A large tree-cutting crew entered the woods in the tara-Skyrne valley to begin removing trees along the proposed pathway of the M3 motorway at a rapid rate, close to where a defensive camp is set up.
Amid demonstrations and a heavy police presence, a member of the tree-cutting crew received serious injuries from a falling tree on Tuesday. Demonstrators played no direct part in the accident, although it appeared health and safety regulations went unheeded by the tree-fellers.
Repeated pleas by campaigners for third party intervention and mediation in this escalating situation have been ignored over the last week. Demonstrators hope that such a process will begin immediately, before work resumes.
Meanwhile, supporters of the campaign are being asked to sign the online ‘National Monument of Ireland’ petition, below.
The petition can be signed at https://www.petitiononline.com/hilltara/petition-sign.html
To: Prime Minister of Ireland, Mr Bertie Ahern
Dear Taoiseach Ahern,
I object the planned routing of the M3 motorway through the Tara-Skryne valley, and the resulting despoilment this will cause to Ireland’s oldest and most revered national monument.
The archaeological importance of this area is beyond question. After seven years surveying the Hill of Tara and its 80km hinterland as director of the government funded Discovery Programme, Conor Newman said: “Tara is one of the most important and famous archaeological complexes in the world. All of our researches point to the valley between Tara and Skryne as an area of paramount importance throughout the history of Tara.”
More recently, 12 eminent Irish historians and archaeologists in letters to the Irish Independent and The Examiner wrote: “The Hill of Tara constitutes the heart and Soul of Ireland. Its very name invokes the spirit and mystique of our people and is instantly recognisable worldwide. The plan approved recently by An Bord Pleanla for the M3 motorway to dissect the Tara-Skryne valley, Ireland’s premier national monument, spells out a massive national and international tragedy that must be averted.”
Can anyone doubt the profound cultural importance of Tara and its unique landscape? A landscape honoured and revered by millions throughout the world today and countless generations of Irish people gone before us.
Nowhere else in Ireland is there a landscape that can claim the Tuatha de Danann, Celtic Gods and Goddesses, St. Patrick, Daniel O’Connell, Thomas Moore, heroes and High Kings from Fionn MacCumhail to Brian Boru, an archaeological complex of temples, tombs, enclosures and henges spanning five millennia, and a continuous place at the centre of Irish spiritual, cultural, political and literary history, as part of it’s fabric.
Yet it is through the very heart of this landscape, that Meath County Council, the NRA and the Irish Government wish to build a motorway, which will impact at least 141 known sites. According to Dr Conor Newman, this is just ‘the tip of the iceberg’.
Roads, of course, are necessary to relieving the nightmare of traffic congestion. However, in the absence of any plans to improve the Navan Road/M50 roundabout, the M3 project will not relieve congestion, it will merely move it from one place to another; plugging the worst bottleneck between Navan and Dublin even tighter. Spending 680m euros on an ineffectual motorway that will ruin Tara forever, cannot be described as progress; rather it constitutes wanton vandalism on a grand scale.
The National Roads Authority has released an estimate of 20m euros to excavate the route of the M3. I believe this figure could be closer to 100m euros, since there are more than likely so many monuments yet to be discovered, due to a low-grade geophysical survey carried out during the EIS.
I strongly object to this amount of Irish taxpayers money being used to dig up our prize national monument, and other national monuments all around the country, especially in light of the recent High Court finding that heritage protection regulations enacted by your Government are unconstitutional.
And so I am moved to ask you three questions:
1). The M3 plans include the construction of a 34 acre floodlit intersection (Blundelstown) a mere 1,090 meters from the Hill of Taras core zone (as defined by OPW); what has, or will, your Office do to preserve the national monument of Tara from this permanent defacement?
2). Why are the people of Ireland being asked to pay 1.3 billion (via toll charges and taxes) for a project estimated at 640 million, but which cannot demonstrably relieve congestion, will lead to more violations of the Kyoto agreement, and will damage our national heritage irretrievably?
3). What will your Office do to urge re-consideration of the currently approved route for the M3, and/or to engage in a process of generating alternative effective solutions to the very real problem of traffic congestion in the area, such as reopening the Dublin to Navan railroad?
I look forward to your reply, and in the meantime urge you, in your capacity as Taoiseach to oppose the imminent despoilment of Tara by the M3 motorway, and to do all you can in working for the reversal of this disastrous decision.