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On The Road to Hell - The Battle to Save theTara-Skryne Valley Begins

category national | history and heritage | feature author Saturday May 14, 2005 14:37author by redjade Report this post to the editors

'All hands on deck' sez Wag 'Stall them diggers'

No Alternative
But Legal Action

By Vincent Salafia
''The M3 will pass within 1,200 metres of the top of the Hill of Tara. A 52 acre interchange will be clearly visible from the Hill, and over 40 individual archaeological sites within the valley between Tara and sister hill Skryne will be systematically demolished by archaeologists using mechanical diggers. Then the bulldozers will finish the job.

Campaigners are now left with no alternative but to support a legal action that will seek a High Court injunction and judicial review of the Minister's decision.''

The Road to Hell
by Dr. Muireann Ni Bhrolchain
Spokesperson for
The Save Tara/Skryne Valley Campaign

The decision of the Minister of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to give consent to "a programme of archeological works" to proceed "at sites along a section of the proposed M3 motorway" will ensure that for this government the M3 will be the road to hell. This is the worst planning decision that has ever been taken by an Irish government. We will be the laughing stock of Europe and the World. The Minister had the power to protect the monuments in the path of the motorway - instead he has chosen to destroy. To destroy the heart of our premiere sacred, ancient capital. The Minister and the Taoiseach will become the 'Terminators of Tara' if this road goes ahead.

A statement on behalf of Edel Bhreathnach, Joe Fenwick and Conor Newman who have worked on the archaeology, history and literature of Tara since 1991 says: "Today is not only a dark day for Tara, but a dark day for Irish culture". It goes on to say: "This is a shameful decision that will have repercussions far and wide."

Despite warnings from all the experts, the advice given by the Halcrow Barry Route Selection Report and by archaeological companies employed to give the NRA advice the Minister has chosen to plough ahead with this horrific desecration of Ireland's premier sacred site. The Taoiseach and Minister Roche met with myself on April 27th and again I emphasised to them how unadvisable this route was. The new CEO for the NRA met with Edel Bhreathnach and Conor Newman over the past week but again all our arguments fell on deaf ears.

This is but one battle in the war to protect our heritage. The excavations alone could take years and will be an unnecessary expense. But the next step is to take the case to the European Parliament, to go court in Ireland and to the European Court if necessary. The protests will now be escalated far beyond the polite noises that have been made heretofore. We cannot continue to allow this Government to ride roughshod over our cultural heritage.

The Minister has the nerve to say: "The directions which I have given represent a measured approach. They are both comprehensive and onerous. They protect heritage".

But then the Taoiseach of this government said: "I don't know who was there five thousand years ago and I'm sure they were very significant people". Well the 350 academics who signed a statement presented to the self-same Taoiseach could tell him all about who these "significant people" were.

Sam Green of the Landmarks Foundation, New York said in his recent letter to the Irish Times: "What are these politicians up to? Are they not to be compared to the Taliban, who erased their past with dynamite? … The world is in awe of Tara, the world reveres Tara. The world is watching with disbelief."

Is this our gift to our future generations?


No Alternative But Legal Action
By Vincent Salafia

The world is shocked and appalled at the directions to proceed with the proposed route of the M3, given today by Dick Roche, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. Within hours of the decision, the LA Times, ABC News, BBC and the Guardian were featuring the story.

The M3 tolled motorway, approved by An Bord Pleanala in August 2003 is to run from Clonee to Kells, with two toll booths. The cost will be over 1 billion, with 30 million euros being allocated to excavate all sites within one year.

The M3 will pass within 1,200 metres of the top of the Hill of Tara. A 52 acre interchange will be clearly visible from the Hill, and over 40 individual archaeological sites within the valley between Tara and sister hill Skryne will be systematically demolished by archaeologists using mechanical diggers. Then the bulldozers will finish the job.

Campaigners are now left with no alternative but to support a legal action that will seek a High Court injunction and judicial review of the Minister's decision.

Numerous solicitors letters' have already been sent to: the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government; Meath County Council, the National Roads Authority, putting them on notice that the decision to proceed as planned would be illegal under Irish and EU law. Another possible Defendant will be the Public Private Partnership consortia that is awarded the contract to finance, design, construct and operate the Tara toll road. Several multinational companies are bidding on these contracts, including Kellogg Browne and Root, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Halliburton.

Legal advice is currently being taken and a challenge will proceed within the eight week Statute of Limitations time period. Now that directions, under the National Monuments Act have been given, the excavation contract will now be put out to tender. Cultural Resource Development Services Ltd is the company that is expected to be the only bidder on the contract. But that process must be complete before exavations can begin.

 #   Title   Author   Date 
   Statement on behalf of Edel Bhreathnach, Joe Fenwick and Conor Newman     redjade    Fri May 13, 2005 16:37 
   Pro-Tara-Skryne Campaigners at the Dáil and hear the news     redjade    Fri May 13, 2005 16:39 
   Query     John McDermott    Sat May 14, 2005 22:20 
   Tara     John    Sun May 15, 2005 09:54 
   John Dunaree     Sherlock Holmes    Sun May 15, 2005 11:30 
   Hypocrisy of the government stance     Rudiger    Sun May 15, 2005 14:13 
   Its an expensive pantomime.     john McDermott    Mon May 16, 2005 01:53 
   What's next     raghailligh    Mon May 16, 2005 10:27 
   To clarify     Dave    Mon May 16, 2005 10:29 
 10   You said it.     a different Dave    Mon May 16, 2005 10:50 
 11   Online polls are a joke, but fun to play with....     redjade    Mon May 16, 2005 16:32 
 12   FACT: cars kill people     kevin    Mon May 16, 2005 17:49 
 13   Please pay close attention!     clay    Mon May 16, 2005 22:15 
 14   The best part of the joke     John McDermott    Mon May 16, 2005 23:13 
 15   I don't want to be too pernickity but...     Liz    Tue May 17, 2005 20:16 
 16   The fools ,...the blind fools.     John McDermott    Sat May 21, 2005 02:02 
 17   despair in diaspora     gutted in montreal    Mon May 23, 2005 00:57 
 18   If the people do not rise,the destruction will happen     John McDermott    Tue May 24, 2005 22:31 


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