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Irish Examiner: Cullen 'failing to protect heritage sites'

Irish Examiner

By Jim Morahan

HERITAGE groups yesterday accused Environment Minister Martin Cullen of
failing to protect national monuments.

They protested outside the Dáil yesterday at Mr Cullen's attempt to plug heritage loopholes in the wake of the M50/Carrickmines Castle debacle.

Mr Cullen claims his newly published bill to amend the 1994 National Monuments Act not only addresses the legal battle surrounding the medieval ruins in South Dublin, which has delayed completion of the road, but also provides markers for the development of road infrastructure when confronted by archaeological finds.

Members of the Save Tara/Skryne Valley Campaign, who are opposing controversial developments planned for Co Meath, called on the opposition parties to oppose the Bill.

Green Party leader Trevor Sargent and Labour environment spokesperson Eamon Gilmore have pledged to support their fight.

The group claimed the bill was designed to legalise badly designed roads and would reduce protections for national monuments.

Heritage legal expert Vincent Salafia said the 1994 Act was designed to prevent "another Wood Quay" the destruction of the Dublin Viking settlement in the late 1970s.

Now they faced "three Wood Quays"; at Carrickmines, Waterford's Viking
remains in the path of the Waterford bypass, and Trim Castle, Co Meath, where a hotel is planned.

"Like e-voting, this bill is another arrogant attempt by Minister Cullen to force through an ill-conceived and badly researched piece of legislation" he added.

Independent Meath and Trim councillor Phil Cantwell said the question of heritage was a big issue for the people.

Dr Muireann Ni Bhrolchain of the Co Meath group called on the academic community and the public to take a stand.

"It is time to draw the line in the sand before we disgrace ourselves completely in the eyes of the civilised world," she said.
Posted by otuathail3
19th June 2004ce
Edited 22nd June 2004ce

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