Iriswh Times 1 June 07/ Meath Chronicle 2 June 07
- Tara protesters claim injunction threat
Friday, June 1, 2007
TaraWatch campaigners protesting against the construction of the M3
motorway in Co Meath say an official from construction company SIAC
yesterday informed them a High Court injunction would be sought against
However, a spokesperson for Eurolink, the consortium which comprises
SIAC Construction Ltd, has denied it is seeking an injunction against
protesters and said it would only consider doing so as "a last resort".
But demonstrators at sites such as Soldier's Hill, Baronstown,
Collierstown and Lismullin, are concerned that "SIAC are rushing to
fill in archaeological sites before the Minister for Environment,
Heritage and Local Government makes his decision on whether to reroute
TaraWatch member Laura Grealish called for an independent
archaeological assessment of the sites as she believes many fulfil
similar criteria to the one the NRA recently classified as a national
monument at Lismullin.
However, Mary Deevy, archaeologist for the National Roads Authority
(NRA), responded: "Lismullin is a unique site . . . claims have been
made that other sites deserve the same archaeological status but no
evidence has been produced to support these claims to either us or the
Department of Environment. Our work is open to public scrutiny at
Meanwhile, a group of approximately 15 protesters, consisting of
members of TaraWatch, the Campaign to Save Tara and other individuals,
continue their protest. As one conservationist, Debbie Reilly, said:
"Not only will Tara's landscape be destroyed but more recent history
will disappear under concrete."
Eurolink has said it recognises the right to protest lawfully, but
construction workers also have the right to go about their work without
Meath Chronicle this week
Tara feature ‘is an early modern drain’
Thursday May 31 2007
THE feature on the M3 route - claimed to be a soutterain by Save Tara
activists last week - is an early modern stone lined land drain dating
from the 19th or 20th century, according to the archaeologists working
on the project.
Members of the Campaign to Save Tara and the Solidarity Vigil last
Saturday released a statement saying that they had discovered another
underground structure between the sites of Collierstown and Roestown
while scouting the Valley sites on Saturday, 26th May.
“This is obviously a man made subterranean site and was not picked up
by the geophysical survey,” they claimed. “This again shows the
inadequacy of the preliminary investigations carried out on the route.
“It is right in the middle of the route of the proposed motorway, at a
45-degree angle and what is visible is about 30 feet long. This was
revealed when the construction workers were using heavy machinery for
stripping topsoil in preparation for the hard-core of the road. There
is no evidence of archaeological activity in the area.”
The archaeological consultant and National Road Authority
archaeologists visited the site at Clowanstown and verified that the
feature reported as a souterrain is an early modern stone lined land
drain, probably dating to the 19th or early 20th century.
According to Mary Deevy, the chief archaeologist on the project, this
field drain was discovered last Tuesday by archaeologists monitoring
construction topsoil stripping.
The field drain is one of a number of such drains of various
construction techniques and dates that criss-cross the landtake in this
area, which is low-lying and very wet. These were noted previously in
the archaeological testing carried out in 2004.
Protesters who were attempting to prevent work going ahead on the M3
motorway at Dunshaughlin and Drumree last week were asked by Gardai to
desist from blocking the Dunshaughlin-Drumree Road near Readsland as
machinery attempted to move from the compound.
Protesters began their attempts to prevent work last Friday morning
week, at Roestown, and Gardai have been maintaining a presence since.
Work is continuing on the motorway, despite claims by the Tara
Solidarity Vigil and the Campaign to Save Tara that it had been
The contractors have put increased security in place on sites and
protesters last week complained of heavy-handed tactics as they
attempted a peaceful protest by sitting in the gateway of the compound.
Meanwhile, at Lismullin, the walls and piers at the entrance to
Lismullin House were daubed with graffiti saying ‘Opus Dei Saves Tara
Valley’, and road signs and election posters on the route into Navan
were also daubed ‘Save Tara’.
The Opus Dei organisation were the previous owners of the land on which
the recent National Monument find at Lismullin was reported to Minister
Yesterday (Tuesday), the Campaign to Save Tara was expressing concern
at construction activity at Collierstown and close to Baronstown, in
the Skryne area.
FF/Greens coalition represents best hope for rail project: MoT
Meath On Track believes an FF/Greens alliance could push for a 2012
start date for the long-promised rail line.
THE possible emergence of a Fianna Fail/Green Party Government over the
next two weeks might present the best chance of delivering a 2012 date
for the reinstatement of the Navan-Dublin railway link rather than 2015
as set out by the present Government, the Meath on Track lobbying
organisation claimed this week.
The group said that both parties gave the most favourable responses to
its questioning over the project during the lead-up to last Thursday’s
In any case, says MoT, it has managed to put the rail link firmly on
parties’ agendas. It commended the political parties for their response
to its lobbying campaign, but warned that the politicians must continue
in-party promotion of the rail project at national level.
According to Proinsias Mac Fhearghusa of MoT, the organisation welcomed
the positive nature of the rail debate and believed that commitments
given by the various parties during the campaign could lead to
reinstatement of the line during the five years of the next Dail term.
“In the run-up to the election, Meath on Track adopted and pursued a
strategy of eliciting unambiguous support for the rail project, both
from individual candidates and party transport spokespersons,” he said.
Previous elections had focused on Government failures to deliver the
project, resulting in public cynicism as to the likelihood of the
project’s advancement, MoT said. “The issue of failed deliveries was
gaining such prominence that there was a danger that it would
overshadow the real issue which is the worsening traffic situation
facing Meath’s commuters,” he added.
Mr Mac Fhearghusa said there was a strong sense that, if delivery of
the project was not the focus of the rail debate during the campaign,
then it might be overlooked.
“With public confidence diminishing that the line would reopen, we made
a conscious decision to try to move the focus from delivery failure to
delivery commitments. The danger was that if the Meath rail project
continued to be discussed in a negative fashion by focusing on missed
deadlines rather than positively as a piece of infrastructure critical
to the economic and social development of the county, fears over
delivery could become a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he said.
That strategy might pay off in the coming weeks as political parties
embarked on negotiations to form a new Government, MoT claimed.
It said that the possibility of changes in the political landscape at
Cabinet level, combined with commitments given during the campaign,
might have a profound effect on efforts to reconnect central Meath to
the national rail network.
Two significant developments had occurred, MoT said - a commitment by
Minister Noel Dempsey to push for a reconsideration of the 2015
delivery timescale on the formation of the new Dail, and the giving by
the Green Party of an “unambiguous” commitment to immediate
commencement of works on the Navan railway project if elected to
MoT said that it became apparent that, while some transport
spokespersons were being reticent in committing to fast-tracking the
Meath rail project, others were eager to detail their support for an
immediate commencement of works.
“With the Green Party now being seen as one of the parties most likely
to form the next coalition government, the pre-election commitment on
the Navan link may prove decisive in the campaign to fast-track
delivery of the railway.”
What was crucial from the Greens’ aspect, MoT said, was that its
transport spokesperson Brian Flanagan had the reinstatement of the
Navan link at the top of his priorities from the start.
(Editor, Meath Chronicle)
Dear sir- The next government will still have to grapple with trying to
solve the problem of finding an effective overall transport policy for
Dublin and its hinterland. If possible, this should be managed in such
a way as to meet not only the needs of Dubliners, the needs of
commuters and their families but also the continuing requirement to
protect and preserve our unique heritage and environment.
The recently discovered national monument at Lismullin lies directly in
the path of the proposed M3 motorway, just as the decision as to
whether to protect and preserve the Gabhra Valley (wherein the
discovery was made) will lie directly in the path of the next
government. The hills of Tara and Skryne, together with the Gabhra
Valley, are all part of an integrated archaeological landscape that
must be preserved from inappropriate development.
There is no absolute necessity for the present M3 motorway route and
its accompanying massive interchange at Blundelstown. There are still
viable alternative routes just as there are viable alternatives to the
motorway itself. These alternatives have been detailed many times over
(mass transit, upgrade N3, etc), and the first step should be to get on
with the necessary bypasses in conjunction with reinstating the rail
link from Dublin to Navan. These steps, together with possible
upgrading of the existing N3, would be more cost effective and more
John T Rooney,
Tara Heritage Preservation Group,