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6 November 2004
10,000 signatures delivered to preserve Hill of Tara

A large delegation from Save Tara Skryne Valley group (STSV) hand-delivered a written submission, including 10,000 petition signatures, to Minister for Irish Heritage, Mr. Dick Roche. The submission contains statements written on behalf of over 10,000 international historians and archaeologists, calling for re-routing of the M3 motorway, which needlessly passes through the Hill of Tara national monument. Signatories include the Archaeological Institute of America, the European Association of Archaeologists and members of the Government-funded Discovery Programme.
     Minister Roche is currently considering a recent request from the National Roads Authority (NRA) and Meath County Council to give directions under the new National Monuments Act, 2004, to begin excavations of over 40 archaeological sites in the Hill of Tara region. A decision is imminent according to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, and the Minister is asked to consult with Minister Cullen and find an alternative. The spokesman for the Save Tara Skryne Valley group said if legal action failed huge protests would be inevitable and he would be concerned about people’s safety in their efforts to save the National Monument.
     The submission puts Minister Roche on notice that legal action is set to commence if he proceeds, and calls on him to refuse directions and to send the proposal back to planning. It contains legal, historical and archaeological expert testimony that the NRA has made a fundamental error in failing to recognise that the motorway passes through the Hill of Tara national monument. It also lists alternatives, which include: re-routing the road, putting in bypasses of major towns on the N3 and re-opening the Navan-Dublin railway.

Sources: Indymedia.ie (3 November 2004), BreakingNews.ie (5 November 2004)

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