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Opposition TDs and Senators Pledge to Challenge Government Over M3 Motorway

category national | history and heritage | news report author Thursday July 02, 2009 20:47author by TaraWatchauthor email info at tarawatch dot org Report this post to the editors

taraWatch delegation to Dail on Wednesday 2 July 2009

A delegation of approximately 30 TaraWatch members met with Opposition TDs and Senators at the Kildare Street gates of the Dail on Wednesday, at 1.00 pm.
GORMLEY MUST GO (Thanks to Sean Gilmartin for photographs)
GORMLEY MUST GO (Thanks to Sean Gilmartin for photographs)

Parliamentarians were handed a series of Parliamentary Questions, for the Ministers for Transport, Environment and Finance, relating to the EU and UNESCO issues at the Hill of Tara. TaraWatch also asked Oireachtas members to demand a halt to the M3 works at Tara until the European Commission case against Ireland, currently being heard in the European Court of Justice, reaches a decision.

The topics of the Parliamentary Questions included.

- Why did the Government demolish the Lismullin national monument, after the Commission said not to, with an EIA?

- Why is Minister Gormley acting contrary to Green Party policy and opposing the Environment Directorate on this matter?

- What will the financial implications be if Ireland loses the case?

- Why is the Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey, proposing to put the M3, the North-South Electrical Connector and the Navan to Dublin railway through the same area Minister Gormley is proposing to make a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

- Why didn’t Minister Gormley submit Tara and other Irish sites to UNESCO at the annual meeting in Seville this week, like he promised?

Maureen O’Sullivan, the Independent TD who won the late Tony Gregory’s Dail set in the by-election, said:

“I am happy to meet you and hear your concerns. Deputy Gregory was very much opposed to the M3 at Tara, and made many statements against it.”

Fine Gael Meath TD, Shane McEntee, said:

“Fine Gael is opposed to the tolling of the M3, but we are in favour of jobs for Meath.” When it was pointed out by Vincent Salafia of TaraWatch that a re-routing of the M3 motorway, which could be order by UNESCO, would result in more jobs Meath, he laughed and agreed.

Labour Party TD, Joanna Tuffy, promised to submit Parliamentary Questions and said:

“I am very much in favour of the UNESCO designation of Tara, and will ask Mr Gormley why he delayed submitting the nomination to UNESCO at the Meeting in Seville last week, as promised.

Sinn Fein sent three deputies, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Arthur Morgan and Martin Ferris to met the TaraWatch delegation. Aengus O Snodaigh said:

“Sinn Fein will submit all of the Parliamentary Questions. We remain absolutely opposed the destruction of Tara by the Government and the private companies.

Senator David Norris also offered his support, and complimented the delegation on their commitment. Though he cannot submit Parliamentary Questions as a Senator, he promised to use the materials in other ways, and raise the issue in the Seanad at the soonest opportunity.

However, Green Party TD, Ciaran Cuffe, who had been a strong vocal opponent to the M3 at Tara snubbed the delegation and walked by without comment.

RELATED STORIES

Tarawatch seeks parliamentary group

Irish Times - Breaking News: 02 July 2009
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2009/0702/...6.htm

ÉANNA Ó CAOLLAÍ

Campaign group Tarawatch has written to members of the Oireachtas inviting them to establish a parliamentary group with the intention of lobbying Government on issues relating to the Hill of Tara. Several opposition and independent TDs and Senators, including newly-elected Dublin Central TD Maureen O’Sullivan and Senator David Norris were presented with a list of questions for the Government by members of Tarawatch at Dáil Éireann yesterday.

Tarawatch spokesman Vincent Salafia subsequently wrote to the politicians who attended asking them to establish a parliamentary group. He said the group would not only seek to identify a solution to protect the national monument but would also attempt to find a solution that would meet the needs of sustainable development and transport in Co Meath.

“We feel that it is the responsibility of the elected representatives both at European and national level to work in a co-operative manner on this,” Mr Salafia said today. “It would be a platform for all the groups involved to present their opinions and have their say in what the final outcome is. Tara belongs to everybody in Ireland. The majority of Irish people want to have Tara protected. Its not that it’s against the M3 per se - most of the people who want to protect Tara are quite happy for the M3 to proceed – they just don’t want it to go where it is.”

Brussels takes Ireland to court over Lismullen monument

Meath Chronicle: Wednesday, 1st July, 2009 By Ann Casey
http://www.meathchronicle.ie/news/meatheast/articles/20...ment/

The Government is in the dock in Europe this week over the demolition of a newly discovered national monument at Lismullen in 2007, which occurred during works on the M3 motorway. The European Commission is taking Ireland to the European Court of Justice and the case opened last week with the Commission arguing that the decision taken by former Environment Minister, Dick Roche, in 2007 to demolish the newly discovered national monument was contrary to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive, which requires independent scientific opinion and public participation.

The Commission says that the National Monuments Act fails to implement the Directive by automatically requiring a new EIA when a national monument is discovered, which was not covered by planning permission. Because the pre-historic site at Lismullen was only identified in 2007, its significance could not be taken into account in a 2003 assessment of the motorway project. Meanwhile, TaraWatch will hold a demonstration outside Dail Eireann at 1pm today (Wednesday) to demand that the Government halt work on the M3 within the Hill of Tara landscape due to the lawsuit.

A number of questions will also be handed to opposition party Oireachtas members at the Dail gates. The questions will be addressed to Ministers for the Environment, Transport and Finance and will query why the Government demolished the Lismullin national monument and why Minister John Gormley opposed the Environment Directive. They are also querying what the financial implications would be if Ireland loses the case. TaraWatch will also ask Opposition parties to join in an appeal to UN Secretary General General Ban Ki-moon for intervention during his upcoming visit to Ireland on next week.

TaraWatch spokesperson, Vincent Salafia, said: “The Government and the public private partners have acted recklessly by proceeding with the M3 and demolishing the Lismullin national monument, despite the statement by the European Commission in 2007 that they were acting in breach of EU law. “Works on the M3 in the Tara landscape and proposed World Heritage Site should cease, until the case being argued this week in the European Court of Justice reaches a conclusion.” Mr Salafia said that enormous amounts of taxpayers’ money was being wasted by the Government in fighting this case, and the consequences of a decision against Ireland could be disastrous. “We are calling on the Opposition parties to take the Government to task on this and to support our appeal to the UN to intervene in this matter,” he said.

JOIN TARAWATCH

Mailing list:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hilloftara/

Facebook Cause:
http://apps.facebook.com/causes/827/6916545

TaraWatch UNESCO consultation site
http://www.hilloftara.info

Related Link: http://www.tarawatch.org

Senator David Norris (left) reads parliamentary Questions while Vincent Salafia talks to Shane McEntee, TD (FG)
Senator David Norris (left) reads parliamentary Questions while Vincent Salafia talks to Shane McEntee, TD (FG)

Maureen O’Sullivan TD (Ind) takes Parliamentary Questions from Vincent Salafia of TaraWatch, with Aengus O Snodaigh (left) and Martin Ferris (Sinn Fein) behind
Maureen O’Sullivan TD (Ind) takes Parliamentary Questions from Vincent Salafia of TaraWatch, with Aengus O Snodaigh (left) and Martin Ferris (Sinn Fein) behind

author by TaraWatchpublication date Fri Jul 03, 2009 08:34author email info at tarawatch dot orgauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

TaraWatch would like to thank Deputy Aengus O Snodaigh and Sinn Fein for submitting all of the questions we gave to them.

We would also like to thank Maureen O'Sullivan for agreeing to sit on the Parliamentary group for Tara.

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS - 2 July 2009

Submitted

1. To ask the Minister for Environment why he didn’t submit the Hill of Tara and the entire revised Ireland’s Tentative List of UNESCO sites to UNESCO as promised, for this month’s 33rd Session of the World Heritage Committee in Seville, Spain.

2. To ask the Minister for Environment how much money has been spent in hiring consultants and reviewing Ireland’s list of World Heritage Sites in the past two years?

3. To ask the Minister for Environment what is the current plan in relation to revising Ireland’s Tentative List of UNESCO sites?

4. To ask the Minister for Environment how could the Minister, or the Minister’s advisors make a determination of the ability of Tara to become a UNESCO site, before the advisors had visited the site or reviewed the M3?

5. To ask the Minister for Environment is he aware that TaraWatch nominated the Hill of Tara as a world Heritage site, but only on condition that the M3 was rerouted, because of the fact that it passes through the middle of the proposed World Heritage Site.

6. To ask the Minister for Environment does the Minister still consider that UNESCO will accept the Hill of Tara as a UNESCO sites with the M3 passing through it?

7. To ask the Minister for Environment can he define the area of the proposed Tara World Heritage Site?

8. To ask the Minister for Environment has he considered the costs involved if UNESCO demands that Ireland move the M3 motorway, once Tara is declared a World Heritage Site?

9. To ask the Minister for Environment has he included Eurolink Consortium (SIAC, Ferrovial and Cintra), the M3 Public Private Partners, in the consultation process for making Tara a World Heritage Site? If so, what has been their involvement?

10. To ask the Minister for Environment has he included Iarnrod Éireann in the consultation process, as the preferred route for Navan-Dublin railway was announced in May, and will be passing through the proposed Tara World Heritage Site?

11. To ask the Minister for Environment has he included Eirgrid in the consultation process, as the Minister for Transport has proposed that the North-south Electrical Connector be placed underground along the M3 or the N3, thereby passing through the proposed Tara World Heritage Site?

12. To ask the Minister for Environment why did he not revoke archaeological licenses and halt excavations on the M3, in the Lismullin/Tara area, when the European Commission put the Government on notice that an EIA was required?

13. To ask the Minister for Environment how much money has been spent on outside legal counsel to defend this action in relation to the requirement for an EIA for the M3 project in the European Court of Justice

14. To ask the Minister for Environment what will be the consequences of for the M3 motorway if the ECJ finds against Ireland?

15. To ask the Minister for Environment what will be the consequences for the National Monuments Act and archaeological codes of practice, if the ECJ finds against Ireland?

16. To ask the Minister for Environment what will be the consequences for capital infrastructure projects, already under way, if the ECJ finds against Ireland in relation to EIAs.

17. To ask the Minister for Environment can he explain why he did present a new National Monuments Act as promised in the middle of 2008?

18. To ask the Minister for Environment in light of the legal action initiated by the European Commission, and his own admission that there are ‘gaps’ in how archaeological finds are dealt with in certain circumstances, can he explain why he is defending the EIA case being taken against Ireland by the European Commission, rather than amending the Act to adopt the recommendations of the Commission?

19. To ask the Minister for Environment how much money has been spent conducting a consultation for a revision of the National Monuments Act and archaeological policy?

20. To ask the Minister for Environment why he has agreed a Code of Practice with Eirgrid, when it is based on an admittedly flawed National Monuments Act?

21. To ask the Minister for Finance is he aware that the European Commission has sent a Reasoned Opinion to the Irish Government, to the effect that the National Development Plan 2007-2013, containing Transport 21, is in breach of EU law, due to the fact that it has not been subject to Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) under the SEA Directive. SEA requires cost-benefit analysis, independent expert assessment and public participation in decision-making, and what was his response to the Commission?

22. To ask the Minister for Finance why does he continue to perform SEA on the NDP and Transport 21?

23. To ask the Minister for Finance is he aware that the M3 motorway, Navan-Dublin railway, and North-South Electrical Connector are all proposed to cut through the proposed Tara World Heritage Site, in breach of the SEA Directive?

24. To ask the Minister for Finance will he performed a new cost/benefit analysis on the M3 motorway, Transport 21 and National Development Plan, in light of the materially changed long-term economic circumstances?

25. To ask the Minister for Finance does he feel that the public private partnership approach to the M3 and other motorways is still economically viable, given the enormous amount of toll revenue that goes to multinational companies?

26 - To ask the Minister for Transport is he aware that the M3 motorway, the preferred route for the Navan to Dublin railway, and possibly the route for the North South Electrical connector will pass through that the area of the proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site and accompanying Buffer Zone, the Minister for the Environment is proposing and has he consulted with the Minister for the Environment on this matter:Has the National Roads Authority consulted with the Minister for the Environment on this matter; has he considered the consequences, if UNESCO tells the Irish Government to move the M3, the Dublin-Navan railway and the Electrical Connector and has he received advice on whether his proposal to run power lines along the M3 requires a new EIA?

27 - To ask the Minister for Transport regarding the current case being brought by the European Commission against Ireland, in the European Court of Justice, for failure to implement the EIA Directive, can the Minister please answer the following questions: why did the Minister not order the NRA to halt works on the M3, in the Tara area, when the European Commission put the Government on notice that an EIA was required, how much money has been spent on outside legal counsel to defend this action in the ECJ; What will be the consequences of for the M3 motorway if the ECJ finds against Ireland; What will be the consequences for the National Monuments Act and the NRA codes of practice, if the ECJ finds against Ireland; what will be the consequences for transport projects, already under way, if the ECJ finds against Ireland; and who bears the risk for costs if the ECJ orders a new EIA on the M3 and how much public money has been spent on the M3 Motorway so far?

28 - To ask the Minister for Transport considering the recent slow-down in the financial commercial activity, rural development, along with the highest increase in unemployment in Ireland in County Meath, has the Minister performed a new cost/benefit analysis on the M3 motorway?

29 - To ask the Minister for Transport Has the Minister considered that it would be much more cost effective, and indeed profitable, to route the M3, the Railway and the Electrical Connector along the same route to the west of the proposed Tara World Heritage Site, and service the town of Trim?

30 - To ask the Minister for Transport how much profit does the Government stand to make off the M3 motorway in toll revenue; and can you please supply the traffic projections, which these profits are based on?

31 - To ask the Minister for Transport how much profit does the Eurolink Consortium stand to make off the M3 motorway in toll revenue; and can you please supply the traffic projections, which these profits are based on?

author by old codger - pensionerpublication date Fri Jul 03, 2009 12:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Green ministers are just as corrupt as Fianna Fail. They are now wedded to them because they know that their betrayal of the people that voted for the Green Party , leaves them ruined in the next election. They have to do what Fianna Fail wants them to.
The government does not care about EU or UN fines it is not them that will pay them, it is the Tax payer and the stupid electorate that have let crime flourish in Irish politics for decades.
THIS IS A CORRUPT STATE HUMAN OR CIVIL RIGHTS ARE NON EXISTANT IN IRELAND THE LAND OF THE GREAT PRETENDERS.

VOTE NO TO LISBON They will not pay for their crimes but you will.

author by Accuracypublication date Sat Jul 04, 2009 01:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think I can count 10, and that includes ababy. where are the 30 members.
wow! that Td will have fun getting answers to all those questions - will they make any sense with all that lot!
The old codger is right, the people elected these people. they voted to destroy Tara and they just don't care. Get a life now and give it up. Its over and done with

author by Anti-Troll Squadpublication date Sat Jul 04, 2009 01:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Accuracy indeed.

The delegation stayed for over two hours, during which time many people came and went - as some could only get out of work for a lunch time visit. Joanna Tuffy isn't in the pictures either, but she was there, as was Arthur Morgan. In fact 30 was a conservative figure. Not that is matters. There were two people down the street protesting about Shell, and one other with a big sign protesting about child abuse.

There are three responsible Ministers, and many issues relating to the Hill of Tara, such as tolls, heritage, EU courts, transport, human rights, UNESCO, environment, budgeting, climate change, etc. And one thing is very clear. It's not over. In fact, it is just beginning.

That's why it was important enough for Sinn Fein, Labour, Fine Gael and Independent TDs and Senators to participate. Many of them are forming a political grouping for Tara.

The next political grouping they form will be called 'The Government' - so get used to it.

author by W. Finnerty.publication date Sat Jul 04, 2009 19:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Gerry Hogan, senior counsel for Mr Salafia, claimed the legislation used to push through the project (via Tara Complex) was unconstitutional."

The above quote appeared on the Daily Telegraph web site on January 14th 2006. Please see at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/irelan....html

Vincent Salafia settles the Euros 600,000 Tara court case, October 3rd 2006: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/78793

Workers destroy Baronstown (Tara Complex) at 4am on Wednesday July 4th 2007: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/83306 (Today is the 2nd anniversary of the destruction.)

Several others have been informed regarding the above:
http://www.humanrightsireland.com/DrAnneJeffers/4July20...l.htm

author by Vincent Salafiapublication date Sat Jul 04, 2009 20:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

William, thank you for raising the issue of costs issue, in relation to Tara, and putting it in a constitutional and human rights context.

So many environmental and other important cases have been forced to settle, or never made it into court in the first place, due to the punitive costs scheme here in Ireland, such as the Dominic Dunne case at Trim Castle, and cases involving the Corrib gas refinery.

It is a breach of human rights and access to justice provisions of the AARHUS Convention that litigants who act in the public interest, with nothing to gain, are hit with massive costs orders when they lose a case.

While your main focus seems to be to accuse the legal profession of corruption (and I am not here to defend the legal profession) I think it is somewhat misdirected, in that the main problem is that Ireland has not ratified the ARRHIS Convention in full, which would force judges to change their methodology in awarding punitive costs against litigants and in favour of the State. That must be done by the legislature, not the judiciary.

For more reading on this, see:

The Role of Pre-emptive / Protective Costs Orders in Environmental Judicial Review Proceedings
http://www.ucc.ie/en/lawsite/eventsandnews/previouseven...n.doc

The European Commission took a case which sought to change the costs scheme here in Ireland, but pretty much lost the case. TaraWatch had a meeting with the Commission a couple of weeks ago, and were informed that the Commission will seek to raise the issue again in a new case. Here is the recent Decision of the Advocate General, which went against the Commission:
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=C...:HTML

author by old codger - pensionerpublication date Sun Jul 05, 2009 14:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The agreement hasbeen thouroghly researched by our civil servants . I was informed Two years ago that it was the politicians that are holding up ratification. As stated it is quite probable that they do not want to ratify because the deluge of crimes they have commited would have to be accounted for.
How can any person in sound state of mind take the word of our political crooks, we have at least four decades of evidence of the criminal actions of numerous politicians, some of whitch are now in controll of the Banks that the taxpayer is rewarding.
VOTE NO TO LISBON They do not pay for their crimes but you do.

author by Muireann Ni Bhrolchainpublication date Sun Jul 05, 2009 16:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

My attention has been drawn to the fact that I am being blamed for the trolling comments here on this thread.
I want to make it absolutely clear that I was NOT responsible for the Carrickmines comment and that I have better things to do than to troll any thread here.

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