'Carrickminders' celebrate archaeologists return
an update of the M50 saga
The Irish Examiner 08 Nov 2002
By Caroline O'Doherty
THE National Roads Authority has denied protestors' claims of victory after archaeologists resumed work on the controversial Carrickmines Castle site. Dozens of personnel have begun excavations at the site in south Co Dublin, which lies in the path of the South Eastern Motorway, the long-awaited last section of the M50 motorway.
Protestors calling themselves Carrickminders who have been occupying the site since the deadline for excavations ran out at the end of August have declared the return of the workers a "grudging acknowledgement" that recovery of the site's treasures is far from complete.
"It validates what we've said all along. There is a wealth of artefacts still in the ground, and now that the EU and Bord Pleanála are questioning what's going on, they have slipped the archaeologists back in to try to look like they're doing a respectable job," said spokesman Ruadhan MacEoin.
But Michael Egan, spokesman for the National Roads Authority (NRA), said the latest work called finds' retrieval had always been planned and that it was in fact held up by the Carrickminders after they blocked machinery from accessing the site.
"It was always the intention after the initial manual phase of work was finished to move in with equipment and remove material for sifting to recover whatever coins or pieces of pottery or tools might be in the soil," he said.
He said the Carrickminders had blockaded the site and prevented the use of mechanical excavators and the work had been held up while mini-excavators were sourced and delivered.
"It's ironic. Various interests had indicated concern that this area of land needed further checks, but we had already identified that need and they delayed us doing the job."
The current team of archaeologists expect to have only a few weeks to finish the finds retrieval exercise, and road building contractors Ascon, now working either side of the site, are ready to move in when it is cleared.
But with An Bord Pleanála and the European Commission both now probing elements of the project, it is believed Ascon will be encouraged to continue working around the site as much as possible without delaying the overall construction timetable.
Posted by Rhiannon
8th November 2002ce