The Hill of Tara, Ireland.
When the Irish Government announced that it intended to run its proposed M3 motorway through the Tara Valley, many lovers of Irish heritage we shocked, for Tara has always been an integral part of Irelands culture.
Tara is a large monument complex, it began life more than 5,000 years ago in the Stone Age and over time it grew to occupy a central role in Irelands history.
Famed as the place where the High King of Ireland was crowned in the Iron Age, Tara is shrouded in myth and legend. Even St Patrick came to Tara to challenge the old gods, laying the way for a Christian Ireland.
Motorway through an ancient complex
Like many ancient monument complexes, Tara is not just a set on structures on a hill, the hill is surrounded with other monuments, some are over a mile from the hill yet they are linked with Tara and together they form one of Irelands largest and most important ancient monument sites.
Unfortunately, the Irish Government has chosen to treat Tara as a set of individual monuments ignoring the relationship between them and has opted to cut the new M3 motorway between the Hill of Tara and its outlying monuments, in the process, more than 30 archaeological sites will be destroyed.
In addition, a motorway interchange will be built within the Tara Complex, bringing with it the innevitable threat of off-motorway developments such as services, industrial units and commercial premises..
Despite more than 20,000 signatures of the Save Tara petition and thousands of letters of protest, the Irish Government has decided to ignore the concerns of its people for their oldest royal site.
To add insult to injury, a High Court challenge by Vincent Salafia was thrown out because "the existence of a national monument affected by the development had not been proven". Mr Salafia has been levied a staggering 600,000 Euro bill for the costs of the ten day court case.
This staggering response of the judicial system and of the Irish Government is extremely alarming and shows a flagrant disregard and lack of respect for Irelands most important heritage.
Campaign groups the world over are calling for a dramatic increase in protests about the development.
Mr Salafia is considering taking the case to the European Court.
Sources and resources
Save Tara online petition - http://www.petitiononline.com/hilltara/petition.html
Save Tara campaign groups
http://www.hilloftara.blogspot.com/ Online Blog
http://www.hilloftara.info/ Tara litigation website
http://www.taraskryne.org/ Save Tara/Skryne campaign group