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Green Party Circulation on Tara today

category national | history and heritage | news report author Wednesday July 25, 2007 18:42author by greenie Report this post to the editors

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?
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.

author by greenie eilepublication date Wed Jul 25, 2007 19:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

there were 2 documents circulated. here's the second one



The Committee has met on two occasions so far. The main outcomes of these meetings were as follows.

At the first meeting held on 27 June last the following issues were discussed:

>The Committee’s Terms of Reference

>How the Committee will operate;

>Options and techniques for surveying the site of the monument and the surrounding area.

>Works required in preparation for a geophysical survey;

>Potential risks to the site.

During the course of these discussions the following were agreed;

a)That an on-site inspection by the Committee should be conducted as soon as possible (this was set for 10 July);

b)Weather permitting, that the existing protective covers should be removed and that more suitable alternative covering be considered;

c)That part of the monument outside the road land-take will be investigated to the extent possible; the adjoining landowner has no objection to the surveying of his land;

d)That a geophysical “chariot” would be too heavy for such a delicate site and that the geo-physical survey will be conducted by hand;

e) Aerial photographic coverage of the site (both vertical and oblique) would be taken to provide the basis for a detailed topographical survey.

During the course of the meeting the Committee was also briefed on and discussed the proposed release of documents relating to the Ministerial Directions for Lismullin; the Minister’s indication of his intention to consult widely on future archaeological policy and practice; the need for strong policies to avoid secondary development, particularly in the vicinity of the Blundelstown Interchange; the possibility of developing a Management Plan for Tara along the lines of the Boyne Valley Management Plan; the potential for the Minister to influence decisions on proposed developments in his role as prescribed body under planning legislation.

The Committee agreed that recommendations relating to the protection and management of the landscape in the Tara area as a whole should be included in recommendations to be put forward by the Committee.

At the second meeting held on Tuesday, 10 July the discussion focussed on site conditions, future works and the timeframe for carrying out these works.

Site Condition:

It was agreed by the Committee that the site was in a very vulnerable condition, could not sustain or withstand preservation in situ and that, therefore, excavation is desirable and in the best interests of the archaeological remains. The archaeological remains are suffering, particularly from rain water ingress and though this will be ameliorated with the introduction of a new plastic cover (see below), once the site has dried out sufficiently excavation should proceed. ;

It was agreed that the existing covers on the monument would be lifted on Wednesday 11th July; 5 –6 larger, lighter and more suitable covers have been sourced and these will be put in place over the next few days to minimise unnecessary traffic across the site;

All metal grid pegs etc will be replaced with bamboos as the plastic cover is being removed;

Heavy rain has led to considerable silt deposits which create an extra layer of cover over parts of the surface of the monument; as part of the excavation strategy these deposits will have to be carefully removed without eroding or damaging the under-lying archaeological features;

Weather conditions will be the key driver in determining both the time-scale and the measures to be put in place to excavate the site

Future Works/Timeframe:

The geophysical survey will take place in phases – outside the landtake, inside the land-take but outside the area of the national monument and within the monument site itself (this latter pending approval from the Advisory Group (see below));

In the event that weather remains unfavourable then consideration will be given to the alternative of undertaking geophysical survey and excavation contemporaneously;

The first phase of the survey by a geo-physical company from the UK will commence on Wednesday 11 July;

The results of the phase one survey will inform the basis on which further phases are to be carried out. This will include an assessment of the value of carrying out geophysical survey on the current surface of the monument within the roadtake and a report in this regard is due by Friday, 13 July;

Aerial photography will take place but this is weather dependent

Geochemical analysis of the site will take place as the site is being excavated or beforehand if possible.

Subject to the initial geophysical survey report on 13 July and a recommendation that the geophysical survey over the area of the monument within the road take would have a value , the Committee will be asked by phone or e-mail to approve the geophysical survey of the enclosure over the weekend (14th and 15th of July); it has since been established that because of the weather conditions a geo-physical survey over this weekend would not be possible.

A revised, dedicated archaeological methodology statement will be prepared considering the exact nature and configuration of the known remains, the possibility of multi-periodicity and what may be anticipated based on excavation and survey of similar monuments elsewhere.

The Committee will meet again on 18th July to advise, subject to Ministerial approval on the detailed proposals for the excavation of the monument site, to commence, weather permitting, on 23rd July. This aspect of the work is expected to take around 12 weeks to complete.

In overall terms the Committee has agreed:

That the excavation of the site within the area of the road-take and the preservation in situ of the portion outside the road was the best archaeological practice.

That, given the vulnerable nature of the site, and the imminent threats to its degradation by natural elements that the excavation should proceed as soon as practicable.

A further, more detailed report will be prepared when the initial results from the first geophysical survey are known and the conditions on the ground improve sufficiently to allow the other proposed works to proceed.

The NRA will prepare a revised Method Statement reflecting the discussion on the excavation strategy for the site and the recommendations from the Committee in that regard;

That the Minister will be provided with further reports as necessary at significant stages of the excavation programme;

Related issues raised at this meeting were:

Possible engineering solutions for boundary treatment of the motorway in the vicinity of the monument;

Future of that part of the site outside the motorway land-take;

The related issue of lessening the visual impact of the motorway in the Tara/Skryne valley;

Re-examination of the current methodology of machine soil stripping ahead of archaeological excavation;

The longer term lessons to be learnt in this particular case in terms of in informing the Minister’s proposed overall review of archaeological policy and practice, with specific reference to the issue of defining and protecting archaeological/historic landscapes.

The NRA undertook to provide an engineering input on methods of dealing with the motorway boundary in the vicinity of the monument and can arrange for an engineer to attend a meeting of the Committee at an appropriate juncture;

The Minister’s decision to release the documents relating to the Directions given for Lismullin was also welcomed by the members of the Committee.

The Committee was also advised that certain legal issues have been raised by the EU and must be responded to by the Department.

Advisory Committee on Lismullin, National Monument,
13 July 2007.

author by Bikerpublication date Thu Jul 26, 2007 12:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Was there a covering letter providing a context for this circular ? In what manner was it introduced?

author by The Janitorpublication date Thu Jul 26, 2007 18:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

...to help this revolting medicine go down!

For Minister Gormley to have done anything worthwhile in relation to Tara I'm afraid he would've really needed to want to.

Pre-election promises on such emotive subjects as this and the Poolbeg Incinerator ensured that they would stand a chance at achieving some degree of power. Nobody believed for a second that they would sell their souls to the Devil (well his right hand man) as well as all the REAL green supporters in Ireland in order to be affiliated with FF. Anybody wonder why Patricia McKenna was in tears just prior to the announcement that they were joining FF. What is it - an extra 90K+ p.a. for a Ministerial post - or so Mary Harney said during an interview?

I'm Green and proud of it. Unfortunately the Green Party I voted for has decided that Green is the New Yellow and seems to have lost their Green values - Shame on you.

The saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me". It will never be 'shame on me' as I will never be voting for the current Green Party again and probably not any other alleged Green Party. Green candidates will be lucky to retain local county posts in the future let alone government.

How does it feel Minister Gormley to be at the behest of a man (BERTIE) that before this election repulsed you by his disregard of the Irish people and their country? How do you sleep at night? Are you finding people whom you referred to as friends have distanced themselves from you? No Minister, I don't expect answers to any of my questions because, no matter how important the questions are, the silence from the Green Party has been DEAFENING.

Another sickeningly sad day in Ireland!

author by Major Tom Tara supporterpublication date Thu Jul 26, 2007 22:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The documents on Tara appeared on the Dept of the Environment website but they were circulating among party members before that apparently.
Here are the links to the documents on the website:

This is the latest video link as well:

and check out the latest blogspot


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