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Iriswh Times 1 June 07/ Meath Chronicle 2 June 07

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  • Dr. Muireann Ni Bhrolchain
    Tara protesters claim injunction threat Gillian Hamill Irish Times Friday, June 1, 2007 TaraWatch campaigners protesting against the construction of the M3
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2007
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      Tara protesters claim injunction threat
      Gillian Hamill

      Irish Times
      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
      them.
      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
      the M3."
      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
      www.m3motorway.ie."
      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
      interference.
      ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
      Meath Chronicle this week
      Tara feature ‘is an early modern drain’
      Meath Chronicle
      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
      stopped.
      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
      Dick Roche.
      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.
      Paul Murphy
      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
      election.
      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
      government.
      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
      environmentally friendly.
      Yours,
      John T Rooney,
      Tara Heritage Preservation Group,
      Parsonstown,
      Batterstown.
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