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SDLP Save Tara Private Members Motion in Northern Assembly
history and heritage |
Sunday February 17, 2008 23:48 by TaraWatch
Carmel Hanna, MLA, SDLP, has entered a Private Members Motion in the Northern Assembly, calling for a reouting of the M3 motorway away from the Hill of Tara
Campaigners are called on to lobby and help build an alliance that can assure this motion will succeed.
A Private Members Motion has been made in the Northern Assembly, calling for a rerouting of the M3 motorway away from the Hill of Tara, by Carmel Hanna, MLA, who is a member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). She is awaiting a date for debate. The motion reads as follows:
M3 Motorway, Boyne Valley - Private Members Bill - Northern Assembly
That this Assembly cherishes historical heritage; expresses its opposition to the proposed route of the M3 Motorway in the Boyne Valley, which will despoil the historic site of Tara and other national monuments in this area; and calls on the Minister of the Environment to liaise with her Ministerial counterpart in the Republic of Ireland, with a view to revisiting plans and presenting an alternative route, which will win acceptance among all interested parties.
Carmel Hanna has been very outspoken on the Tara issue. At a recent pro-Tara demonstration held in Belfast, she issued the following release:
Press Release. Carmel Hanna, SDLP, MLA, 8th. January 2008.
For more information and to lobby please see:
Hanna attends event at Giant’s Ring
Carmel Hanna MLA (SDLP-South Belfast) attended the event at the Giant’s Ring outside Belfast this morning to protest at the proposed M3 motorway through the Hill of Tara/Skryne Valley complex in County Meath. Speaking after the event, which consisted of Celtic music, song, poetry and harp playing by renowned harpers Marie Burns, Ursula Burns and Laoise Kelly, Carmel Hanna said:
“It is said that you can see 16 out of the 32 counties of Ireland from the Hill of Tara. Windswept, grass ramparts enclose the ancient seat of Ireland’s High Kings and nearby stands the Mound of the Hostages, a megalithic passage tomb.
Tara has been described as the heart and soul of Ireland where 142 of Ireland’s High Kings came to be crowned up until the 12th. century and where St. Patrick came in 433AD to light the Paschal Flame of Christianity.
Some of the archaeological monuments such as the tombs are 4,000 years old, dating back to the Iron Age and pre-dating some of the Egyptian pyramids.
Quite appallingly, Tara, Ireland’s premier national monument is now under dire threat from bisection by a proposed four lane, sixty kilometre motorway, a privatised toll road which would be routed between the Hill of Tara and the Hill of Skryne in the Royal County, Meath. The proposed motorway would pass through the complex of thirty eight sites associated with Tara which last June were placed on the list of “100 Most Endangered Sites” by the World Monuments Fund.
What we have here is a classic conflict between the consequences of modern prosperity and the obligation we have to act as trustees of our Irish heritage for the generations which will come after us.
Of course, we all rejoice in the economic transformation of the Irish Republic in the last few decades. It’s a sobering thought that half of the people born on this island since the Famine have had to leave it. Inevitably, prosperity has come at a price. Particularly in the greater Dublin area, people are having to commute long distances which were previously unthinkable, and towns like Navan, Kells, Drogheda and Dundalk have increasingly been drawn into Dublin’s commuter belt. Tara is only 30 miles from the centre of Dublin and it has been said that it would cut 20 minutes off commuting time. The M3 motorway is projected to run between Clonee and Kells and will supplement the two-lane N3. Inevitably the M3 will also bring increased traffic, mounting air pollution, urban sprawl and even more development.
But at what a price!?
As we all know, Ireland, north or south, has a poorly-developed public transport infrastructure.
I feel in my heart and my soul that there has to be a better solution than the M3 motorway. The M3 controversy has highlighted our over-reliance on the car and there have to be better options, whether by re-opening the direct railway line from Navan to Dublin, closed in the sixties, or upgrading the existing freight-only line from Navan via Drogheda to Dublin, or upgrading existing roads, or putting in bus lane networks.
If, at the end of the day, a motorway has to be built, as a very last and least desirable option it can be re-routed further to the west, well away from Tara.
The writer, Colm Toibin has said:
“The beauty and isolation of the valley, which has Tara on one side and Skryne, another historical site of some importance, on the other, will effectively be destroyed. A place of myth and mystery will look like anywhere. It is called modernization”.
“For commuters who drive each day to work in Dublin from towns and villages in County Meath, where Tara lies, it might cut 20 minutes off the journey. It will make them happy. But it seems almost beyond belief that Ireland, awash with new money and enormous economic confidence, cannot find another route for the road and leave for generations to come a heritage that has been left to us”.
Two out of three people in Ireland oppose the building of the M3 motorway, though I do acknowledge that there is local commuter support, for short-sighted convenience reasons.
As a party we have never failed to take a principled stance on issues which affect all the people of the island of Ireland and the M3 raises basic civil rights issues like:
Sovereignty and heritage. What is the duty of the State to protect the national cultural and environmental assets, owned by the people of Ireland?
Does citizenship place an active duty on you to take a legal action to protect national cultural or environmental assets abuse by the State and private developers? Environmental degradation. The European Convention on Human Rights has been interpreted to recognize “environmental rights”. Does that apply to Tara? Does the current policy of massive investment in private roads, and little or none in public transport going to lead to a more and more car-dependent State, and possible economic ruin when the oil runs out?
Cultural identity. What does it mean to be Irish? Do we have the right to enjoy and appreciate our national symbols like Tara and all associated with it, even the harp which is the national symbol of Ireland?”
Northern Assembly: http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/
Carmel Hanna: http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/members/biogs_07/hanna_c.htm
Green Party, Northern Ireland: http://www.greens-in.org/articles/?type=article
Ulster Unionist Party: http://www.uup.org/
Democratic Unionist Party: http://www.dup.org.uk/
Sinn Fein: http://www.sinnfein.ie/