Minister Gormley Must Save Tara
Mr John Gormley, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Ireland
More Info at:
Published, 8 July 2007 by TaraWatch.org
The Hill of Tara archaeological complex, Ireland's premier national monument and most sacred landscape, is under dire threat from imminent bisection by construction of the M3 motorway. As Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, you have a constitutional imperative to give the highest level of statutory protection possible to the national monument. That includes all its individual components, many of which lie in the pathway of the M3, and are national monuments in their own right.
You were aware that the Director of the National Museum had stated that the massive enclosure at Baronstown should have been declared a national monument. Yet, it was demolished on your watch, after you ignored calls to place a Temporary Preservation Order on the site.
You have stated that you cannot alter the route of the M3, unless there is a "material change in circumstances", from those considered by Minister Dick Roche, who ordered the demolition of the newly discovered national monument; the Lismullin henge. There have in fact been many material changes, beyond the scope of the Lismullin file, including:
1. The inclusion of the Hill of Tara on the World Monuments Fund's List of 100 Most Endangered Sites is a material change in circumstances that was no considered by Minister Roche.
2. The fact that the EU has stated that the National Development Plan, as well as its M3 project, may be in breach of EU law constitutes a material change in circumstances. A report will issue in September 2007 from the Petitions Committee, and you should use the precautionary principle here, and halt the works in question, to prevent more irreversible damage to the delicate ancient remains.
3. The fact that an underground or 'souterrain' complex in Lismullin has been discovered is a material change in circumstances. It has been described as a "very significant" site by leading expert Professor George Eogan and should be declared a national monument.
4. The fact that you have been put on notice that the legal definition of a national monument is not being applied to these sites, or all monuments in Ireland, is a material change in circumstances. You have been advised by Conor Newman of a systemic flaw in the methodology for classification of national monuments currently being employed by the Chief State Archaeologist.
5. The Stern Report on the Economic Effects of Climate Change is a material change in circumstances that was not considered by Minister Roche, as it should have been. The M3 motorway was planned and approved in 2003, using radically outdated analysis.
Due to the above material changes in circumstances you now have the legal power under the National Monuments Act to protect the Tara complex and to re-route the M3 motorway. We demand that you immediately halt all works within the Tara complex and declare the entire complex, as well as all the monuments within it, to be national monuments. Stop the Tara scandal now