Meath Chronicle Letter - How would 1916 heroes feel about Tara?
- How would 1916 heroes feel about Tara?
(Editor, Meath Chronicle)
Dear sir - First the Tara brooch-shaped building for Trim and now an
anxiety to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising. Noel
Dempsey is suddenly aware of our heritage. I wonder how those brave
men and women would react to his recent decisions?
We know how Arthur Griffith would react. The minister declared
himself a lover of Tara and a history graduate during his speech to
the Dáil on November 23rd 2004. It must have come as quite a shock to
him that most renowned Irish historians in the world do not agree
with his decision to try to forge a twice-tolled motorway through
Tara's "surrounds" (the Gabhra Valley).
He said during his speech: "Like everyone else in the House, my
location and family place is a central point of reference in my life,
in my mental map and my sense of heritage.
The fact that I am a history graduate adds to my fascination with
history, heritage and the past.
"Ireland, indeed Europe, has few sites as significant historically as
It is part of our ethos, our memory and our archaeological wealth. It
is part of what makes us Irish. Some may think that is over the top,
but I do not.
"I would never and could never do anything or support a
policy that would be to the detriment of Tara or its surrounds. I
venture to say that no one from County Meath would do so. No one is
more committed to guarding our heritage and our history. I speak not
just for myself but for Meath people generally. I believe it is our
collective duty to protect our heritage and our history in a way that
serves the needs of our citizens in the present and into the future."
Replying to Deputy Eamon Gilmore he stated: "The truth hurts. The
road would not be there only I started it."
Deputy Gilmore: "The truth hurts. Is the minister taking credit for
it?" Minister Dempsey: "I am, yes."
Refreshingly honest of him to admit that he will go down in history
as the minister responsible for the destruction of the site that he
considers "part of what makes us Irish". How "Irish" can he get?
When Lord Deputy Mountjoy marched into O Néill land in 1602 after the
defeat at Kinsale, he destroyed their inauguration chair. What have
the people of Ireland done to deserve this destruction?
Minister Dempsey is certainly living up to his surname. Ó Díomsaigh
from díomas (pride, arrogance, contempt).
DR MUIREANN NÍ BHROLCHÁIN
(lecturer in Celtic studies)
PRO Save Tara Skryne Valley Group,
58 Laurence Avenue,