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The Thornborough Henges

Huge Labyrinth walk will herald the launch of new Thornborough campaign


TIMEWATCH.ORG MEDIA RELEASE - 10/09/2007

Huge Labyrinth walk ceremony will herald the launch of new Thornborough restoration campaign

Thornborough Henges to be target of Restoration campaign

More the 500 candles will be used to create a massive labyrinth at Thornborough's Central Henge as part of the opening ceremony for TimeWatch's new campaign to restore Thorborough's ancient cursus.

Heritage campaign Group TimeWatch has announced that the group is to launch a new campaign aimed at restoring what the group is calling the "sacred Landscape" of Thornborough Henges.

To kick off the campaign, and in recognition of the ancient site's ritual purpose, TimeWatch have invited local religious and spiritual groups to participate in a ceremony of good fortune for the campaign. The ceremony will begin at 7pm on Saturday 22nd September and will involve pagan, Christian and people from other faiths who all agree that restoring one of Yorkshires oldest and largest ritual monuments is an important next step for the campaign. The ceremony will last for two hours and will include a partial walk of the cursus and story telling.

"In recognising the religious origins for the mighty monuments at Thornborough, we also recognise that no particular group has ownership of these structures; they belong to us all and we invite all-comers to come and help us begin the task of restoration by taking part in this spectacular ceremony" Said TimeWatch Chairman George Chaplin.

After more than five years of campaigning against quarrying at Thornborough, and following the planning ruling that the important archaeology surrounding the henges had to be protected TimeWatch have announced that it is time to begin restoring parts of the site that have been previously ruined.

"Thornborough Cursus is potentially the oldest major monument in the world aligned to the Constellation Orion. It is also the largest monument at Thornborough; almost a mile long" Said Mr Chaplin "On the 22nd of September we will be launching an entirely new campaign to restore the section that has been quarried back to its original state. We believe that this move will be positive for all involved since it will return the land back to original quality.

The Cursus at Thornborough is thought to have been built around 3,500BC, some five hundred years before the henges. It is a fifty meter wide strip of land, almost a mile long that was cleared in order to create a ceremonial causeway that some think of as a "spirit path" for the soul to return to the heavens.

Thornborough's cursus has been compared to the shaft within the King's Chamber in the Great Pyramid in Giza. This was also aligned to Orion and emanates from the central pyramid of three structures that mirror Orion's Belt. This too has been equated to a spirit path – a passageway for the soul of the pharaoh to travel to Orion.

"We think we can best protect Thornborough by helping to promote it as a unique site of international importance. Restoring the cursus will greatly help with this and will have local and regional environmental and economic benefits" Said Mr Chaplin.

Quarry firm wins Henges extension


Controversial plans to extend a quarry close to an ancient monument in North Yorkshire have been given the go-ahead despite opposition from campaigners.

Construction firm Tarmac can now extend its works at Ladybridge Farm, near the historic Thornborough Henges.

Campaigners had been fighting the plans for three years - fearing further work would damage the 5,000 year old site.

The henges - earth works - are believed to be one of the largest ritual gathering places of the Neolithic era.

A revised scheme was granted after the original bid was rejected in February.

Tarmac Estates manager Bob Nicholson said the decision had come as "a great relief" to the company's employees, hauliers and others whose livelihoods rely on the Nosterfield quarry.

The approval of the reduced plans will allow Tarmac to take out sand and gravel on a site east of Nosterfield quarry at Ladybridge Farm on condition the company gives legal safeguards to protect the site.

Map showing location of Thornborough Henges
A Tarmac spokesman confirmed the firm's appeal against refusal of its earlier application would be withdrawn.

George Chaplin, chairman of the campaign group Timewatch, said the petition, which included 10,000 names and addresses, was ruled inadmissible to the planning committee.

He said: "I find it very concerning with regards to democracy.

"We had hoped the council would incorporate the views of their voters in to the minerals planning strategy by now, but it hasn't happened.

"We always hear about how apathetic the voters are meant to be, but when the voters actually put their names and addresses down on a petition it's just ignored. What does this mean for democracy?"

Mr Chaplin added the campaign would continue and take its case to central government.

An English Heritage spokeswoman said the area between the Rivers Ure and Swale contains the most significant concentration of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments and related archaeological deposits in the north of England.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/north_yorkshire/6268043.stm

Hill of Tara

M3 go-ahead as objector drops case


M3 go-ahead as objector drops case

Meath Chronicle
Sat, Oct 07 06


NRA looks to June 2007 start to biggest ever road project

Paul Murphy

THE 'Battle of Tara' is over.

The last legal obstacle to the long-delayed M3 motorway has been removed and work on the project will start in June of next year following an agreement by an environmental campaigner to end a legal action blocking the road's construction.

The news got a warm welcome across the political spectrum yesterday (Tuesday) and was described as a major boost to the creation of infrastructure in the county which would draw inward investment.

Mr Salafia's retreat from legal action - signalled in the Meath Chronicle last week - had been rumoured in the past 10 days. He said on Tuesday that he was pleased to announce that a settlement had been reached before the Supreme Court in his case against the Minister for the Environment, the Attorney General, Meath County Council and the NRA regarding the excavation and planned construction of the M3 "through the Hill of Tara archaeological complex."

He said he had accepted an offer from the other parties to settle the proceedings after advice from his lawyers that it was in the best interests of the campaign to preserve the integrity of the Tara complex.

In the agreement, he has agreed to withdraw his Supreme Court appeal in return for their pledge not to pursue him personally for costs, estimated to be s600,000.

Ominously, Mr Salafia said that the path was now clear for fresh legal challenges to the M3 at Tara by independent third parties, "one of which is understood to be under way." However, the NRA said this week that it knew nothing of any further legal actions against the project.

Mr Salafia had taken a judicial review of the 2005 decision of the Minister for the Environment Dick Roche and was granted leave by Justice Peart in July last year.

The hearing had been postponed by the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Joe Finnegan, in anticipation of the then pending Supreme Court ruling in the Carrickmines Castle/M50 case. The hearing went ahead in January 2005 after the Carrickmines had been postponed for a third time.

He said that the best result campaigners could have hoped for in the Supreme Court was a rehearing in the High Court, followed by another Supreme Court appeal. The substance of his case would now be brought directly to the Environment Directorate of the European Union and he was petitioning the EU to take legal action directly against Ireland for breaches of EU law.

The total length of the N3 from Clonee to north of Kells swill be around 60km and cover 700 hectares of land. It will be by far the biggest ever road project ever undertaken in the county. The scheme includes 60km of mainline and 50km of ancillary and access roads. The NRA said that some archaeological work had been undertaken but other major excavation would now take place in preparation for the start-up of the project "post-May 2007."

The removal of legal blockages to the construction of the M3 got a warm reception across the political spectrum.

The Mayor of Navan, Colr Tommy Reilly, said that the news that the way was now open for the building of the M3 was "brilliant."

He added: "It is long overdue and just what we need to bring business in County Meath. It should be a major boost in bringing industry in. It will also help us to service properly the needs of people who have come to live in the county."

He said that it was imperative that all interests in the county would now push for the railway line. This was a vital link in creating the infrastructure which would ensure that Meath was able to avail of inward investment.

Meath East Fine Gael TD Shane McEntee also welcomed the go ahead. "I am very pleased that work will shortly start on the construction of the M3 motorway. It will be welcome news to the thousands of harassed commuters who use the existing road to get to and from work and college in Dublin."

Many people had heartfelt views concerning the possible impact of the project on the historic area around the Hill of Tara, he said. "The experience of archaeologists should, I believe, be available during the project to advise the contractors who will construct the motorway."

North Meath TD Johnny Brady has welcomed the news. He said: "I welcome very much that Mr Salafia has withdrawn his objection and that common sense has prevailed at long last. This has been a long drawn out battle. It has gone through one of the longest oral hearings in the history of the State. It went through the planning process in Bord Pleanala, it went through the High Court and was now in the Supreme Court.

"I welcome the decision of Mr Salafia to withdraw his objection and this leaves the way open for construction to start and we will hopefully see the construction under way in the very near future."

Colr Brian Fitzgerald, welcoming the ending of legal process, said that, for too long, the development of the county had been held up. He hoped that a number of projects which had been in the pipeline, and were delayed because of legal action against the proposed M3, would now go ahead.

It was now time for interests in the county to make sure that the reopening of rail links in the county should proceed hand-in-hand with the construction of the motorway.

Settlement of the Hill of Tara / M3 case


PRESS STATEMENT

3 October 2006

Settlement of the Hill of Tara / M3 case

Today I am pleased to announce that a settlement has been formalised before the Supreme Court in my case against the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government; The Attorney General; Meath County Council; and the National Roads Authority, regarding the excavation and planned construction of the M3 motorway through the Hill of Tara archaeological complex.

I have accepted an offer from the Defendants to settle these particular proceedings after receiving legal advice from my Senior Counsel, Mr Ger Hogan SC, and Mr Frank Callanan SC, that it was in the best interests the campaign to preserve the integrity of the Tara complex. Thus, I have withdrawn my Supreme Court appeal in return for their agreement not to pursue me personally for costs, estimated in the region of 600,000 euros. The path is now clear for fresh legal challenges to the M3 at Tara by independent third parties, one of which is understood to be under way.

I took judicial review of the May 2005 decision of the Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, within the 8 week time limit, and was granted leave by Justice Peart in July 2005. But the hearing was postponed by the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Joseph Finnegan, in anticipation of the then pending Supreme Court ruling in the Carrickmines Castle / M50 case. Finally, the hearing went ahead regardless in January 2006, after the Carrickmines ruling was postponed for a third time.

From the very first day of trial my case sank into a procedural quagmire, when Mr Justice Tom Smyth refused to accept affidavits and threw them back over the bench at us. The case then unravelled when he refused our motion for oral cross-examination of witnesses, and critical evidence, was excluded. The excluded evidence went to the heart of the case, and we were unable to legally prove that new national monuments had been discovered.

Expert evidence from Discovery Programme Experts, Conor Newman, Joe Fenwick and Edel Bhreatnach, alleged that many of the newly discovered 38 sites between Navan and Dunshaughin are national monuments because they lie within the Tara complex. In addition, they alleged that 2 particular monuments, at Baronstown and Collierstown in the Tara/Skryne valley, are national monuments in their own right. However, at the commencement of proceedings they decided not to support an application for an injunction, but rather let the matter go directly to full hearing on the merits, in order not to hold up the M3 unnecessarily.

With these national monuments now under imminent threat of demolition, and excavations due to end in early 2007, time is of the essence. The best result we could have hoped for in the Supreme Court in my case was a rehearing in the High Court, followed by another Supreme Court appeal. However, any new Plaintiff would be able to make an application for an injunction immediately.

The substance of my case will now be brought directly to the Environment Directorate of the European Union and I am petitioning the EU to take legal action directly against Ireland for breaches of EU law. The evidence will show how the NRA has systematically underplayed the extent and significance of the Tara archaeological complex, in light of the fact that the Environmental Impact Assessment only identified 5 out of 38 sites.

The campaign will cotinue in earnest and I will remain Legal Affairs spokesperson for TaraWatch and continue to seek a political solution, as well as a legal solution, in light of the upcoming General Election and the fact that 70% of voters surveyed last year wanted the M3 rerouted.

TaraWatch has recently been contacted by the World Monuments Fund, a New York-based non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting endangered ancient and historic sites around the world. They want us to make a submission with a view to putting the Tara complex on the list of World's 100 Most Endangered Sites list. We are also in direct contact with Europa Nostra, the administrators of European Heritage Week, who are considering launching an investigation into the Tara affair.

TaraWatch will also participate in a series of public demonstrations, the first of which will be held in Navan on Saturday, 4th November, starting at 3pm. We are also producing an album with bands like The Waterboys, Paddy Casey and Kila having offered songs.

On a personal level, I took this case because I truly believe the current M3 plan to be illegal, immoral and unethical and I still hold that view. The route of the M3 is 'the fruit of the poisonous tree', to use a legal expression. The roots of that tree are deeply embedded in Leinster House, where later today the Irish people will be officially informed, in essence, that black is in fact white.

The branches of this 'tree' extend well into County Meath, where recent by-election campaign saw the withdrawal of the Fianna Fail candidate after it was disclosed that he co-owned land with Frank Dunlop outside Dunshaughlin, not far from the M3. This was the same candidate that informed RTE's Prime Time that nothing had been discovered by the NRA at Tara except "pots and pans". An article in Ireland on Sunday called 'Tara Tycoons', (10-09-05) shows how major Fianna Fail contributors stand to make millions from developing lands in and around the 50 acre junction planned for Blundelstown, 1,000 metres from the crest of the Hill of Tara.

Recently, the NRA and indeed the Taoiseach have followed this lead and falsely and maliciously alleged that my case has cost the taxpayer 70 to 150 million euros in delays, as well as the lives of accident victims who had to drive on the old road. The obvious truth is that my case has caused no delay in the M3, as excavations are not even due to end until early 2007. There has been no delay in construction and no injunction in place, by my own design.

Finally, I did ask that this matter be handed over to binding arbitration, which would entail an independent third party assessment by a mutually acceptable qualified archaeological consultancy company.
All legal consequences would flow from the determination of the core issues of law and fact: (a) Does the M3 pass through the national monument of Tara? and (b) Have new national monuments been discovered?
This would be quickest and most effective means of bringing finality to the issue and certainty to the M3 project. The authorities rejected this proposal, which means that fresh legal proceedings are likely, along with a dramatic escalation of protests.

There are many other problems with the M3, besides the purely heritage issues. The current route is a waste of taxpayers money because it actually veers 3.5 km off path between Navan and Dunshaughlin to go through the Tara complex, and crosses the N3 in two places within 8 miles, where there is no population density. If it were to go 3.5 km westwards instead it would not need any N3 crossovers and would service Trim, as well as saving approximately 50 million euros.

While TaraWatch is mainly concerned with saving Tara and is not an anti-motorway lobby, we do note that the Al Gore film, 'An Inconvenient Truth' shows that global warming is happening much faster than we imagined and that drastic measures are necessary to reverse the trend.
The M3 represents 1970's technology in terms of fuel efficiency. Even the NRA itself is touting 2+1 schemes as much better options in terms of safety and efficiency per taxpayer euro. Meanwhile, there is no sign of the Navan to Dublin railway being opened, giving commuters an opportunity to get out of their cars and avoid the inevitable traffic jam at Blanchardstown, which will happen even if the M3 is built as planned.

Sooner or later this Government, or the next, must accept the inconvenient truth that the approval of the M3 route is one of the worst ever planning decisions in Ireland, and that it must be revisited in light of current knowledge and common sense.

ENDS

Vincent Salafia

The Thornborough Henges

Thornborough - Raising the stakes


Raising the stakes

TARMAC Northern's submission of a revised planning application to quarry land near the Thornborough henges ancient monument site increases the stakes in this long-running saga.

The company has already appealed against North Yorkshire County Council's refusal of the original application to quarry 45 hectares. This new application - for 31 hectares - is Tarmac's tactical fall-back position. If it can't have the whole site, seeking permission for a lesser area may be a means of dealing with some of the conservation/archaeological objections. It perhaps is also a signal of the company's intention to take this battle to the next stage - a legal one - should the Government planning inspector dismiss Tarmac's appeal.

The pressure is unquestionably stepped up on the county council, which will in due course decide whether to grant the revised application permission. That process will once more concentrate minds on the status of the setting of the henges and to what extent it is critical to the henge complex as a whole. Does the removal of 14
hectares of farmland closest to one of the three henges make a difference to archaeologists who say the monuments are more than the three circular earthworks and that the surrounding landscape is just as important if we are to understand their significance?
continued...



Our understanding of the concerns of the county council and English Heritage is that those 14 hectares will not make a great deal of difference to the conservation argument which, taken to its limit, suggests that an even wider area, including the Devil's Arrows at Boroughbridge, is a vast landscape of prehistoric significance.

It is a fiendishly difficult issue for the county council to deal with. The conservationists have already demonstrated how important it is in their eyes. The issue's importance to Tarmac Northern is now also underlined.

12:20pm Friday 28th July 2006
http://www.darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk/commentopinion/display.var.856025.0.raising_the_stakes.php

Hill of Tara

Chief Justice Postpones Setting Hearing Date for Hill of Tara M3 Case


PRESS RELEASE

TaraWatch

29 June 2006

'Chief Justice Postpones Setting Hearing Date for Hill of Tara M3 Case'

The setting of a hearing date in the Hill of Tara / M3 motorway case was postponed today by the Chief Justice, the Hon. Mr. Justice John Murray. He said he will set a hearing date after written submissions were received by The Attorney General, The Minister for the Environment, Meath County Council, and the National Roads Authority, due on 24th July.

Gerard Hogan, SC, Counsel for the Appellant, Mr. Vincent Salafia, asked for an early hearing date to be set, since he had given undertakings in the High Court that he would do so.

Chief Justice Murray questioned whether there was any urgency in the case, since there is no injunction in place and no stoppage of works.

Counsel for Meath County Council argued that there as a "considerable shadow" hanging over the project in relation to the public private partnership contract, which cannot be signed until the matter is through the courts.

This morning Chief Justice Murray also set a date of July 28th for
delivery of judgment in the Carrickmines Castle case, which has been postponed a number of times already. The judgment in this case will have a significant impact on the Tara proceedings, since it will address whether or not there is a constitutional duty on the Government to protect the national heritage. Justice Laffoy had stated in her High Court opinion that there was in fact a "constitutional imperative" to protect these assets.

ENDS

'Early Supreme Court Hearing Date Sought in Hill of Tara / M3


PRESS RELEASE

TaraWatch

29 June 2006

'Early Supreme Court Hearing Date Sought in Hill of Tara / M3
Motorway Case'

The first appearance before the Supreme Court for the Hill of Tara / M3
motorway case will take place Thursday, 29th June, at 11.00AM.

The case of Vincent Salafia -v- Minister for the Environment, Heritage
and Local Government; The Attorney General; Meath County Council and
the National Roads Authority is being appealed from the High Court
decision of Mr Justice Thomas Smyth, wherein he denied relief to Mr.
Salafia in March 2006.

Mr Salafia is judicially reviewing the Directions given my Minister
Dick Roche in May 2005, under the National Monuments Act 2004, in
relation to excavation and demolition of 38 archaeological sites, along
one of five sections of the M3, between Navan and Dunshaughlin.

Mr Salafia is claiming that the Directions, along with the Act, are
unconstitutional and that the M3 motorway passes through the Tara
national monument, as well as associated national monuments.

Counsel for the Petitioner, Mr. Salafia; Gerard Hogan, SC; Frank
Callanan, SC; and Colm MacEochaidh, BL, will be seeking an early
hearing in the case.

Mr Salafia said:

"There has been no delay in the M3 caused by this case, as
archaeological works are proceeding as planned and are due to be
completed in early 2007.

"We are anxious to have the legality of the works determined as quickly
as possible, so as to avoid any unnecessary delays or costs."

The Thornborough Henges

Firm to challenge Thornborough quarry ruling


A quarry company yesterday confirmed it is to challenge the rejection of controversial plans to extract sand and gravel from land close to a 5,000-year-old monument site.

Tarmac Northern employs 15 full-time workers at Nosterfield quarry, between Bedale and Ripon, in North Yorkshire, where supplies are expected to be exhausted within the next two years.

It sought planning consent to extract 2.2m tonnes over four years from 112 acres at nearby Ladybridge Farm, half a mile from the nearest of three Neolithic earthwork henges outside the village of Thornborough.

The henges have been described as the Stonehenge of the North.

The site represents a scheduled ancient monument with legal protection, but campaigners who bombarded North Yorkshire County Council with protests insisted that its immediate surroundings, including Ladybridge, must be saved from the effects of more quarrying.

In February, the application was rejected by six votes to three by the county council's planning committee.

Tarmac, which warned that the decision could lead to job losses, said yesterday it will appeal and seek a public inquiry, but a spokesman indicated that this was still not the end of the story.

Bob Nicholson, Tarmac estates manager for the area, said: "We are anxious to safeguard employment and maintain supply from the quarry to the construction industry.

"We are also discussing the possibility of a revised application for a smaller extraction area at Ladybridge, avoiding areas which were the subject of archaeological concern.

"Nosterfield is recognised as being a well-run quarry, close to the A1 for transport purposes, with a good record of co-operating with the community and with the various archaelogical, environmental and wildlife protection agencies.

We hope to achieve a fair balance taking account of all interests, including continuity of employment and supply of construction materials."

Alwyn Shaw, head of minerals at the county council, said no revised planning application had been received.

link
here

Silbury Hill (Artificial Mound)

Silbury Repair Schedule Announced


As you may have seen in the Press English Heritage recently announced the appointment of engineering contractor Skanska to take forward the next stage of repair work to Silbury Hill. Skanska will now begin working with English Heritage to draw up detailed repair plans for the Hill.

The repairs will tackle the damage caused to the Hill after a collapse of the infilling to a shaft at the top of the Hill in 2000. The brief for engineers was prepared by English Heritage and a team of expert advisors, and its aim is to find the best method for returning the Hill to its original state and preserving its long term stability. As well as permanently infilling the collapse to the head of the shaft, the works will involve the thorough backfilling of tunnels at the base of the hill, and repair the slumping on the sides of the Hill. The chosen method for backfilling is to re-enter the Hill through the 1968 Atkinson tunnel to its centre.

Skanska won the work after presenting a detailed submission covering practical design and construction techniques, risk management plans and an approach integrating the archaeological and construction elements of the project. The firm proposes using the Atkinson's original supports and additional temporary props to keep disturbance of the Hill's archaeology to an absolute minimum. Archaeologists will be working alongside the contactors to make a record of the internal structure of the Hill and take samples to recover palaeoenvironmental evidence and material for radiocarbon dating.

Skanska has worked with English Heritage on Silbury Hill in the past, contributing to the specialist stability survey work carried out on the Hill since 2000. The firm was selected for this phase of the work because the project board felt their submission best demonstrated how the brief could be safely met with the least risk of disruption to the Hill's archaeology and within a realistic timeframe and budget.

The development of detailed repair plans is now expected to take six months. Depending on the outcome of this development work, English Heritage hopes to commission the full repairs by Skanska and announce the start of repair work in Spring 2007. The repair project will be accompanied by a programme of archaeological investigation, recording and sampling.

We are working on the outreach and publicity programme. The relevant pages on the EH website will soon be up-dated which you will be able to access for future information.

Yours sincerely

Dr Robert H Bewley

Planning & Development Regional Director SW

English Heritage

Stonehenge and its Environs

Hopes rise for "an end to Stonehenge neglect"


Hopes rise for "an end to Stonehenge neglect"

Campaigners for early improvements to the surroundings of Stonehenge have expressed delight that a number of high profile organisations have now called for the same thing.

"Everyone who has visited Stonehenge knows what a mess the surroundings are" said George Chaplin of Timewatch. "There is a lot to do, yet there has been nothing but talking and arguing for years. But it struck us that some first steps could be taken almost straight away, particularly closing part of the side road that runs right past the stones, and that everyone would agree about that. So we got together with Heritage Action and launched a call for "Achievable Stonehenge", obvious improvements that could be started very soon without waiting for the longer term issues to be finalised."

"It seems we really struck a chord" said fellow campaigner Nigel Swift of Heritage Action. "Everyone seems to think it is a great idea and this week the whole concept has had a huge boost. A group of major heritage organisations like the National Trust, the Council for British Archaeology, Friends of the Earth and lots of others have issued a joint press release calling for the same approach."

"The government is due to make an announcement about the whole Stonehenge issue this summer" added Mr Swift. "They are running a public consultation to gauge opinion and it looks as if the public is very clear about this issue at least and definitely wants the job tackled in two stages with the first stage made a matter of urgency. We are hoping that a huge number of people will sign our petition. If we can achieve that, then together with the call from the other organisations, the government will be sent a message that can't be ignored."

The "Stop the Neglect of Stonehenge" campaign and petition can be seen at http://www.heritageaction.org/?page=heritagealerts_stonehenge

Heritage Action have illustrated the simplicity of their idea by releasing "before" and "after" photographs of Stonehenge.

Hill of Tara

Bertie's buds vandalising our past


An unexpected comment in the Sunday World, written by Paddy Murray -

There will have been, I don't doubt, unbridled joy in the Department of the environment – an Orwellian name if ever there was one – at the news the vandalising of Tara, is actually, legal. It quite simply beggars belief that we are to preserve a nondescript building on Moore Street because Pádraig Pearse and some of the other 1916 leaders spent, at most, a couple of days there while at the same time we bulldoze through the part of the country that was, without argument, the cradle of our identity for thousands of years.

What a pity Pádraig Pearse never stopped in the Tara Skryne Valley to have a slash against a tree. If he had, Bertie and rest of the increasingly green Fianna Failers – with Dick Roche on their coattails – would be damning those calling for the destruction of an area of such national importance.

Sadly, though, the country is in the hands of Philistines – it is run by people who give the appearance of never having read a book, at least not one without a pictures in it. It is administered by those for whom profit is everything and culture is nothing. I hope they call it the Dick Roche motorway – future generations are entitled to know who vandalised our history.

The Thornborough Henges

Call to protect henges for all time


Fragment from Yorkshire Today web site:
[Timewatch] spokesman George Chaplin said: "The threat of quarrying has not been removed by the planning refusal but it has given time to take stock and for everyone to agree upon the best future for the whole area."

The Timewatch proposals are for:

- a much wider "no quarry zone" extending at least a mile radius from the central monuments

- the preservation of all archaeology within the zone to be the top priority
Read the full article on the Yorkshire Today web site:

http://www.ripontoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=18&ArticleID=1365226

Ancient Site Looks Safe From Quarry Diggers


From an article by Brian Dooks, published on 15th February 2006 in the Yorkshire Post:
English Heritage wants 'Stonehenge of the North' preserved after claiming it is of archaeological importance.

Controversial plans for sand and gravel quarrying near Thornborough Henges in North Yorkshire look set to founder as new research offers further evidence the ancient monument was aligned with the stars.

Councillors have been urged to turn down an application to quarry 112 acres of land on a site just over half a mile away from the henges at Ladybridge Farm, near Masham, amid claims they are of national importance.

Last year councillors deferred a decision on plans by Tarmac Northern to extract a further 2.2 million tonnes of minerals by extending the existing Nosterfield Quarry after English Heritage claimed that archaeological investigation of the site had been insufficient.

Further archaeological work has taken place which has confirmed that features from the Neolithic or Bronze Age period are confined to an area of slightly higher land in the south west part of the site.
Read the full article on the Yorkshire Today web site:

http://www.yorkshiretoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=55&ArticleID=1351443

Vixen Tor (Cist)

Terror on the Tor


By Mark Ford
09:30 - 20th October 2005

The spectre of occult practices in the West reared its head yesterday as
police investigated a second case of ritual sheep slaughter near an ancient
Pagan altar on an isolated moor.

Six sheep were found with their necks broken and their eyes removed on land
at Moortown near the edge of Dartmoor. Four of their bodies were arranged
in a regular square shape, another two were lying next to a pattern of stones.

In January, seven sheep were found just half-a-mile away in the same eerie
shadow of Vixen Tor. Again their necks were broken, and this time
chillingly arranged in the shape of a heptagram - a seven-pointed star
symbol, linked for centuries with the dark arts and Black Magic rituals.

Now, the Western Daily Press can reveal that police are connecting the
incidents with the presence of an ancient Pagan sacrificial altar, the
stone remains of which are located just to the east of the tor.

"Our understanding is that this place used to be some sort of meeting place
for Pagans," said a spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police.

"To the east of Vixen Tor there is evidence of an ancient stone sacrificial
altar.

They added: "We are investigating this as a matter of criminal damage.

"People obviously have their right to practise their religion, but when
that involves damaging, or in this case killing, other people's property,
it becomes a crime." The dead sheep, worth £600, were still warm when they
were found by their owner, farmer Daniel Alford, on Sunday morning.
He has little doubt the shocking incident has its roots in Pagan ritual.

"You hear of all sorts of crazy stuff like that around Dartmoor, it's that
sort of place, people believe in all sorts of strange things," he said
yesterday.

"It is a bit unsettling knowing that someone has been creeping around up
there doing this, but there's not a lot we can do, it's such a vast area.

"There were the four sheep and then 10ft or 15ft away there were another
two, which were laid next to three stones which had been arranged in a
pattern," he said.

"The stones looked like a kind a of gateway, a similar thing that had been
found in January.

"After talking to a few people we established that it was probably
something to do with Janus the Pagan god of January and the beginning of
the New Year and banishing evil spirits.

"What this one is about, I've no idea. It was a full moon."

In this case, the eyes were completely removed from the sheep, and there
were no signs of the messy pecking that could attribute the loss to an
attack by birds.

Police confirmed the animals had their necks quickly broken and there were
no indications of a prolonged struggle or suffering.

It is thought at least two people would have to had to have been involved,
given the sheer physical strength needed for the killing and arranging of
the sheep.

Vixen Tor and the Alford family have gained notoriety recently in a
high-profile right-to-roam row with ramblers, walkers and climbers.

In 2003, the Alfords controversially ended 30 years of permitted access to
the tor on the grounds they could be held liable if there was an accident
on it.

Earlier this year, the decision was upheld by an inquiry inspector who
ruled against opening up the land under Countryside and Rights of Way
legislation.

Last month those demanding access to the tor and the land it stands on
mounted a peaceful protest on the Alfords' land.

Yesterday Daniel Alford said he did not believe the clash over access was
in anyway connected to the disturbing finds.

"I really don't think it is the sort of thing the Thermos flask brigade
would get involved in," he said.

http://www.westpress.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=146049&command=displayContent&sourceNode=145779&contentPK=13351104

The Thornborough Henges

Call for independent henges opinion


Campaigners are calling for an independent assessment by archaeologists of the threatened quarry site near the Thornborough Henges.
Last week North Yorkshire County Council put off a decision on controversial plans by quarry firm Tarmac to extract 2.2 million tonnes of sand a gravel from the Ladybridge Farm site, half a mile from the triple henge complex north of Ripon.

But campaign group TimeWatch has voiced concerns regarding the agreed strategy of allowing Tarmac a further four months to carry out research into the archaeology at the proposed quarry site.

The group has now called on North Yorkshire councillors to ensure that the archaeological work due to be carried out at Ladybridge is done by an independent third party.

"There is a massive gulf between Tarmac and the rest of the archaeological world regarding the importance of Thornborough's archaeology," said George Chaplin, chairman of TimeWatch.

"Now that Tarmac's evaluation has effectively been rejected by the council, we are pressing to get this new evaluation done by an independent third party otherwise we can see that this confused situation will only continue.

"For more than three years Tarmac have abjectly refused to accept the notion that there could be archaeology of national importance at Ladybridge. This line has remained unchanged despite the protestations of a great many archaeologists, campaigners and now English Heritage.

"When Tarmac was faced with rejection of the planning application, they ask for a delay, not so they can work out how much nationally important archaeology they are looking at, but to try yet again to prove that it is not important at all.

"This is turning into a critical situation, one that could have ramifications for every major heritage site in North Yorkshire."

Tarmac's existing Nosterfield Quarry, close to the henges, is nearing the end of its working life and the firm wants to continue production by expanding on to the adjacent Ladybridge site.

The firm's estates manager, Bob Nicholson, said: "The application site is more than half a mile from the nearest henge and in our view truly poses no threat to the monument. Tarmac has no wish or intention to affect the henges but naturally we want to continue in production and keep the employment in place."

Commenting on the deferment of a decision on their application, he said: "The deferment will give time to discuss the archaeological aspects with English Heritage in more detail and hopefully reach an informed decision based on additional factual evidence if required."

The county council is expected to consider the matter again in January.
30 September 2005

http://www.ripontoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=18&ArticleID=1207264

Monument Quarry Decision Deferred


Campaigners opposing plans for quarrying near an ancient monument in North Yorkshire must wait until the New Year for a decision by councillors.
Tarmac has applied to quarry sand and gravel at Ladybridge Farm, north of Ripon, near Thornborough Henges.

Opponents fear it could destroy clues about the 5,000-year-old earthworks' history but Tarmac says the land could cope with quarrying and conservation.

A decision was deferred on Tuesday to await a full report in January.

On Tuesday North Yorkshire County Council issued a statement saying: "Today's meeting has decided to defer this matter to allow a further archaeological investigation to be carried out.

"We hope to have a full report for members to consider in January."

Members of the North Yorkshire County Council planning board had visited the site in August and were recommended to refuse permission by planning officers.

The henges are believed to be one of Britain's largest ritual gathering places from the Neolithic period.


The henges are in open countryside near the A1

Local campaign group TimeWatch has collected a petition of more than 10,000 signatures against the plans which would see work about half a mile away from the henges.

It said the quarry would contribute to the permanent loss of nationally important archaeology.

US-based conservation group the Landmarks Foundation has also voiced its concern at the quarry proposals, describing them as a tragedy.

But several people have expressed their support for the quarry extension.

Tarmac already has a quarry at Nosterfield, close to the ancient henges which consist of three earthworks built in a line running north-south for about a mile.

Workers at the Nosterfield Quarry and local building firms have sent in 80 letters and a 350-signature petition arguing that more than 50 livelihoods depend on the application's approval.

Tarmac has said the extension is on farmland where there is only "thin and scattered" evidence of prehistoric activity, according to a recent study by archaeological consultants.

The actual henges are under no threat from quarrying because of their status as protected ancient monuments, the company added.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/north_yorkshire/4261022.stm

Decision-makers urged to reject quarrying near henges


Decision-makers urged to reject quarrying near henges

From the archive, first published Wednesday 14th Sep 2005.

THE long and often acrimonious battle over the future of one of Britain's most important archaeological sites will come to a head next week.

At a meeting in Masham town hall, North Yorkshire county councillors will decide on the future of quarrying operations by the 5,000-year-old Thornborough henges.

In a major blow for quarry operator Tarmac, they are being recommended to throw out plans to extend extractions near the three large Neolithic earthworks.

Planning officials said the proposal would have "an unacceptable impact on nationally important archaeological remains".

They also said the move would be contrary to the authority's policy on mineral extraction and that there was no overriding need for it.

Tarmac Northern wants to extend Nosterfield Quarry at Ladybridge Farm, Thornborough, near Ripon, to extract 2.2 million tonnes of sand and gravel over four years.

An application was submitted in June last year and immediately brought protests from those who feared for the future of the henges, about a kilometre south-east of the extension area.

Almost 850 letters of objection and three petitions with a total of 9,680 signatures were sent in. Some of the objections came from overseas.

The Council for British Archaeology, Yorkshire Archaeology Society and action groups the Friends of Thornborough Henges and Timewatch also submitted detailed responses calling for the scheme to be rejected.

Tarmac has insisted throughout that the development would pose no threat to the henges, saying the extension would be further from the earthworks than the existing quarry site.

Yesterday, their response to the recommendation to refuse permission was muted.

Tarmac Northern estates manager Bob Nicholson said: "We have only just learnt of the officers' recommendation and will need to study the report to committee in detail before we are able to comment further."

Councillors will meet at 1pm on Tuesday, and the public turnout is expected to be high. The chairman of Timewatch, George Chaplin, was not making any early celebrations yesterday.

He said: "The messages we are getting are that refusal is far from certain."

http://archive.thisisthenortheast.co.uk/2005/9/14/206072.html

Hill of Tara

Tara campaign stepped up


The Tara SOS week programme of protests will be launched with a 1
hour protest commencing 10am at Dublin Castle on Saturday 03.09.05.
This protest will coincide with the Themed tour and readings
titled 'The Irish Revolution (1913-23' in Dublin Castle.

Later in the day at 1.30pm (September 3rd) a later protest will also
be held at the same venue to coincide with the O'Carolan harp recital
in Dublin Castle at 1.30 in the afternoon

New Placards, and leaflets covering Tara's history, lore and heroes
will be launched. A strong turnout is essential.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Sunday, 04.09.05

------------------

Dublin - Volunteers Needed

All Ireland Semi-final, meeting at 2pm at GPO - educational talk
about C€ ¦ú Chulainn Statue and Tara, etc at GPO followed by 1.5hrs
of
leafleting the 82,000 crowd at Croke Park

----------------------------------------------------------------
Co. Meath - Volunteers Needed

Sunday, 04.09.05

All Day Protest in the Car park, Loughcrew, Oldcastle, Co. Meath
to coincide with the Free guided tours of Cairn T. Time: 10.00am -
5.00pm

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Co. Mayo - Volunteers Needed

Charlestown Town Hall Arts Centre, Barrack Street, Entrance to the
right of the Library entrance (same building) beneath Health Centre.
Photographic exhibition: `Portraits of an Irish Town'. Sunday
2.00 -
6.00pm
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Co. Cork - Volunteers Needed

Courtyard of Barryscourt Castle, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork. Re-
enactments of military life in Norman times. September 4th, all day.

Garinish Island, Glengarriff, Co Cork. Tour of Italian garden.
September 4th, 12.30pm.
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Co. Waterford - Volunteers Needed

Dungarvan Castle, Co Waterford, tours relating to the castle's
history. September 4th, 12.30pm and 3pm.
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Co. Donegal - Volunteers Needed

International Clann tSuibhne (Sweeney clan) gathering, Letterkenny,
Co Donegal, September 4-10th.
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Co. Galway - Volunteers Needed

Connemara National Park visitor centre, Letterfrack, Co Galway.
Guided nature walk. September 5th, 10.30am.
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Campaigner unveils 'alternative' M3 route


PRESS STATEMENT - TARAWATCH - 19TH AUGUST O4 - 4.30
PM

A new campaigning group - Tarawatch - has been formed. The
group sees it's role as articulating the opinion of the 70% of the
irish population who are against the routing of the proposed M3
through the Tara Complex. The group is determined to keep the
issue at the forefront of public debate in the run-up to a high
court challenge to the Governments decision.

The group's first public action took place today at the M50
tool-booth operated by National Toll Roads who are part of the
consortium most likely to build and collect tolls on the proposed
M3 for the next 25 years as part of a Private Public partnership
arrangement.

Leaflets were distributed at the action to motorists informing
them:

- that the Clonee to Kells motorway will have two toll booths for a
initial contract period of 45 years
- that one toll booth will be located north and the other south of
the Hill of Tara
- that profits from these tolls will go to a private corporation and
not the exchequer
- that NTR has been selected as the preferred bidder on the M3
Public Private Partnership (PPP) contract
- that NTR are part of Eurolink, along with SISK and Cintra
Construction PLC (Spain).
- that the profit from their tolls will pay for destruction of Tara
- that a shorter cheaper route to the west of the tara complex is
available
- that commuting problems on the M50 are likely to get much
worse

A member of Tarawatch, Michael Canney said "The government
are attempting to frame the debate over the M3 in terms of
heritage and environmental campaigners VS the commuter and
motorist. We have set out today to convince motorists that the
length of commuting times is the real problem and that the lack
of public transport alternatives is contributing greatly to it. All of
this is a result of failed housing and transport strategies". Mr.
Canney continued: "To add insult to injury, the long distance
commuter will now see their toll money, paid to NTR, used to
fund the M3. In effect their monies are going to be used by this
company to destroy the Tara complex".

The new group sees itself as an extending and broadening the
already existing campaign against the plan to run the new M3
through the Tara-Skryne Valley. It intends to be action oriented
and will be launching a major website next week.

Another member of the group said: "The government have
overruled their own experts, ignored national and international
academic opinion and resisted and slandered those seeking to
challenge their actions through the courts. We are now
beginning to mobilise for the next stage of the campaign. We
represent the majority of public opinion on this issue and we will
not allow this opinion to be ignored."

Campaigner unveils 'alternative' M3 route
By Elaine Edwards Ireland.com Last updated: 19-08-05, 16:39


A campaigner against the proposed route of the new M3 motorway near
the Hill of Tara in Co Meath has presented an alternative route for
the road, again urging that it be re-routed to avoid the historic
site.


A campaign graphic voicing opposition to the proposed M3 route
In a briefing on his legal action against the Government, lawyer
Vincent Salafia claimed that 70 per cent of more than 1,000
respondents in a recent survey by research group RED C favoured a
different route for the M3, which will run from Clonee to Kells,
bypassing Dunshaughlin and Navan.

The campaigner said he had separated himself from the Tarawatch
protest group because he did not want them exposed to liability in
the event that he loses his High Court action against the route. He
said he was personally exposed financially if he loses the
forthcoming case.

Campaigners and their advisors are awaiting judgment from the Supreme
Court in a case related to the controversy over the Carrickmines
Castle site in Dublin. The outcome may have an effect on their legal
argument in the Tara case, which centres on technical points in
legislation under which the Minister for the Environment consented to
the route.

Mr Salafia expressed concern about the fact that no public hearing on
tolling had yet been heard, even though it has been widely reported
that the Eurolink consortium will toll the route and also receive a
State subsidy.

Mr Salafia today presented what he said was a professionally designed
and "legally acceptable" engineering solution which would protect the
Hill of Tara. The alternative route is up to 2km shorter between
Navan and Dunshaughlin and brings the M3 nearer to Trim, which would
make sense he said.

"The NRA and the Government are saying 'you must allow us to build
this motorway through Tara or you must sit in traffic jams; it's the
only solution'. You, the motorist, and the citizen, were promised
upgrades and by-passes years ago, do not allow them to foist a
destructive, wasteful and unsustainable - but highly lucrative -
motorway as a bullying tactic now," he said.

"The only people who will benefit from the construction of the M3 are
the toll road operators and property speculators. The same company
who operate the M50 toll (NTR) have been selected as the preferred
bidder, they will operate it and profit from it in exactly the same
way. The prospect of large retail and commercial developments at
junctions along the route is a prime motivation behind large land
transfers in the Meath area."

The NRA insists that the route chosen makes most sense economically
and that it will run further from the Hill of Tara than the existing
N3. However, Mr Salafia said Tara had to be considered a complex and
that it wasn't confined to the hill itself. He wants the entire
complex declared a World Heritage Site.

Green Party TD Ciaran Cuffe said he would like to see the matter
brought back before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the
Environment, which is chaired by the Fianna F€ ¦áil TD Sean Haughey.

Mr Haughey has previously said that plans to run the route through
the Tara area were "bordering on vandalism" against one of the most
important historic sites in the country.

Mr Cuffe said today: "It's about time he put his money where his
mouth is and moved it on."

The Green Party TD also said he believed there was public concern
about some of the investigation methods currently being used on sites
around Tara. Diggers are in operation on a number of the sites and
some environmentalists claim they may cause irreparable damage to
terrain or artifacts of archeological and historical significance.

Sinn F€ ¦éin TD Aongus € ¦Ó Snodaigh said his party favoured rerouting the
road alongside the development of public transport alternatives such
as a rail line to Navan.

"My main point is the protection of our natural environment and also
our archeological and historical heritage. Anyone who has any
understanding of history will understand that the outlying area is
often more important than the site itself. If you start to destroy
the landscape you lose the sense of what was there."

Tara Day - August 15th 2005


The people of Ireland are invited to visit the Hill of Tara on August 15th. Tara Day, to express their opposition to the proposed twice-tolled Motorway through the Gabhra (TaraSkryne) Valley. Information will be available on the 38 sites along the proposed route, including those presently being excavated and others that may be investigated in the future. Maps will be available and everyone is invited to visit these sites that lie so close to the bottom of the Hill. People are asked to gather from 3 p.m. onwards and at 7 p.m. we invite any politicians who wish to join us for information and photographs.

The 15th of August has been chosen for this event because on August 15th 1843 Daniel O'Connell held a monster meeting at Tara attended by an estimated 750,000 people. These people held a belief that the strength of their unity could make a difference to their freedom. That same flicker of belief burns deep within us all.

Daniel O'Connell was not alone in choosing Tara as a rallying or battle point. Many others saw Tara as the location from which to launch a campaign. It was used by Brian Boru, by the O'Neill's in the sixteenth century and was the focal point of the 1641 rebellion. There was also a skirmish there during the 1798 rebellion.

One of the major battles between the Norse and the high-king of Ireland was the Battle of Tara fought between Mael Sechlainn and Olaf Cuaran for the prize of the kingdom of Brega (the land surrounding Tara) and for Tara itself.

The public are asked to bring their county flags and the tri-colour with them to express their support of those who oppose the routing of the proposed road through the Valley. People are also invited to bring flags or banners representing various issues they might be trying to highlight in their own communities.

The National Roads Authority and Meath County Council have issued a propaganda pack on the archaeological aspects of the M3 and this is being selectively distributed countrywide. The pack includes a CD outlining how the proposed motorway might fit into the landscape.

However, Rath Lugh, one of the main outposts of Tara, has been
completely ignored. Perhaps the NRA and MCC do not want the public to know that it would be separated from its core, The impact on Skryne is also overlooked. Public taxpayers money is again being spent to promote a PPP project. The cost of this propaganda exercise is being investigated.

spokes@sacredireland.org

www.sacredireland.org
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