Proposed Heritage Protections for Tara are Illusory
The Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, is currently conducting two separate public consultations, allegedly to protect Tara. There is the proposed Tara Skryne Landscape Conservation Area and the proposed Tara UNESCO World Heritage Site. But the Minister has not produced one single map showing the proposed areas, and has refused to answer Parliamentary Questions on the issue.
TaraWatch is calling on the Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, to define the exact location of the proposed Tara Skryne Landscape Conservation Area and UNESCO World Heritage Site, after his announcement of proposed measures to protect Tara.
The Minister announced on Friday 22 July that he has initiated a public consultation for a pilot landscape conservation area around the sister hills of Tara and Skryne, in County Meath, but he has failed to identify the exact location of the landscape. The Minister also announced that he will be nominating Tara as a UNESCO World Heritage Site next year, but has also failed to identify the exact area of the site and the buffer zone, as part of that public consultation process which he launched last December.
In addition, on Wednesday the Minister refused to answer a specific Parliamentary Question on the location of the proposed World Heritage Site, along with a number of the 30 Parliamentary Questions proposed by TaraWatch and submitted by Sinn Féin and Labour:
“7. To ask the Minister for Environment can he define the area of the proposed Tara World Heritage Site?”
The Minister also failed to answer whether Iarnrod Éireann, Eirgrid, and the Eurolink Consortium (SIAC, Ferrovial and Cintra), were participating in the public consultation process for making Tara a World Heritage Site, since the M3 motorway, the North South Electrical Connector and the Navan to Dublin Railway are all proposed to pass within the Tara complex.
Deputy Aengus O'Snodaigh of Sinn Féin, who has agreed to be a member of the Tara Parliamentary Group along with Maureen O’Sullivan, TD, has written to the Minister, asking for responses to the unanswered questions.
Speaking recently, Vincent Salafia of TaraWatch, had the following to say:
“The Minister must stop hiding the ball and define Tara if there is to be effective public consultation for these so-called protective measures. We have two expensive and elaborate public consultations taking place separately, for the same approximate area, but we don’t have one single map defining that area. The Minister’s measures appear to be a smoke screen, with illusory promises of protection, which will not have any legislative basis. The Minister could easily give Tara real statutory protection, by broadening the boundary of the national monument in the National Monuments Bill 2009 he just announced."