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21 October 2007
'National monuments' found on Irish hill

The campaign by the Irish Hill of Allen Action Group in relation to the quarrying of the hill by Roadstone took a new twist last week, with the claim that two national monuments are located at the summit of the hill. In a recent statement, the action group said that 'shocking new evidence' had been uncovered, in the form of an ancient burial chamber (cist) and a burial mound (tumulus) at the summit. Moreover, the monuments are listed on documentation held in Kildare Co Councilís own heritage section, although no reference to them has been made to date in any of the councilís statements on the Roadstone issue.
     The action groupís statement continued: "These ancient and fragile monuments, protected by the National Monuments Acts, are within the boundaries of the quarry operated by Road-stone at the hill."  It went on to claim that while the monuments in question were listed in the statutory Record of Monuments and Places (a list compiled by the Archaeological Survey of Ireland), they did not appear on Roadstoneís registration papers or maps when they registered the quarry with Kildare County Council in 2006. According to Miriam Mulcahy from the action group, the only monument of any significance in the vicinity of the hill acknowledged by Roadstone in their quarry registration was the tower. Any monument listed in the RMP is protected under the National Monuments Acts and the onus is on the landowners to be informed of the existence of recorded monuments on their land. Damage to a monument listed in the RMP is a criminal offence, subject to steep fines and possible imprisonment.
     "It appears that Roadstone and Kildare County Council are simply pretending that the monuments do not exist. If the parties do not acknowledge them, they are not protecting them either," said Ms Mulcahy. Kildare County Council said last week (prior to the claim in respect of the monuments) that an agreement recently negotiated with Roadstone in relation to the Allen quarry would be signed in the near future and would then form an entry on the planning register and become public information.
     Asked this week for a comment on the latest developments, a council spokesperson said: "The Hill of Allen Action Group has not made the council aware of any findings and it would be advised to do so. As things stand, Kildare Co Council cannot comment on the issue." Yet the Hill of Allen Action group maintains that the existence of the burial chamber and mound is verified by documentation held in the councilís own offices. ďThe Record of Monuments and Places (RMP) should be held by the planning or heritage offices in each local authority. The documents, including maps and listings, clearly identify the Hill of Allen as the location of 'Tumulus, possible site' and 'Cist site'.

Source: Kildare Nationalist (18 October 2007)

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