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Green Party Circulation on Tara today
history and heritage |
Wednesday July 25, 2007 18:42 by greenie
Gormley wriggles on the hook of tara
This document was circulated today to green party members.
squeeze a political rat and what do you get?
Tara information note
Questions and Answers
Can the Minister change the route of the M3 motorway?
No, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government does not have the power to reroute the motorway away from the Tara Valley. The route of the motorway was chosen by Meath County Council and the National Roads Authority five years ago, and approved by An Bord Pleanala in 2003. The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and local Government has no role in deciding on that route.
Many commentators and some politicians have confused the issue of preservation orders on archaeological sites with a power to order a re-routing of the road.
Under National Monuments legislation, the Minister has the power to impose preservation orders on specific sites, but this would not mean a rerouting of the road. At most, a small section of the route might be affected. It would not lead to a rerouting of the road away from the Tara Skryne Valley
Why does the Minister not impose such a preservation order on any of the archaeological sites along the route?
In order to impose a preservation order, Minister Gormley would first have to receive advice from relevant experts to do so. His stated intention is to act on the best advice available to him and he has said he is prepared to act on such advice if he receives it. However since he has entered office in mid June, he has received no such advice in relation to any of the sites.
By the time he entered office in mid June, the excavations had been completed on almost all of the 38 archaeological sites identified along the route, which amounted to preservation by record or the removal of all of the archaeological remains.
What about Lismullen. Why does the Minister not impose a preservation order on that site as it has been declared a national monument?
In the first place Minister Gormley’s predecessor imposed directions allowing for the preservation by record, or removal of the archaeological remains at Lismullen, which has been declared a national monument. Minister Gormley has received legal advice that he cannot reverse that decision unless he receives new important new additional information on the site, which was not in the possession of the previous minister. Again the Minister has received no such advice. He also took the decision to release the departmental files on Lismullen late last month, in order to ensure openness and transparency on the whole issue.
What advice has Minister Gormley received on Lismullen?
When he entered office, Minister Gormley appointed an expert committee to advise on the Lismullen site. The members include Conor Newman, the foremost archaeological expert on Tara and a long-standing critic of the current route, and Dr Pat Wallace, director of the National Museum who has also been highly critical of the current proposed route. This committee has advised that the remains at Lismullen are too fragile to remain in situ and must be recorded and removed.
What exactly is at Lismullen?
The surviving elements of the Lismullin monument consist of two outer circles and one inner circle of stakeholes (indentations in the ground) (15 - 20 cm in diameter), These stakeholes provide evidence for the existence in the past of a circular enclosure (80 m in diameter) with a smaller inner central enclosure (16 m in diameter). Two further rows of stake holes show evidence of an entrance and passage way from the outer enclosure to the inner enclosure. These archaeological features have been heavily truncated by ploughing in the past. The surviving features are shallow and fragile. The soil in which the stakeholes are located is particularly light and sandy. There is no structure above ground.
What is John Gormley doing to protect our archaeological heritage?
Minister Gormley has launched a major review of archaeological procedures and practices, arising out of controversies such as Tara. The aim of the review is to identify measures to further strengthen or heritage protection measures, and ensure best practice in the field of archaeology. It is the most wide-ranging review to have been carried out in this area.