VANDALS, HUNS, AND VISIGOTHS.
In August of 2004,Minister Martin Cullen ,who will be remembered ,if at all, as the greatest Heritage Vandal in Irish History,was, in conjunction with the rest of the government, putting the finishing touches to their version of ‘Operation Overlord’-the invasion and destruction of ancient monuments and archaeological sites nationwide.
(SEE THE TRIM CASTLE SCANDAL: http://188.8.131.52/cpi/ )
The ‘N.R.A. (The National Roads Authority) was the title of the facilitating state bureaucracy set up to implement his Blitzkrieg. The new law would allow the N.R.A. to proceed with the speed and ruthless devastation of a Panzer Division,and Martin Cullen was their General Rommel.
Meanwhile thousands of reluctant Civil Servants awaited the construction of their new ‘Work Camps’ in various regions ,where the ‘ Soldiers of Destiny’ awaited their arrival.
Although the ‘relocation refugees’ were not to be stripped of their jewelry and possessions on immediate arrival at their allocated destinations (indeed many were to be promoted for their sacrifice),- the promise of profit and prosperity for their Fianna fail developer captors lay in the new houses,offices,and services which would cater for the bodily needs of the relocated multitudes . But first the roads must be finished…at all costs.
The National Monuments Act, 2004, has been billed as the "final solution" to the impasse at Carrickmines Castle, which lies directly in the path of the M50 toll road in south Dublin. Demolition of approximately half the site began in August 2004
In fact, the Act is about much more than Carrickmines, as it enables other tolled motorways and commercial real estate developments to proceed without fear of legal challenges on heritage grounds.
Sites currently under threat include the Tara complex, Ireland's premier monument, and the incredible Viking site in Woodstown. On one road alone, the N9-N10 (Kilcullen-Waterford toll road), 14 lesser-known national monuments have been identified and will soon be simply a matter of record.
Many accurate comparisons have been made between the campaign to save Wood Quay in the 1970s and the current fight to save Carrickmines Castle. The tactics of Carrickminders, combining direct action and legal action, are almost identical. Both battles hinged on High Court injunctions, granted under the National Monuments Act.
While the campaigns are similar, Carrickmines Castle lies on the front lines of a war of massive proportions, as it is only one of hundreds of national monuments scheduled for demolition, or already demolished, under the current multi-billion euro road-building programme, and property development frenzy.
A decade ago, the National Monuments (Amendment) Act, 1994, was universally applauded. This amendment was meant to assure citizens that Wood Quay would never happen again. As with each preceding amendment to the Act, it strengthened protections, in accordance with our increased understanding of the "historical, architectural, traditional, artistic and archaeological importance" of our national assets.
The 2004 amendment butchers all preceding ones, removing procedural and substantive safeguards and rendering the Act toothless. It gives the Minister for Heritage unlimited discretion, reduces the number of parties involved in deciding the fate of a national monument, and removes the requirement that the Minister's order to demolish a national monument be placed before the Oireachtas for 21 sitting days. These amendments eviscerate the core democratic checks and balances put in place by the 1994 Act.
The Minister can now consider almost unlimited factors, "to the extent that they appear to the Minister to be relevant in exercising discretion in any particular case", in arriving at his decision to "demolish or remove wholly or in part or to disfigure, deface, alter, or in any manner injure or interfere with" a national monument.
For instance, "any matter of policy of the Government, of the Minister or of any other Minister of the Government" overrides any national monument. What is more, the Minister can justify his action with "any social or economic benefit that would accrue to the State or region or immediate area in which the national monument is situated as the result of the carrying out of the road development".
It appears that the National Roads Authority (NRA), now €10 billion over budget on its projected overall costs under the National Development Plan, had a major role in drafting this latest amendment.
The proposed M3 tolled motorway through the Hill of Tara complex ups the stakes to unimaginable proportions. Before the proposal the Government spent upwards of €10 million on the Discovery Programme, investigating the nature and extent of this spectacular landscape. We now know that the complex began with a single structure, Duma na nGiall, in 3000 BC. Successive generations added to it, in such a way as to enhance the former and integrate the new: to create a complex, whose whole is far greater than the sum of the individual parts.
This new draconian legislation, which will facilitate the Tara toll road, will soon be put to the test in the High Court, as paperwork is being prepared to seek interlocutory injunctions against the M50 and the proposed M3. The constitutionality of the Act itself will be directly contested. Litigation, it would seem, is the only truly democratic mechanism left open to an Irish citizen, since attempts at negotiation have failed.
Much of the funding for these road projects has been provided by the EU. But as of December 2003, Ireland is no longer eligible to apply for many new grants. So the Government has turned to toll companies and public private partnership investment schemes instead. Private partners include the controversial Halliburton/Kellog, Brown, and Root. Land is being compulsorily purchased from private citizens by local authorities and turned over to private multinational companies, which will reap huge profits from generations to come.
The National Monuments Act, 2004, is not designed to preserve monuments, but to facilitate road building and real estate development in an unsustainable manner.
It is unconstitutional, unethical and un-Irish.
This crisis has more in common with present-day China than 1970s Dublin. Fifty years ago, China had 300 walled cities. Now only four remain. Of China's 2,000 historic cities, only about 20 have been well-preserved. An urban planner there recently remarked: "The speed of the urbanisation took everyone by surprise. We managed to save a few but the destruction was so fast it took everyone by surprise."
Surprise, was the speed with which Bertie Ahern’s protégé, Martin Cullen was moving…
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING IN ROYAL MEATH.
Surprisingly, during the same year Martin Cullen,displayed extraordinary compassion and reverence for the souls of the more recent faithful departed whose remains lay underneath other parts of Royal Meath.The key to remaining undisturbed in your last resting place lies in understanding where his complex sympathies seems to lie…It is of the utmost importance not to have been buried,at any time in history , in the path of the N.R.A.(National Roads Authority).Their Panzers/ Bulldozers have a mission and nothing will deflect them.
Yet a surviving piece of Meath’s burials tradition, a coffin stone at Fletcherstown, Clongill, has been reported, rescued by Martin, and is to be restored to its proper position, following the intervention of the Co. Council’s Heritage Office and the Dept. of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.
The ‘coffin stone’, as local people call it, is described as a "cross base" by the Meath heritage officer, Loreto Guinan. Traditionally, in the era when coffins were carried on the shoulders of mourners from the church to the graveyard for burial, the stone was used as a resting place on the way.
The stone is situated at the crossroads at Oristown, Kells.Co Meath.
Undertakers who conduct funerals to the Old Cemetery, Athlumney, Navan, meanwhile, have stated that the custom of stopping, placing the coffin on a specific stone and praying before the burial takes place is still carefully observed there.
Navan and Slane undertakers/funeral directors, Paddy Fitzsimons, Trimgate St. and Peadar Farrelly, Dunderk, confirmed that emphasis is placed on observing the custom at the Old Athlumney Cemetery.
Mr. Fitzsimons said the stone is located about five yards from the remains of the old Athlumney Church. "You put the coffin down, say a prayer and move on," he explained.
Deputy English revealed that this was the first time he had ever heard of a coffin stone and he knew that many other people would not be aware of the custom.
It pointed to the importance of people sharing their knowledge of such pieces of heritage as Mass rocks or coffin stones with the Heritage Office, he said. He appealed to members of the public to contact the local authority about these heritage items.
The stone at Fletcherstown had been covered over with grass and was accidentally moved from its position. Ms Guinan stressed that the person who moved it was unaware of its existence as it had become overgrown with vegetation.
The council was made aware of it and informed the National Monuments section of the Department. An archaeologist from the Department has visited the site and supervised an investigation. At present, the Department is preparing specifications to return the stone, which is intact, it its original position.
Other stones are being turned over in Royal Meath,and under each of them is a Fianna Fail speculator.!!
Reilly withdraws as candidate for by-election
31 January 2005 19:46
The man who was expected to be Fianna Fáil's candidate in a Dáil by-election in Co Meath, Tommy Reilly, has said he is no longer in the running for the post.
Mr Reilly, who is the chairman of Meath County Council, said he had been the subject of a witch-hunt by sections of the media over a field near the village of Skryne that he bought with the political lobbyist Frank Dunlop.
Mr Reilly said that for the sake of his family he had informed Fianna Fáil this morning that he was stepping aside as a candidate.
The party had been investigating the land deal before ratifying him as its official candidate.
Councillor Reilly said he would not be standing as an independent, nor would he be leaving the party.
He said that he would support whoever the party chose but acknowledged that the Fianna Fáil campaign had been damaged locally.
Fianna Fáil said later it had noted Councillor Reilly's decision, and that it will now be moving to find a replacement candidate as soon as possible.
Environment Minister Dick Roche said he was very sad to hear Tommy Reilly's decision to withdraw his candidature.
He said it was very unfortunate for Cllr Reilly and his family, given that nearly everyone accepted he was not guilty of any wrongdoing.
Tara Tycoons - political cronies poised to make fortunes
John Lee, political correspondent, Ireland on Sunday
Major developers who are also financial backers of Fianna Fáil stand to make millions from the controversial M3 motorway which conservationists say will destroy the historic Hill of Tara.
A company controlled by multi-millionaire builder Joseph Murphy Jr - whose main business, JMSE, was exposed as corrupt the Flood tribunal - owns valuable lands along the route.
So too does multi-millionaire Fianna Fáil backer Cathal McCarthy, formerly a business partner of Frank Dunlop, the corrupt former government press secretary, and of Des Richardson, a close friend of the Taoiseach.
Both Mr Murphy and Mr McCarthy stand to make millions from the sale of land needed for the motorway - which campaigners say will destroy some of our most important archaeological sites - and for the construction of intersections.
But Mr Murphy, in particular, stands to make even more substantial profits from the hundreds of acres of land which he owns within a few miles of the motorway route and which may well be opened up for development once construction is completed.
Support for the M3 route formed a major part of the Fianna Fáil campaign in Friday’s by-election - even though archaeologists and ecological activists have compared it to Egypt’s Valley of the Kings and insist that it should be preserved.
Mr Murphy faces an investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau after playing a central role in the Flood/Mahon Tribunal into planning corruption. Mr Murphy and Frank Reynolds, the former managing director of JMSE who was also condemned by Mr Justice Fergus Flood, are beneficial directors of Newland Properties Ltd with an address at Ashley House, Batterstown, Co
Newland Properties owns 26 acres in Roestown, Ratoath, Co Meath, of which five-and-a-half acres are subject to compulsory purchase by Meath County Council for construction of the M3.
But in recent years, Newland Properties has bought up more than 130 acres in nearby Ratoath, Dunshaughlin, Dunboyne and ther parts of south Meath near the proposed route.
Though the CPO on the five-and-half acres is expected to net the company about €5m, the real potential for profit is in its other properties beside and near the M3 route. Inevitably, there will be pressure to rezone this land for housing and industrial development - a move that would bring in millions more for the two building magnates, according to property experts.
Frank Reynolds said the company owned more than 100 acres "if you take in Dublin and other places". "I think if you ask anybody whose land will be affected by the M3 or N2, they would say they’d rather have the land. I wouldn’t say I’d make a killing on it. You can’t do much with land that has a road running through it", said Mr Reynolds."I don’t know if you can do much with it building-wise as people don’t want to live by a motorway".
Land Registry documents show that Newland Properties also has a massive land portfolio in Dublin. JMSE has made huge financial contributions to Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats.
Tribunal star James Gogarty, when accompanying Joseph Murphy and another corrupt building tycoon, Mick Bailey, to a 1989 meeting with now jailed ex-minister Ray Burke to make a corrupt €30,000 contribution, innocently asked: "Will we get a receipt?"
"Will we f***," was the reply.
Cathal McCarthy, meanwhile, has made millions from the development of Navan town centre in partnership with another rich developer, Gerry Duignan. IoS has seen files that show Mr McCarthy owns 12 acres at the most controversial interchange on the motorway - right beside the Hill of Tara, ancient seat of the High Kings of Ireland.
An additional 200-acre landback beside the interchange site was transferred to the name of Mr McCarthy since April 2004. The land is highly valuable given its proximity to the interchange and the M3. Opponents of the current route of the new motorway argue that the 29-acre, floodlit interchange will damage the Hill of Tara.
It has also been learned that in 1999, Mr McCarthy and Mr Duignan - registered with the Public Offices Commission as Duignan & McCarthy, PO Box 44, Navan, Co Meath - contributed £30,500 to Fianna Fáil. The contributions are listed as ‘£2,500 for attendance at a fundraiser, £3,000 for attendance at a fundraiser and £25,000 for attendance at a fundraiser’.
JMSE Managing Director begins evidence to Flood Tribunal - RTE News <http://www.rte.ie/news/2000/0125/flood.html>
Flood `obstructers'to face massive legal bills - Sunday Business Post <http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2003/05/11/story906...5.asp>
The Third Interim Report of the Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters <http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/special/2004/planning/...t.pdf>
Royal Meath and guess what lies under each of them-a Fianna Fail speculator.!
Meanwhile back in Baile Atha Cliath,MARINE Minister Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher has been stroking,(what,s new) and ordered to appear before a Dail committee.(October 2006)
The minister has been asked to respond to the controversial awarding of a bid to build a new national conference centre in Dublin's docklands area.
Following a heated exchange yesterday between members of the Oireachtas Committee for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources and Dublin Port CEO Enda Connellan, Committee chairman Noel O'Flynn said he was not satisfied with the answers he had received from the chief executive and ordered the minister responsible to respond himself at the next committee meeting.
"There are many questions left unanswered. To satisfy itself, the committee needs to access all relevant documentation," he said.
Labour TD Tommy Broughan and Green Party TD Eamon Ryan grilled the head of the semi-State body over the project, stating they were astonished that the bid to turn over 32 acres of prime city centre land to the Anna Livia Consortium headed by Bennett Construction was done without inviting bids from rival developers first.
"This smells of a sweetheart deal," Mr Broughan told Mr Connellan when he questioned him on why the Code of Practice on the Governance of State Bodies was not followed. Under the Code, any contract valued at more than €70,000 should be put out to public tender.
"You didn't follow the Code of Practice and it was wrong of you to pursue this without going to tender," he charged. "It is a very unusual deal. How can you say you have the best deal if you only have one bidder?," Mr Ryan asked the CEO.
Dublin Port intends to re-develop the parcel of land located east of The Point Depot into a national conference centre.
Meanwhile down Trim town way..in 2005;
The circle of Friends of Fianna Fail were busy re-interring the bodies of long deceased nuns and threatening local old ladies who owned a bit of land near Trim Castle.The land was needed by cronies, to build a new hotel on the doorstep of the castle.The fascinating and sordid tale story is availible on the website www.publicinquiry.ie and also on http://184.108.40.206/cpi/
Tara The Truth
Why was the proposed M3 routed so close to the historic site of Tara when the government knew it would cause massive delays, controversy, additional costs and lengthy legal actions? Was it in the public interest?
The National Roads Authority and every cat and dog in the country remembers the controversy and delays that the routing of roads through the Glen of the Downs and Carrickmines caused and yet a decision was actually made to put us all in the same position again with Tara. Although the general public did not always support the actions of those opposed to construction at the former sites, did the government seriously believe that running a double-tolled, six-lane motorway so near to the seat of the High Kings, the most internationally renowned archeological site in the country, would not cause even the most cynical of people to ask “what is going on?”
If the NRA adopted normal road building practices first widely employed by the Roman Empire over 2,000 years ago in realising that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line I might understand their position a little more. However, the proposed route for the M3 goes on a semicircular route from Dunshaughlin around the base of the hill of Tara and back to follow a reasonably straight path again. The question must be asked why was this done?
There are no large mountain ranges or Amazon sized rivers in the area that need to be avoided that I am familiar with. Why when the M3 could be built 5 kms to the west of Tara, over 3 kms shorter (at an average cost of €10 million per kilometre) and avoiding two massive flyer over intersections where the N3 crosses the proposed M3 was this controversial route chosen? The biggest of these fly overs at Blundelstown will cost €20 million alone. The area it services is a greenfield rural site, situated at the foot of the hill of Tara and will serve the interest of no one except construction companies and developers. Why pay an extra €60 million for a motorway and route it away from the badly serviced town of Trim?
Even if the M3 is rerouted to service Trim, which would save the taxpayers millions and safeguard the most significant historical site in the country, it will still result in no time saving benefit to the commuters of Meath. Traffic travelling from Navan and Kells to Dublin will continue to back up at the existing bottleneck at the Blanchardstown roundabout. This traffic problem will continue to get worse as large areas around Clonee and Dunboyne have been rezoned for housing development and will soon also feed into the proposed M3 further adding to the current Blanchardstown snail paced traffic jam.
To add to this, the outer orbital motorway, which the Tanaiste, Michael McDowell, is now proposing, will make the M3 redundant as there will be little interest from commuters in using a double-tolled motorway when there are other cheaper, faster options available.
Michael Starlett, chief executive of the Heritage Council Ireland recently highlighted the poor level of strategic planning employed by our government. According to Mr. Starlett; "Through a progressive approach to landscape management, other European countries have avoided many of the serious issues we now face as a result of bad planning decisions.”
Organisations like Save Tara Valley, which organised a march in Navan to highlight these issues on the 4th of November, Save Tara and Tarawatch have been trying to draw attention to these issues for a long time.
Vincent Salafia of Tarawatch recently delivered a lecture entitled 'The Inconvenient Truth About the M3 Motorway.” At this, Mr. Salafia expanded outlined new legal reasons to challenge what he referred to as 'the scariest planning decision you will ever see in Ireland'. Although prevented from taking further legal action under his terms of agreement with the court, he presented three potential areas for future litigation concerning the M3 project. Briefly, these were the fact that the discovery of new monuments should under the National Monuments Act of 2004 prevent any further work on the motorway from taking place until these have been properly investigated.
Secondly, the option exists to present all information gathered during the course of the previous trial to the EU Environment Directorate so that the Directorate can determine whether the Irish government has breached the EU Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. Finally an issue exists under the Planning & Development Act of 2000 concerning tolling hearing/public consultation that warrants further investigation.
According to Mr. Salafia, "The National Roads Authority plan to hold the public consultation for the tolling of the M3 after they sign the Public Private Partnership contract with the tolling consortium. He added "It’s a farce. The public are being deprived of any meaningful consultation, required by law, since the essential elements of the contract will already be agreed.”
Martin Hogan is the Green Party endorsed candidate for the National University of Ireland Senate election in 2007. All graduates of the National University of Ireland are entitled to vote this election. To sign up to vote simply visit www.nuiregister.com or contact Martin directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tipped off in advance and buying up the land to profiteer-the Fianna Fail circle of speculators and cronies.
Some of the usual Ballybrit Brigade/ property developers in the country are set for windfalls under the Railway Procurement Agency’s proposed routes for Metro West in Dublin.
Beef fraud baron, "Reach for your Lawyer" Larry Goodman owns land in Ballymun, which was previously used for meat processing and would be suitable for development if Metro West was built.
Michael Bailey of crooked property firm Bovale has large areas of land around the Ashbourne Road and Ken Rohan, an industrial development specialist, also has significant land holdings in the area.
Two routes through Blanchardstown have been proposed by the RPA.
Michael Cotter’s Park Developments, Pat Doherty’s Harcourt Developments and property developer Bernard McNamara all own land on or near one of the proposed routes.
Metro West will stop at Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, which will benefit Stephen Vernon’s Green Property. The company is already planning to increase the retail space at the centre by 66 per cent to 185,000 square metres, and has plans to develop a four-star hotel, offices and houses.
The route will also go near Balgaddy, where Cork developer Owen O’Callaghan,who never knew Frank Dunlop was distributing bribes on his behalf, and apartment builder Liam Carroll, Richard Barrett and Johnny Ronan of Treasury Holdings, and Paddy Kelly of Kelland Homes will have been tipped off well in advance, of future developments in and around Dublin,over a few pints at the Galway races, and have substantial property interests in the right place.
The Balgaddy land is already designated a special development zone, and up to 8,000 homes are expected to be built there.
Developer David Agar also owns about 100 acres in the Balgaddy area. If the proposed route through Grange Castle in Dublin is chosen, South Dublin County Council would benefit, as it has large land holdings there.
The final route will be a boon for landowners, as local authorities will allow significantly higher density development on sites near public transport links.
For example, in Sandyford in south Dublin, the local authority now allows about 150 apartments an acre, because of the presence of the Luas line.
On the Naas Road, planners are considering increasing the number of apartments allowed per acre from 30 to 120.