interchange on the proposed South-Eastern Motorway at Glenamuck Road, which would service Mr Kennedy's land”. As also reported in The Irish Times on the following day, in reaction, the then Chairman of the Tribunal Mr. Justice Flood, stated “Mr Willie Murray had a capacity for saying he couldn't recall or remember what had happened during meetings he held with landowners seeking the rezoning of their land in Carrickmines. ‘Why didn't you take notes if you had such a poor memory?’ Mr Justice Flood asked.”
The issue of this junction is central to the Jackson Way controversy, as rezoned lands are of no use unless there is transport access.
Without the Carrickmines Junction, the Jackson Way lands would have remained inaccessible and be of very limited commercial use. It is therefore crucial that not only are the rezoning issues addressed before the courts, but also that those involved in the decision-making and the design process of the junction be identified and made to justify their actions.
When the substantial nature of the castle site was realized arising from the archaeological excavation, the then Minister for Environment and Heritage, Martin Cullen, had a variety of options open to him that would have saved at least most if not all of the National Monument.
Those options ranged from completing the motorway as planned but without an unnecessary junction, to curving the new road and saving the Monument in its entirety. However instead of adopting any such reasonable solution, the then Minister for the Environment (and heritage protection) Martin Cullen opted to allow completing the junction in its entirety, including developing the entrance to the Jackson Way lands, which involved building a roundabout that devastated the heart of the National Monument. Why such haste from a Minister charged with the protection and not the destruction of Ireland’s built heritage?
Although it is yet to be answered as to who was responsible for the original insertion and layout of the ‘Jackson Way Junction’, it is a matter of record that former Minister Martin Cullen ensured its completion by way of new legislation, which overturned the Supreme Court’s judgment. By that stage it was the Court’s verdict that there was a National Monument in situ, and equally, key questions raised in the Flood Tribunal were going unanswered. Land rezoning is one thing, but without transport access it is utterly useless – which is exactly what the controversial junction provided. Hence while there was system failure that led to the Carrickmines Castle / Jackson Way Junction fiasco, this could have been corrected except that Martin Cullen facilitated the development of an unnecessary junction that ultimately provides a glorified gateway to Jackson Way lands, at the cost of many millions to the Irish taxpayer.
As the most senior decision-maker involved in the finality of the outcome i.e., the destruction of the National Monument to allow the provision of access to the re-zoned land, it would now be timely that Mr. Cullen explains his role in relation to these key questions.
Issued on behalf of An Taisce’s National Monuments and Antiquities Committee
Mr. Charles Stanley-Smith, Chair An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
Dr Mark Clinton, Chair of An Taisce's National Monuments and former Site Director of the Carrickmines Archaeological Dig
Mr. Dominic Dunne, Carrickmines Supreme Court Plaintiff
Mr. Ruadhán MacEoin, former press advisor to the ‘Carrickminders’
Mr. Michael Smith, former Chairman of An Taisce