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Government Creating 'Facts On The Ground' At Tara Hill Complex Despite Huge Opposition
meath | history and heritage | feature Sunday August 14, 2005 12:51 by eeeekkkkk
'Tara Day' Aimed At Protecting 38 Sites Planned For O'Connell Monster Meeting Anniversary
"Whilst Tara relies on its rich literature and associations, those that are insistent on this route rely on our ignorance of this same rich literature and associations. Whilst there is an almost unique abundance of history and lore associated with Tara, our Government has neglected it whilst sites such as the Céide Fields and Brú na Boinne have flourished, been respectfully developed and protected. Hopefully Cú Chulainn may yet be saved from turning in his grave, literally, during the valley's excavation."
Despite widespread opposition from hundreds of academics worldwide, from the Director of The Irish National Museum and from those activists bringing upcoming legal challenges (which have experienced delays) to the routing of a new tolled motorway through the Tara-Skryne complex, the Irish Government is creating facts on the ground by pushing ahead with hasty and crude excavations of the many sites of archeological interest on the proposed route.
The Tara-Skryne Valley Group, the main activist group opposing the planned motorway have called on the government to halt their pre-emptive work and to stop wasting Irish taxpayers money on wanton destruction of a whole area which they believe should be protected as a National monument.
Meanwhile the mainstream media here looks away and has largely failed to let the people of the country, who according to a recent poll are absolutely against this motorway, know that digging at the Tara complex has already begun.
Some Activists who are involved in the campaign link the issue to peak oil, the countdown to $100 per barrel oil, and criticise the insanity of massive private investment in tolled motorways at the expense of public transport which is severely underfunded at the present time.
Others adopt a more pragmatic approach and ask straightforwardly why a 2 1/2 km shorter and uncontentious alternative route (see orange line on this map), which would cost less, avoid costs associated with hasty archeology and which would most likely not be subject to delay and public expense due to court challenges was not chosen. This question remains unanswered in any coherent way and has led to the increased voicing of suspicions that vested interests have driven the route selection for commercial gain.
Some activists also believe firmly that corrupt officials and property speculation are behind this almost unbelievable slicing up of one of the most ancient and key symbols of the Irish nation.
Full Indymedia Ireland Archive On This Issue
VARIOUS VIEWS OF WHAT IS HAPPENING
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Recently I have visited one of the sites that are presently being excavated prior to the building of the M3 and I am very concerned at the way the archaeollogy is being treated, In my experience most archaeology is found on the surface to about a depth of around 1-2 feet and when about a metre is dug then rock bottom is reached. For this delicate work trowels are normally used not diggers. Judging by the dept of the trench and the methods used for this (a digger), I ask the questions 'Are the archaeologists really concerned about the preservation of the archaeology which may be there?' Are they doing the work of the Roads Authority and beginning work on the motorway? I have also asked the question from various government ministers as to why this route which is longer and will cost more to built has been chosen over a shorter less expensive route but nobody can give me an answer.
The motorway doesn't go straight because of the tolling - it has to intersect with the N3 south of Navan to maximise the number of motorists that will pay the tolls.
Look at the shape of it - it veers in a bevy south of Navan from Dunshaughlin -
What's the difference - there's a road there already?
The normal procedure in an excavation such as the rescue digs carried out at Tara is to strip the topsoil from the site in order to reveal the archaeology. In most agricultural landscapes in ireland the topsoil is heavily ploughed and disturbed so that no archaeology survives extant. It is all mixed up and any finds in this topsoil are uncontexted and so what they can tell us is limited. Once the disturbed layer of topsoil is removed the undisturbed subsoil or 'natural' is uncovered and it is in this 'natural' that sealed and intact archaeology can be found.
The use of diggers to strip topsoil in areas known to contain delicate high density archaeology however is questionable. Unless all the topsoil is systematically sieved many finds may be lost in the spoil heap. In the context of a research excavation topsoil would probably be removed by hand with a spade, in a systematic way and sieved grid by grid to locate any uncontexted topsoil finds in an approximate location. This would cost alot and take ages.
when people talk about "archaeologists" they are unwittingly refering to a very divided and disparate group of people. "archaeologists" include cut throat multimillionaire businessmen and women, acedemics of various shades, fieldworkers, skilled/unskilled/semiskilled, a host of directors, site supervisors, general operatives,on short term contracts/with permanent jobs, NRA employed, university employed, private company employed, company owners....
we are a very varied group with different interests, opinions, and politics.
Valerie J Keely earns several million a year, flies around in a helicopter and it is millionaire company owners similar to herself who stand to profit substantailly from the Tara motorway.
I earn 9.50 an hour in a short term/impermant job as an archaeological site assistant. I am against the M3, and so are many ordinary fieldworkers.
The archaeological contractors along the M3 have greatly assisted metal detectorists and other treasure hunters by helpfully identifiying the sites and leaving them open for several weeks now.
Has the NRA organised proper security for these sites...
I don't think so.
And now the NRA has awarded GAMA the Castleblaney roads contract... What's going on there then?
the race to $100 a barrel oil could be run by the time it's built. Those double tolls and lack of a cheap public transport option from navan to dublin will really rub it in if petrol costs take a significant jump.
"Disruption threatened over record oil prices
By Paul Anderson Last updated: 15-08-05, 18:10
The Government have been called upon to act on the continuing rise in oil prices by operators in the transport sector.
As oil hit a all-time high of €67 today, taxi drivers sought a 50 cent per mile surcharge to counter high petrol and diesel prices while truckers threatened nationwide blockades if the Government fails to reduce duty on diesel.
Oil reached $67 a barrel earlier today in trading though later slipped back to a price range of $66.40 and $66.59 for light crude.
Pressure on prices continued today after the US refused to rule out using force against OPEC's second biggest producer Iran over its recent revival of its nuclear programme.
The caution caused by the death King Fahd of Saudi Arabia - the world's largest producer of oil - allied to the situation in Iraq is pushing prices ahead.
Analysts say strong demand and a lack of spare capacity in producing countries and the refining industry is also pinning prices close to the $67 mark.
The effect on prices at the fuel pump in Ireland is being felt by drivers as petrol prices hit 108.5 per litre with diesel just a cent behind.
The National Taxi Drivers Union has formally asked the regulator for a 50 cent rise to help absorb the cost of fuel while the Irish Road Hauliers Association says it will blockade ports next month unless the Government agrees a 14-cent rebate on each litre of diesel."
Why give away roads to troll roaders with so much coming in? Why give away control of only feasable route to dublin? Why arrange it as a two troll trap?
"The threat from truck drivers and the request for taxi fare increases came as an AA survey showed that the price of petrol has risen by an average 3.2 cent in the past four weeks.
The mid-monthly survey revealed that the State-wide price for petrol now stands at 108.5 cent per litre, a record. Diesel prices also rose sharply since July, to an average 107.1 cent per litre.
The AA said petrol prices had now risen by over 14 per cent since January, meaning that for "an ordinary car doing ordinary mileage", the motorist was now paying an extra €246 per year or €20.50 every month.
"There seems no end in sight," according to AA public affairs manager Conor Faughnan. "With oil prices still rising, petrol and diesel prices are only going to get worse." Consumers could shop around, he added, "but that only helps so much when prices are rising everywhere".
Mr Faughnan urged the Government to reduce taxes on fuel, saying that while Ireland could do little about world oil prices or exchange rates, the fact remained that over 60 per cent of the retail price of petrol went to the Exchequer."
See and believe:
The eastern blue route is the current route.
Check out what this expert has to say
I'm writing this as a local from Meath. I live just outside a little village (Bective) half way between Navan and Trim. The M3 motorway directly affects me and others in my neighbourhood. Unfortunately many people have been led to believe that the proposed motorway will be going through the Hill of Tara. This is not the case. The proposed motorway is actually going to be located further from the Hill than the existing N3 route. The proposed motorway is the lesser of all evils.
Attempts to move the motorway further west will result in the bulk of the population not wanting to use it. It will be too far for them to reach considering those people living on the eastern side of the N3 will comprise the bulk of users. They will still end up using the N3 anyway rendering the M3 pointless. Further west than that will add at least 10 kms to the journey and will compromise the proposed train route as it will have to negotiate not only the train route but the river Boyne and it's valley as well as the Tara Monument and the villages of Dunsany, Kilmessan, Drumree, Bective, Cannistown and Kilcarn/Balreask. Attempts to move it east will mean it will not be able to bypass the towns of Navan or Dunshaughlin efficiently (removing traffic from the towns).
A simple bypassing of the said towns but leaving the rest of the road intact would actually be disastrous. One of the main distress points along the existing route is at the end of the motorway at Clonee. The problem is due to two lanes of traffic merging into one. Simply bypassing Dunshaughlin and Navan will only have the effect of moving the trouble spots from the approach to the towns to after the towns where the traffic will once again have to remerge.
Plans to upgrade the existing N3 are ridiculous. To cater for the traffic this would mean widening the road. If anyone has travelled along the road they would know that it would mean knocking down schools, pubs, houses, businesses etc. Imagine the cost of the road then and the inconvenience that would cause?
The people of Meath are being forced to travel for 6 hours (bearing in mind it's only 28 miles to Navan - that's less than 10 miles an hour) a day on top of an 8 hour working day. This debate is impacting very heavily on the people who have no choice but to use this motorway every day, it is not just a nuisance but something which is seriously eroding quality of life. We need more facts and less slogans - but above all, we need a functioning transport system. I believe the M3 provides this solution without undue harm being caused to Tara. The people of Meath don’t just want the motorway – they need it.
But your figures are wrong.
Going west of Tara would not add 10kms to the M3 - it could be done at equal or less distance.
The M3 has to cross the Boyne near Bective anyway.
The M3 crosses the railway alignment and bridges it already.
Trim could be linked into the M3 - there is no population between Navan & Dunshaughlin so adding to the the projects viability by adding Trim would help.
However, I do take your points that upgrading the existing road is not a solution.
Houses all along the route would have to be CPO'd to widen the road, and the construction works would cause havoc.
However, the biggest threat to the actual success of the M3 from a users perspective is the double tolling, not an alternative route.
The M3 should have gone to the west of Tara. It was in the planningprocess at the same time as the N2 to Ashbourne - if it had taken a westerly route it would have been built by now..
There are no winners here at all..