Saturday, May 19, 2007

From Dr Muireann Ni Bhrolchain, Friday 18th May:

''Hi all, To keep you updated - this morning and throughout the day the Vigil and some Campaign members stopped construction machinery from entering the site at Roestown. This was the first real attempt at construction and it was stopped. They simply sat in front of the machines. The Gardaí were called but they judged that no law was broken and that they had a right to stay. Which they did - all day. But this will continue all week and they need to stopped until the election is over. The media was alerted and some responded. Hopefully there will be photographs in one or two tomorrow. I would like to express my personal thanks and admiration for the actions taken today.

On another note, the leafleting is going very well but we could do with more people involved. Thank you to those from previous groups and campaigns who are helping. Your local knowledge is invaluable. I'm sure that people will be pleased to hear that the response in general is incredibly positive and the public believes that the road should now be re-routed as a result of the discovery of the henge.There has been quite a lot of media coverage again over the last few weeks as is clear from all the posts here''

You can support us by attending:

'CELTIC SPIRIT: STAND UP TO CELTIC TIGER':A fundraising gig for the Campaign to Save Tara will take place on the 23rd of May at 9PM in An Púcá Eyre Sq. Galway.Some of the artists taking part: Nicola Williams,Little John Nee, Gypsy jazz band, Samba Band,Poetry, Storytelling and More!!!Fancy Dress- Celtic theme!

At the moment and despite the opposing views of two thirds of the population, despite the views of 350 academics and despite the fact that ancient site after ancient site have been uncovered on the route, the government's obstinacy insists on continuing with this disparaging and disrespectful project.We call on the Spirit of the Celtic People (by birth or by adoption) to stand up to the ravaging and compulsive hunger of the Celtic Tiger, and to support Tara as a symbol of open space, dignity and integrity.

10 Euro's admission
8 Euro's Concession


By helping us with leafleting in these last critical days


By taking part in daily demonstrations at the sites where construction work is attempting to begin

If you would like to get involved contact:

info at savetara dot com

blog at savetara dot com

Monday, May 14, 2007

PRESS RELEASE – Monday 14th May 2007

Launch of Campaign to Save Tara’s Political Strategy

Calling on Electorate to 'Vote for Tara'.

The Campaign to Save Tara’s election strategy was officially launched on Monday 14th May at the Ardboyne Hotel in Navan. The Campaign endeavors to use every democratic means available to prevent the destruction of the Gabhra Valley through the promotion of the viable integrated transport alternatives which are still achievable, or the re-routing of the M3. It is particularly pushing for the immediate building of the by-passes at Dunshaughlan, Navan and Kells and the immediate re-opening of the Navan rail connection.

Since the discovery of the new national monument at Lismullen the Campaign has enjoyed widespread publicity and the issue is now very much on the local and National agenda. The Campaign maintains that it is Government arrogance and ineptitude that has created this situation, and that what is essential now is an independent archaeological assessment of the entire route through the Valley, and particularly of the Lismullen and Rath Lugh monuments.

Duncan Stewart at the press launch

The electoral strategy was outlined by Michael Canney: "We are asking people to consider each candidates and party's position on the route at the ballot box. We will encourage people to vote for the candidates who provide written commitments that they will support a review of the route, if they are elected to government. This whole road from start to finish has been a fiasco, characterized by a colossal waste of taxpayer’s money and motorist’s time."

Dr Muireann Ni Bhrolcháin, senior lecturer in the School of Celtic Studies, National University of Ireland in Maynooth and long term campaigner on the issue, said “The Tara issue is the line in the sand. If the Gabhra Valley is not safe- nowhere in Ireland is safe from future development in the spurious name of progress. It is physically distressing to see huge sites being excavated in such haste".

Duncan Stewart, the well-known environmentalist and television presenter also spoke at the event: 'The M3 is the worst example of unsustainable development- this artery will encourage more sprawl and development in Meath. The developers will be the only ones to benefit and it will delay, if not prevent the re-opening of the more desirable railway line'

Other speakers at the launch included Julitta Clancy of the Meath Archaeological and Historical Society and Eamon Matthews of the Fair Green Campaign in Navan.

The Campaign also presented their literature for the election. The main leaflet is a high-quality pamphlet that outlines in detail the heritage, environmental, planning and archaeological aspects of the M3/Tara issue. 40,000 of these have already been distributed with another 40,000 to be distributed over the next ten days. The launch also featured large format photographs of the Valley commissioned by the Campaign. These clearly show that now almost all of the archaeological digs now back onto one another, proving that the Valley is a interrelated complex of monuments.

For verification please call Michael Canney on 086 8528200

We have now received written commitments to re-route the contentious section between Dunshaughlin and Navan from:

The Labour Party ,The Green Party, Sinn Fein. Independent candidate Phil Cantwell is also in favor of rerouting the road.

Fianna Fail, the Progressive Democrats and Fine Gael are currently in favor of the route through Tara.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Táimid ag glaoch ar Éireannaigh uile, ar thírghrátheóirí agus ar chosantóirí ár gcultúr agus ár n-ionnanas náisiúnta. Glaonn Éire ort anois, in am an ghátair, cabhrú linn príomhionad ársa na tire a chosaint. As seo a d’eascair the siombail náisiúnta – an chruit agus an seamróg.

Calling all Sons and Daughters of Erin, all patriots and defenders of our cultural and national identity, Mother Ireland calls upon you now in her hour of need to help protect her ancient Capital and the very birthplace of our national icons the Harp and the Shamrock!

Please Pass this blog address on to all those of Irish descent and to all who value world heritage and culture!

The current proposed route of the twice-tolled M3 motorway through the Gabhra (Tara/Skryne) Valley in County Meath will run within 1 kilometre of the Hill of Tara. Within sight of the top of the hill, one of the largest floodlit interchanges in Ireland is planned for the area of Blundelstown where the motorway will cross the existing road, the N3. This road will bring air, light and noise pollution to one of the most scenic, peaceful and beautiful areas of Ireland, indeed the world, destroying in the process the priceless archaeological legacy of Tara's glorious history and the sacred cemetery of our ancestors and kings

We cannot allow this to happen! Help us to reroute this motorway away from the valley and inform the commuters of Meath and Ireland of the many viable transport alternatives!

What is the historical significance of the Hill of Tara and Gabhra Valley?

‘[Tara] is one of only a small number of monumental complexes that are of more than usual cultural importance from the standpoint not only of archaeology but also of history, mythology, folklore, language,place-names study and in the case of Tara, even of National Identity.’

Dr. Patrick F. Wallace, Director, National Museum of Ireland, in correspondence with Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche 16th March 2005

Tara is our ancient Capital. The undisputed evidence of medieval Irish sources, dating from circa AD600 onwards, ranks Tara as the pre-eminent pagan sanctuary and centre of kingship in Ireland.

The Lia Fáil

It was on the summit of the Hill of Tara that the ancient kings of Ireland were coronated, entering into ritual ‘marriage’ with the land, personified as the Goddess of sovereignty, Medb. The Lia Fáil (Stone of Destiny) located on the summit was said to roar when Ireland's rightful king touched it or drove his chariot against it. Evidence of this landscape’s use as a burial ground and temenous ‘temple sanctuary’ dates back to at least the Neolithic age (6000-4000 BC). The Mound of the Hostages, located on the hill, dates from this period and predates both Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids.

The Mound of the Hostages

The chamber within the Mound is perfectly aligned with the full moon of Lughnasa(Autumn) and the rising sun at Samhain(Winter) and at Imbolg(Spring) making it one of the oldest astronomical observatories in the world . Under this chamber lie at least two hundred burials dating back 3,500 years.

The Hill of Tara was the focal point of a larger ritual and political landscape, with associated settlement sites, burial grounds and more religious sites, extending into the surrounding countryside. In early prehistory(c.4000-1500 BC) these tend to be particularly concentrated in the fertile and well-drained Gabhra valley between the Hills of Tara and Skryne.

It is now understood and accepted by all leading national and international academic authorities, that the Hills of Tara, Skryne and the Gabhra Valley constitute a unified archaeological and cultural landscape.

Tara and the Gabhra Valley's central role in the construction of our cultural and national identity is reflected in the prominence given to the landscape in early Irish literature. The four saga cycles of early Irish literature, Mythological, Ulster, Fiannaíocht and Cycle of the Kings intersect in the lore of the Gabhra valley.

The legendary final battle of Fionn Mac Cumhail’s Fianna with the forces of king Cairpre Lifechair, son of legendary king Cormac mac Airt, is said to take place in the Gabhra valley. Cairpre, Oscar son of Oisín and the rest of the decimated Fianna are said to be buried in the valley. Cú chulainn’s right hand, head and gold shield panel are also said to be buried at Tara.

Gabhra and Achall (Skryne) is where Cormac mac Airt lived and died, building Achall for himself in his old age, when due to the loss of an eye, he could no longer live in Tara, as blemished kings cannot reign. Lug, the most revered of early Celtic Gods is made king of the Tuatha Dé Danann in the Banqueting Hall on top of the Hill of Tara. Similarly, Tara is the scene of the heroic feats of such kings as Conn of the Hundred Battles, Niall of the Nine Hostages and Conaire Mór among others.

St.Patrick's statue on the Hill of Tara

It is said that in 433AD St.Patrick confronted king Lóegaire and his court at Tara with the Christian message. Legend also states that Patrick first used the Shamrock to explain the Divine Trinity at Tara.

Indeed our national icons the Harp and Shamrock are said to originate from Tara. The powerful symbol of Dé Danann supremacy- the Harp of the father-god, the Daghdha, was said to reside at Tara. This magical Harp was later to become an emblem of the Uí Néill kingship at Tara and eventually Ireland.

Tara’s status as Capital and symbol of Irish sovereignty led king Malachy II to fiercely defend the Ferann Ríg or ‘royal demesne’ from the invading Amlaíb Cúarán, Norse king of Dublin, in 980AD.

The United Irishmen gathered on the hill and battled British forces there during the 1798 rising. The graves of the rebels are buried on the hill itself. To mark their graves, the ancient Lia Fáil was moved from near the Mound of the Hostages to Rath Cormac.

Daniel O'Connell 'The Liberator'

On the 15th August 1843 Daniel O’Connell, conscious of Tara’s illustrious history and importance to nationalist Ireland, convened a Monster meeting at the hill calling for the repeal of the Act of Union. Ceremonial floats, banners, a trumpeter on horseback and a harpist playing on a horse drawn carriage accompanied the mile long cavalcade of O’Connell to the hill where he gave a rousing speech. An estimated three quarters of a million people attended the event.

His speech was reported thus:

"Tara is surrounded by historical reminiscences which give it an importance worthy of being considered by everyone who approaches it for political purposes and an elevation in the public mind which no other part of Ireland possesses, O’Connell proclaimed to the vast throng. We are standing upon Tara of the Kings, the spot where the monarchs of Ireland were elected, and where the chieftains of Ireland bound themselves by the solemn pledge of honour to protect their native land against Dane and every stranger. This was emphatically the spot from which emanated every social power and legal authority by which the force of the entire country was concentrated for national defence. On this important spot I have an important duty to perform. I here protest in the face of my country and my God against the continuance of the Union."

In 1899 a group known as the British Israelite’s, looking for the Ark of the Covenant, did great damage to the Rath of the Synod’s(on the summit of the hill) in their attempts to excavate the monument.

A letter was sent to the Times in London by Douglas Hyde, George Moore and W.B. Yeats that said:
‘Tara is, because of its associations, probably the most consecrated spot in Ireland, and its destruction will leave many bitter memories behind it’.

Not since then has there been such an attack on Tara...

What is the problem with the proposed route of the M3?

The present route of this motorway is destined to destroy the landscape of Tara; the Gabhra Valley between the Hills of Tara and Skryne.

The current motorway route needlessly veers east between Dunshauglin and Navan, entering the Gabhra Valley. As a result this proposed route will cost an extra 50 million euro to build, adding an extra 7km to the Meath motorist's daily commute.

M3 Routes- The blue route was chosen by the government

The proposed road itself is a four lane, double-tolled motorway that cuts a swathe through what is still a relatively rural and tranquil part of Co. Meath. The road will inevitably be followed by massive construction projects, particularly around the Blundelstown interchange.

The current County Development Plan does not offer adequate guarantees as to how such development will be regulated.

There is also the wider question of how this road will affect the economy and the whole community of Co. Meath and the wider region. Meath County Council has acknowledged that the county is a textbook example of unplanned and unsustainable development. A massive motorway, encouraging more commuting and suburbanisation, will further undermine an already fragile local community and economy.

Tourists come to Tara to experience its beauty and peace and to marvel at the history of her landscape, all of which will be spoiled forever. Meath's tourist industry and economy will inevitably suffer.

Why was this route chosen?

Many observers were surprised and shocked that more direct, cheaper and less destructive route options were not seriously considered.

A number of very large land deals took place along the proposed route even before it was made public and speculative activity has increased dramatically since then. This leads to concerns about the future use of these lands, as much of the area is now in the possession of property developers.

Nobody can say for certain at this stage that there are any corrupt or illegal activities connected with the proposed route of the M3, but it is a real possibility that there could be an ‘M3 Tribunal’ in the future.

Currently there is also speculation that the Blundelstown (Garlow Cross) junction will, in the near future, become an interchange for a planned new Dublin outer orbital motorway. Any new orbital motorway would make the whole M3 enterprise a very costly white elephant.

Conor Newman, archaeologist and member of the 'Discovery Programme', a state funded research programme on Tara, had this say:

“...Tara is one of the most important and famous archaeological complexes in the world. You may have been expecting me to say ‘most important in Ireland’ or maybe ‘most important in Europe’ but the fact is Tara commands a place on the world stage. This is not hyperbole, it is a statement of fact. As such, it is a major cultural and heritage resource, one that is only really beginning to be developed and exploited as such.”

The government, the National Roads Authority and Meath County Council have ignored the advice of their own experts over the proposed route.

In the route selection for the Navan-Dunshaughlin section, the archaeological company owned by Margaret Gowen Ltd. said:

The monuments around Tara cannot be viewed in isolation, or as individual sites, but must be seen in the context of an intact archaeological landscape, which should not under any circumstances be disturbed, in terms of visual or direct impact on the monuments themselves” (N3 Navan to Dunshaughlin Route Selection, August 2000, paragraph 7.3)

The proposed motorway transgresses into this landscape and will, therefore, destroy the spatial and visual integrity of the archaeological and historical landscape of Tara, as well as removing from it key component monuments like Rath Lugh.

The same company said when advising the route selection company, Halcrow Barry:

“It would be virtually impossible to underestimate the importance or the sensitivity of the archaeological and historical landscape in this area” (Margaret Gowen and Co. Ltd., N3 Navan to Dunshaughlin Route Selection: Archaeology, August 2000, 3.1).

This route was chosen despite the fact that the Discovery Programme, a state funded research programme on Tara, expanded the core zone of protection to a 6 km diameter around the Hill. The planned motorway cuts into this zone of protection. Tara is recognized as having a number of defensive outposts, including one called Rath Lugh which would be divided from Tara by the motorway and would sit isolated on the edge of the road.

To walk the royal grounds of Tara in peace and tranquility is the birthright of every Irish man, woman and child. It is our birthright to walk the same green ground once walked by our High Kings.

Gabhra Valley seen from Rath Lugh

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and his ministers plan to toll us twice for the privilege of entering this landscape on a motorway that will destroy the priceless archaeological evidence of ancient Ireland's past. The peace,quiet and birdsong that has reigned in the Gabhra valley for thousands of years, even through the numerous waves of invasions and colonial rule, will be gone forever.

The Gabhra stream

One of the old names for the hill is Druim Caín 'The beautiful Ridge'. Another is Druim na Descan 'The Ridge of the Outlook'. On a clear day it is claimed that features in half the counties of Ireland can be seen from atop Tara.

If Taoiseach Ahern and Minister for the Environment Dick Roche have their way the smog and pollution of the all too close motorway will ensure that future generations will no longer be able to call Tara by this ancient name.

What is happening in the Gabhra Valley at the moment?

An ancient burial ground, comprising of stone-built underground chambers, has been dismantled and removed from Roestown:

Roestown - what once was

Gaming Board form Roestown. Indicates it was ''A very high class site probably inhabited by a king"-Celtic scholar Dr Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin. Under Celtic laws the use of such gaming boards was confined to royalty.

The perimeter of the National Monument at Rath Lugh has been damaged creating a huge swathe of destruction:

The slope of Rath Lugh

Rath Lugh destroyed. Scar on a beautiful, royal landscape

On May 1st at Lismullin a Henge was discovered and declared a new National Monument by Environment minister Dick Roche after consultation with Pat Wallace, director of the National Museum.

The Henge is shown covered in plastic

This monument was found within 100 metres of Rath Lugh. Henges are generally used for ceremonial activity and this directly links the Valley with the top of the Hill of Tara where a similar henge was found by the Discovery Programme archaeologists Conor Newman and Joe Fenwick. It would most probably have been used for rituals in either the Iron Age or Bronze Age. The henge is almost 80 metres in diameter and comprises of two concentric circles. It would also appear that there are underground passages associated with the monument.

The amended National Monument Act of 2004 gives the Minister permission to destroy this priceless cultural treasure.

It was the Campaign to Save Tara that informed the Musuem of the site's potential significance. It is known that the Museum immediately contacted the National Roads Authority seeking information on the find.

Update 10-5-07- It seems Minister for the Environment Dick Roche - who was apparently informed of the significance of the find in early to mid-April - did not inform his colleague in Transport Martin Cullen or the public of the henge's significance. Cullen’s formal sod-turning ceremony to officially start work on the road occured last week. Did Minister Roche choose to keep it quiet in advance of the sod-turning, hoping it would quietly go away?

Are there any other finds the National Roads Authority and Minister Roche are keeping from the public?

A total of 38 new sites have now been discovered. The archaeological digs have expanded to such an extent that the whole proposed route south of the existing N3 has become one huge site.

Henge at Lismullin on motorway route, damaged National Monument Rath Lugh top left of picture

This was anticipated by The Discovery Programme in 1995 which described the Tara landscape as ‘a mosaic of monuments’. This research was rejected by the NRA, yet it is now clear that necessary excavations could delay any new road by many years.

Although archaeological excavation produces new data on past societies, it also results in the irreversible destruction of that resource. Archaeological excavation is not ‘preservation’ in the true sense.

Destruction of Rath Lugh Early Jan 2007

Indeed questions were raised in the Dáil in 2004 as to standards of ‘preservation by record’, with over 1,500 excavation reports missing from official records.

The NRA is the largest client of the archaeological industry in this country, and the M3 contracts alone are worth almost €40 million. Many people consider the whole industry to be compromised by this association.

A virtually intact Viking village was unearthed during a recent road project in Waterford, but it was only when a young archaeologist broke ranks and leaked the story, that the significance of what was discovered was made public. The road was immediately re-routed.

Test-trenching, where the soil is stripped back by mechanical diggers, has been used to test the route rather than the more modern and precise method of Geophysical Survey.

Despite the instructions of the Director of the National Museum that mechanical diggers should not be used on the sites during excavation, they are being used throughout ,damaging and destroying priceless evidence of Tara's royal past.

What hope for archaeology here? Lismullin wood Feb 2007

'Delicate' archaeological work- Lismullin 31st March 2007

Lismullin April 2007

Bones left exposed- Lismullen March 30th 2007

The work at Lismullin and Rath Lugh began in early January 2007. Lismullin wood was savagely hacked down with indecent haste, so much so that a worker was seriously injured by a falling tree. Work was carried out in dreadful weather conditions and under cover of darkness.

''I was not prepared for the onslaught of information that was borne down on me for the duration of my stay, nor for the emotional depression that I held as I traversed through three of the thirty-eight Skryne-valley archaeological excavation sites (Baronstown, Collierstown and Soldier’s Hill) to see what was being done. I and a number of new friends, including an Irish archaeologist, examined trenches and items that were being dug up – some things bagged and removed, most would be disregarded.

What the media called “charred remains” was in fact a sacred cemetery, in which over 30 graves were all pointing towards the King’s Hill, Tara. According to the archaeologist with us, these would likely have been important people – Fianna warriors, leaders, or kings....


Grave-stones are being used to hold down plastic sheeting, tombs are left exposed to the elements and are disintegrating, purely because of “bad workmanship,” as my archaeologist friend politely called it, and a very evident contemptuous uncaring for anything found, because they do not want to find anything. They do not want people to know that anything is there. They do not want us to know, because we would stop this atrocity if we knew.''

Taken from Stephen Galvin's article 'Amhrán na bhFiann ' in the Maynooth Advocate- Friday, March 16, 2007

Diggers are driving over and desecrating the graves of Ireland's past generations... Bodies are being removed from their resting places of thousands of years...

The current Irish government believe the sacred cemetery of our ancestors and Kings has its price, that the birthplace of the Harp and the Shamrock has its price...

What are the alternatives to the proposed route?

- The minimum acceptable solution to the M3 controversy is to re-route the proposed motorway away from the Hill of Tara and the Gabhra Valley. A number of alternative routes have been proposed, and many of these would allow for a more integrated and sustainable transport ‘mix’.

-Re-open the Navan rail link to Dublin now, and extend it to Kells. It has been estimated that the Navan-Clonsilla line could be re-opened by 2010. The railway could then be extended to Cavan, utilizing another existing but disused line. Under current plans, the M3 will sever the 153 year old railway route at Ballybeg, north of Navan, making any future extension to Kells and beyond extremely unlikely.

-Upgrade the existing Dunshaughlin to Clonee route to a 2+1 road. This Swedish design is one of the safest options for road design (50% safer than single-carriageway road). It has a capacity similar to a dual carriageway.
The cost of upgrading a road is €500,000/km compared to the current cost of the new motorway of €13 million per km. These massive savings could be put towards other public services.

-Deliver on the promises to by-pass the towns of Dunshaughlin,Kells and Navan along the existing N3. This had been the plan until the M3 motorway proposal was suddenly introduced as an unpublished addition to the National Development Plan in 2001.

-An innovative, fully integrated transport solution for Meath which includes elements of all of the above is the Meath MultiWay proposal developed by the original Save Tara Skryne Valley campaign in conjunction with independent Transport Researchers.

Information on the Meath Multiway can be found here:

A More detailed Meath Multiway Proposal for Policy Makers:

Can public opinion change this decision?

Yes. This General Election is the first real opportunity for the people of Meath to make their voice heard on the Tara/M3 issue. The only properly commissioned opinion survey carried out on the issue (by Red C Market Research in June 2005) found that 75% of people wanted the Tara/Skryne Valley declared a World Heritage Site, and only 25% of people wanted the road to go ahead on its present planned route.

The Taoiseach has acknowledged the importance of ‘Active Citizenship’. This election provides a real and democratic opportunity to actively assert our right as citizens to have our heritage and transport concerns listened to. We can send a clear message to the new government that the Gabhra Valley must be protected from development.

What about the commuters of Meath?

The roads of Meath are a disgrace, and the commuters of the county are bearing the brunt of a lack of investment in infrastructure over the last decade. Much needed improvements and upgrades to National routes, as well as the promised by-passes, have been stalled by the M3 proposal.

The great lie of the pro-M3 campaign is that this road will help ease the misery of commuters. Any new motorway feeding directly into M50 at Blanchardstown will have a minimal effect on journey times. It will lead to greater traffic volumes and further chaos on the already grossly overcrowded M50.

The inclusion of two tolls on the motorway will push commuters into the tiny roads in the area to avoid them creating traffic chaos.

Commuters will cut across country onto the Toll free N2/M2 which is already badly congested at commuting times. The N2 is not built to take such volumes of traffic.

The Meath County Development Plan 2007-13 contains some alarming statistics: Meath commuters spend on average 3 hours per day in traffic, and all commuting statistics and journey times are between 2 and 3 times the national average. Meath is now the most car dependent county in the country.

A fraction of the €16.7 billion the Government plans to spend on roads in the next five years would provide fast-growing urban centers like Navan, Kells and Cavan with the viable transport alternative of a railway line.

Further court action, protests and international designations (World Most Endangered List) are likely, which will delay the opening of the road well beyond the NRA’s own estimated opening date of 2012.

Dropping this proposed route would be the most sensible, practical, consensus building policy option, and alternatives could deliver relief for the commuters of Meath much more quickly.

Have objections to this motorway been given a fair and democratic hearing?

The M3 did go through a Planning Process and was approved in 2003. An Bord Pleanála have approved every major road project submitted by the National Road Authority. There was never any real doubt about the outcome of the M3 planning application, despite the best efforts of the many local people, national and international experts and organisations that submitted objections.

The 'consultation' process in regard to major road projects is little more than a rubberstamping exercise.

Alternatives to the proposed scheme were never properly evaluated during the planning process, which is a requirement of the EU Directive on Environmental Impact Assessment. The Directive has also been breached through the denial of access for citizens who wished to appeal the An Bord Pleanála decision.

Such appeals must be carried out at reasonable cost to the citizen, but in Ireland the legal system makes such actions impossible due to the enormous costs involved.

Six months after approving the M3 project An Bord Pleanála refused planning permission for a golf course in the Tara/Skryne Valley because it would be “visually intrusive in this sensitive landscape”. It said that the golf course would “detract from the character, appearance and interpretative experience of the region”. Somehow in the case of the M3, it did not see a 15km section of motorway including a 53 acre floodlit interchange as being intrusive, nor as in anyway “detracting from the experience of the Tara landscape”.

What could the future hold for the valley?

This is what the Meath County Development Plan 2007-13, says about heritage and tourism:

‘Heritage has been identified as the county’s main selling point [....] Tourism can also be of particular significance in the diversification of the rural economy and in the regeneration of certain towns and villages.’

The government should nominate the Hill of Tara and the Gabhra Valley as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Walking tours, centered on the Hill at present, could extend throughout the Valley. The land that has already been purchased for the motorway will make a perfect showcase for the archaeological richness of the area.

Heritage and nature trails can be created, enabling young and old to walk the same green ground once walked by Tara's Kings.

Overnight and extended stays could supplement daytrips which currently predominate. Hundreds of local jobs would be directly created eliminating the need for long commutes to work and there is unlimited potential for growth in the local economy. Meath's hotels, pubs, B&B's, shops and businesses would benefit greatly bringing prosperity not only to the county but to all of Ireland. It would be an enormous educational and cultural asset to the county, and to the whole country.

Does the M3 controversy have any wider significance?

Climate change, and the end of cheap and easily accessible supplies of oil, are two global issues which loom large on the domestic horizon. Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions have grown by 25% since 1990.

Emissions in the transport sector have grown by 160% over the same period, with road transport accounting for virtually all of this growth.

The current government has set aside 270 million euro's of tax payers money to pay for carbon credits as it is unable to meet its Kyoto Protocol commitments to limit greenhouse gases. Unless urgent action is taken, the taxpayer will continue to pay the heavy price of the Government's failure to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

In these circumstances, embarking on the largest road-building project in the history of the State, through the cultural and archaeological heart of the country, is irresponsible.

Moreover, by cutting through viable train lines, the current proposed M3 route denies commuters a future alternative when faced with rising petrol costs and ever-worsening congestion.

Our lack of planning for the future is beginning to lead to severe environmental, economic and social problems. Along with new shopping outlets and huge housing estates, has come a loss of public spaces and the ruin of many of our most beautiful and scenic areas.

Our sense of community has been eroded by the scale and unplanned nature of much recent development.

Decisions we make today will impact massively on future generations. The preservation of Tara can be our declaration to the world. Our country has come of age; we recognize environmental protection and economic development must be our shared goal, because it is only through thoughtful management of our environmental resources, that future prosperity is guaranteed.

How You can help

"The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to." Thomas Jefferson.

For those eligible to vote in the forthcoming Irish General Election:

-Vote for those parties and politicians that guarantee to re-route the road away from the Gabhra Valley.

-Inform the politicians that come to your door that you will give them your vote if they too make a commitment to protect Tara.

-Lobby your local Fianna Fail/PD and Fine Gael Public Representatives. Many Fianna Fail/PD back-bench TDs are vulnerable electorally. TDs and County Councillors will hold scheduled Clinics in your area which you can attend if you wish to voice your opinions in person. Alternatively you can write to your TD c/o Dáil Éireann, Leinster House, Dublin 1.

- Mr Bertie Ahern, Taoiseach, Department of the Taoiseach, Government Buildings, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2. Ireland.

- Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, Department of the Envioronment, Heritage and Local Government, Customs House, Dublin 1. Ireland.

- Sean Haughey, TD. Chariman, Environment Committee, Dáil Éireann, Dublin 1. Ireland.

-Enda Kenny- Leader of Fine Gael , Leinster House: Tel: 01 618 3105 Fax: 01 618 4502,
Constituency Office Address: Tucker Street, Castlebar, Co. Mayo ,Tel: 094 9025600
Fax: 094 9026554

-Minister Michael McDowell, TD -Progressive Democrats Party Leader
Address: The Triangle, Ranelagh,Dublin 6
Phone (01) 498 8084 Fax (01) 498 8087

Other Ways You can Help

The Campaign to Save Tara is currently mounting a political campaign for the upcoming General Election in Ireland on May 24th. We consider this to be the final opportunity to Save Tara. With that in mind, the Campaign is mounting fundraising efforts to finance this endeavour.

We are using a number of methods to raise awareness over this issue. We believe a majority of the people of Co. Meath want the motorway re-routed and should to be offered the opportunity to express this view in a democratic way.

We also intend that all issues relating to the motorway, such as transport problems, lack of proper planning, car dependency, lack of local employment and environmental concerns are at the top of the local political agenda. We are dropping leaflets into as many houses as possible in the two Meath constituencies.

Allied with this we are setting up stalls and/or talks in the evening in the town in which we drop the leaflets.

Education and information on the history and stories of Tara allied with the possible alternatives is the focus of these talks.Now, we need to raise more election funds to help us to carry on this campaign. Any donation, no matter how small, is very welcome.

For Irish deposits, a deposit may be made in any Bank of Ireland by quoting:

Account Name: Campaign to Save Tara
Branch: (Dunshaughlin)
Sort Code: 90-34-37
Account No: 42869724

All other transfers should detail:

Campaign to Save Tara CURRENT ACCOUNT


IBAN IE12 BOFI 90-34-37 42869724

The Post Box address:

Campaign to Save Tara

PO Box 30, Navan, Co Meath, Ireland

Spread the Word!

Write to the Newspapers. Don't forget local publications such as Parish Magazines etc. Here are some email addresses: (Liffey Champion, Kildare)

Spread the message. Tell your relatives, friends and work colleagues about the campaign.

Finally. Call/text National and local Radio Stations. Transport and infrastructure issues are constantly raised on various "Talk Shows". These shows invariably ask for feedback from listeners. Use the opportunity, when appropriate, to bring up the issue of Tara and the M3. - main Campaign to Save Tara site

To view our election brouchure in pdf format click here:

Please check back regularly for updates!