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EU officials call for halt to Tara M3 works

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Sceala Irish Craic Forum Discussion:     EU officials call for halt to Tara M3 works

Irish MEP Kathy Sinnott earlier this month claimed the M3 construction work near Tara was illegal under EU law, and the project needed a new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
A EIA was carried out in 2003, however that was carried out under the basis that that no national monument lay in the motorway’s path. That is no longer valid because recentlty a national monument site was discovered. The Lismullin site, thought to be more than 2000 years old, was discovered during work on the road project in April and was later given national monument status.
Now EU officials have called on the Government to halt work on part of the M3 motorway after concern was expressed about the impact on Lismullen ruins near the Hill of Tara.
Marcin Libicki said that in light of the 2000-year old ruins found at Lismullin, work on that section of the project should be halted and a route review carried out.
Mr Marcin Libicki of the European Parliamentary Assembly said Europe’s common heritage must be protected.
“Several members [of the committee] voiced concerns about recent developments related to the M3 project at Tara and Lismullin and the Skryne Valley, Many members, including myself, share the view that in the light of the discovery of previously unrecorded, yet vitally important archaeology on the current route at Lismullin and nearby, urgent action is needed to halt existing works in this area and to review the routing of this section of the M3 motorway. I am very much aware of the fact that there are many complex factors to be taken account of in ordering a review but I trust the outcome will be a decision which complies with Ireland’s obligations under EU law and which respects and protects a most important feature of Europe’s common heritage,” he wrote.

A spokesman for Mr Gormley said an immediate reply was issued to the letter, in which he stressed his powerlessness to re-route the motorway, but reiterated his desire to properly excavate the fragile Lismullin ruins. Following advice from the Attorney General, Mr Gormley said he had no power to review the order and state archaeologists claimed the ruins were too fragile to be preserved. The spokesman added construction work at the site had been suspended during excavationsaid the minister’s concern was the proper excavation of the Lismullin ruins and he is seeking legal advice on the EIA situation.

Meanwhile Ms Sinnott called on the Government to stop all work in the Tara vicinity immediately. “I urge Minister Gormley, who I know has a great personal concern for Ireland’s heritage to make that concern public and join me and the Petitions Committee in forcing the Government to suspend all works around Tara until the legal issues are resolved, This Government must be prevented from destroying an important part of our heritage.”
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