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9 July 2005
Permission to challenge Tara Hill motorway plans

An environmental activist was granted permission in the Irish High Court to bring proceedings aimed at ensuring the re-routing of a proposed motorway away from the Hill of Tara (co. Meath, Ireland). Vincent Salafia was allowed challenge the treatment of 38 archaeological sites along the stretch of the proposed M3 motorway route near the world-renowned site in Co Meath. The case will be testing the validity of the directions given by Environment Minister Dick Roche under the National Monuments Act, 2004 for the excavation of the archaeological sites within the Hill of Tara complex.
     Campaigners, who have been seeking the protection of the site, are disputing a 14km section of the planned 62km M3 motorway which is scheduled to run alongside the former seat of the kings. Mr Salafia raised many constitutional issues in his application. He is claiming that certain provisions of the National Monuments Act are unconstitutional and are flawed because they fail to provide adequate protection for national monuments. Preliminary work, which began on the 38 sites in early June, included the stripping of topsoil and metal detecting under the supervision of consultant archaeologists working for Meath County Council and the National Roads Authority. Many of the constitutional issues raised by Mr Salafia will be determined by the Supreme Court in a judgement on 29 July, related to the controversial routing of the Southern Cross road at Carrickmines.

Sources: Online.ie, RTE News (4 July 2005)

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