On May 10, 2005, Dick Roche, Ireland's Minister of the Environment gave the "green light" for the M3 to be built through the Tara/Skryne Valley. It truly is a sad day. He has approved major archaeological digs along the proposed route, which will allow for the bulldozers to move in and begin to build the road. The work is to begin within two weeks time. If Mr. Roche had not granted licenses for these archeological digs, then the NRA (National Roads Authority) would have been forced to find an alternative location for the M3.
The NRA has ignored pleas to not build through the Tara/Skryne Valley because it would destroy Ireland's history and heritage. Other routes have been proposed which have been rejected by the NRA.
The "Save Tara Skryne Valley" group had demanded the Government re-route the planned M3 motorway away from the Hill of Tara. The group, representing many people in Ireland and throughout the world, is vehemently opposed to what it claims is the "irresponsible and unnecessary" route of the road claiming the hill could be ruined forever if the roadworks go ahead.
Last month Dick Roche told The Irish Times the route had already been approved by An Bord Pleanála. "I am where I am," he said. "This has gone through the planning process." The excavations along the route are needed if the route is to proceed as planned.
The Save Tara Skryne Valley group has been preparing for this day. They have begun to take legal action against the Minister of the Environment, Meath County Council and the NRA (National Roads Authority). They will seek a High Court injunction and judicial review of the Minister's decision. Numerous solicitors letters' have already been sent to: the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government; Meath County Council, the National Roads Authority, putting them on notice that the decision to proceed as planned would be illegal under Irish and EU law.
We now need everyone's help. The legal battle could cost in excess of a million Euro, but they stand a really good chance at winning and forcing the M3 to be built in an area that would not disturb major archaeological sites. If you're able to donate to the fund, the Save Tara Skryne Valley group has set up a paypal account where you can donate directly using a major credit card. Just visit this site (PayPal)
You can also mail a money order or transfer funds directly into their account at the Bank of Ireland. Mail money orders to: Save Tara/Skryne Valley Campaign, P.O. Box 30 Tara, Co. Meath, Republic of Ireland
Or transfer international funds to: Bank of Ireland
Account Name: SAVE TARA SKREEN VALLEY
Current Account BIC BOFIIE2D IBAN IE79 BOFI 9034 3728 4344 33
As spokesperson for the Save Tara Skryne Valley group, Dr. Muireann Ni Bhrolchain said, "The academic community has never been so united, world-wide, in it's opposition to a national development proposal. That opposition has been clearly expressed to the Minister for the Environment and the Taoiseach. We now stand firmly behind the legal action to be taken. And even at this late stage, we are appealing to the public to condemn and seek to reverse this decision."
Thank you for your time and consideration
By Liz Guerra
No one can doubt the profound cultural importance of Tara and its unique landscape. A landscape honored and revered by millions throughout the world today and of countless people from generations past. It is rich in mythological, cultural and political history that includes the Tuatha de Danann, Celtic Gods and Goddesses, great leaders and warriors, St. Patrick, political activists fighting against the British and a long history of Celtic heros such as Brian Boru. No other area in Ireland can claim all of this in one location. Tara is an Archeological complex of temples, tombs, enclosures and henges spanning over a 5,000 year history. Many monuments such as the Mound of the Hostages predate the Egyptian pyramids. The chamber within the Mound of the Hostages is perfectly aligned with the full moon of Lughnasadh and the rising sun of Samhain and Imbolc.
The Lia Fail, or Stone of Destiny, stands at Tara and was the Coronation Stone where all the ancient Kings of Ireland were crowned. It was believed to have been brought to Tara by the Godly people (The De Dananns) as one of their sacred objects. It was said to roar when touched by the rightful King of Tara. It was originally in another location at Tara but was moved to its present location to mark the grave of 400 Irish rebels who died during the United Irishmen Revolution in 1798. This is another reason why this site holds much significance in Ireland’s history.
In 433, St. Patrick came to Tara to face the then High King, Laoghaire (pronounced Leary). St. Patrick befriended the King, gaining his trust and promptly baptized him. This of course changed the course of religion in Ireland and the Irish Catholics of today hold this spot in high regard and refer to it as the place where Christianity was born in Ireland.
So you can see that Tara was/is a place of Kings, Saints and Scholars. It’s such an engrained part of Irish history, culture and mythology. Its importance is immeasurable for it speaks to Ireland’s identity. So what’s the problem?
The problem is, the Irish Government and the National Roads Authority have decided that they want to build a highway right through the Tara landscape, cutting right through the very fiber of Ireland’s long and regarded history. The Highway, the M3, would be a toll road and it would be built through the Valley that connects Tara to its sister, the Hill of Skryne, another sacred site with much archeological significance and an early religious and ritual center. The Hill of Skryne contains the 12th century Skryne Castle, a national monument. Both Tara and Skryne are part of the same cultural and natural landscape of the Boyne Valley and cannot be separated from the River Boyne or from each other. Building the M3 through the Tara/Skryne Valley will impact and potentially destroy at least 141 archeological sites, some not even excavated yet, not to mention that it’s location will only be slightly over 1,000 meters from the main part of Tara.
Traffic and congestion on the current N3, which leads through towns such as Kells and Navan into Dublin, has been continuously growing. It can take some commuters up to 2 hours during rush hour to drive into Dublin. There’s no doubt that something needs to be done to alleviate the nightmare of traffic congestion. However, all pleads to the Irish government from concerned individuals regarding alternatives have fallen upon deaf ears. What’s interesting to note here is that the government cannot afford to build this new highway on it’s own. The costs are estimated to total over 800 millon Euros. Therefore, Ireland has gone into a public/private venture with none other then . . . The Evil Empire . . . Halliburton. You know, the company that Vice President Dick Cheney was once the CEO. This same company is currently under investigation with the FBI for illegally doing business with countries the U.S. put sanctions upon such as Iran, not to mention other illegal activity, but I won’t go into that in this article. The Irish government also wants to build a huge center at Tara with gift shops/restaurants, etc., and not allow people access to this magnificent sacred site unless they pay an admission fee. Once they’re on the Hill, instead of seeing a vast beauty of surrounding scenic hills, they’ll be over looking a large, noisy highway with huge flood-lights.
There is a large group of individuals in Ireland who formed an organization called "Save the Tara/Skryne Valley" group and are working diligently to try and fight this abomination legally. This group is made up of lawyers, politicians, labor party individuals, historians, archeologists, students, artists, musicians, actors, Druids, farmers and ordinary concerned citizens. They have made great strides in delaying the Government’s plan. They have brought to the public’s attention a more suitable, alternative route that would not interfere with Tara’s archeological sites and would cost significantly less to build. They also have suggested the widening of existing routes into Dublin, which would help alleviate the congestion and wouldn’t cost nearly as much either. Also, there’s a railway line into Dublin that is currently not being used. The group’s suggestion is to put some focus and attention into public transportation by reopening the railway line and increasing bus service. Hey, we "Connecticut’ers" have been riding Metro-North into Manhattan for decades, so why shouldn’t the Irish.
The Government has not given any reasons why these above suggestions wouldn’t work or if they’d even consider them. They seem to be hell-bent on their plans and partnership with Halliburton, which raises some questions as to who maybe getting their palms greased.
So what can we U.S. citizens do to help our neighbor across the pond? Well, you can start by visiting the Tara/Skryne Valley Group’s Website and sign their petition at http://www.taraskryne.org The signatures will be given to the Prime Minister of Ireland in hopes that this will sway some decisions. Join their e-groups firstname.lastname@example.org If you’re able, you can donate some money to their cause, which would help them tremendously. Send letters to your local Representatives and Senators, especially if they’re of Irish Ancestry, and make them aware of this. Simply spread the word by making people aware of this situation and refer them to the website. The more that people know about this, the better.
The Hill of Tara has been a sacred sanctuary for generations. It holds within its body the key to understanding Celtic history and civilization. We are only just beginning to realize the significance of these ancient structures at Tara and how they’re connected to the hundreds of other monuments in this complex. Monuments that stand the chance of being destroyed for the sake of a new road. I truly love Tara. It’s a place of peace and spirit. It’s heart is alive with thousands of years of history just yearning to tell its stories. Greed and corruption will silence her. I hope and pray that day never comes.