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letter to Stephanie Sim from Green Party      ~ Northern Ireland

From: steven_aggie@hotmail.com
To: stephanie_simdoran@hotmail.com
CC: pfdoran@hotmail.com; johnj_barry@yahoo.co.uk; brian.wilson@northdown.gov.uk; katrina.doherty@niassembly.gov.uk
Subject: Tara
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 13:36:24 +0000

Hi Stephanie,
Below is some information on what the Green Party has been able to do regarding Tara since going into government.  Would you be able to forward to the members of the campaign?

Steven Agnew
Research Officer
Green Party, Northern Ireland

028 90 521067

Room 253, Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast, BT43XX.


The motorway at Tara received planning permission in 2003. The Green Party took over the environment portfolio in the Republic in June 2007. 

Contrary to many claims, the Irish Minister of the Environment, John Gormley simply does not have the power to re-route the M3.

The Minister has however, used his limited powers to protect Tara. The Minister did take a number of initiatives to minimize the impact of the road on the landscape and archaeology of the area.  However decisions relating to the archaeological findings along the route were made in 2005 and in relation to Lismullen in early June, before the Minister took office.

The Minister sought legal advice on the issue and he does not have the power to reverse any of the decisions.

The Minister has established an archaeological committee to over see the excavation at Lismullen.  He has also asked that a special protection zone be established for the entire Tara area to prevent against the development of commercial and industrial development along the M3 route. The Minister has also launched a review aimed at strengthening and improving both the legislation and archaeological practices in Ireland.

Unfortunately power came too late, for the Green Party to intervene on the decision. Indeed it came in the last six months of an eight year process and construction of the motorway was well underway. 

To ensure this type of decision cannot happen again the Minister has set up a steering group.

Green Party MLA Brian Wilson acknowledges that there is great concern among Green Party members in Northern Ireland on the motorway development at Tara and disappointment that power came to the Green Party too late to stop the development. Assembly Member Wilson shares in that disappointment and will certainly pass on any concerns from groups on this side of the border to John Gormley regarding Tara.


Katrina M. Doherty
Communications Officer
Green Party, Northern Ireland

Tel: 028 90 521 461
: 079 66 14 77 02


Unfortunately this is not true and is really party political spin. While it is true that Minister Gormley does not have any authority over
transport he does have heritage in his portfolio. There are two ways in which he could intervene: A National Monument was recommended to Minister Gormley (the souterrain at Lismullen) - he chose not to designate the monument. 2) The Government of which he is part of is openly flouting EU environmental law, an area over which he has specific jurisdiction.

- message re/ above from Green Party member - Michael Canney




Other various letters from greenParty to Pat McCormac



Hi  all

I sent an e-mail to 8 or 9 Green Party reps. Am posting it with the 3 replies received so far.
Three quite differing replies. Am interested in whether Garreth McDaids( Sligo Letrim Roscommon rep).is factually correct in a legal /legislation sense? Also Note the final paragraph!

I think there is a lot to be gained if we ALL write to local reps of The Green Party and other political parties. We do not know how people feel at grassroots level.

Note; I included links to the news items in Scoop NZ etc. In the absence of press coverage in Ireland we need to show there is international coverage.Also said the issue will not 'disappear' under the road !
Please all of you around the world consider e-mailing

Green Party links;
The replies;

Dear Patricia,
many thanks for your email and your comments. I personally agree with you regarding the need to look for possible alternatives to the current M3 that would help prevent the destruction of the Tara-Skryne landscape. I also feel that wider policy issues to do with transport and mobility in general, and road construction in particular, must be central to any sustainability debate in Ireland. The local Green
Party group here in Galway has discussed these issues on many occasions and we will continue to campaign for more sustainable transport solutions both at local and national level.

Kind regards,
Henrike Rau

(Secretary -- Galway Greens)

Hello Patricia
Thank you very much for your email. It is wonderful that so many people are taking the time to focus on these very important issues. We will be having our first meeting of the year in the next few weeks, and I will raise this issue there.
Best wishes
Margaret Palmer
(Secretary, Monaghan Greens)


The case that has been taken to the ECJ does not specifically revolve around Lismullen. It arises from an entirely separate case regarding the exclusion of demolition works from the scope of Ireland legislation in relation to EIAs. This case was initiated by the Commission in 2006; Lismullen was only sited as an example of this is the Reasoned Opinion issued in July 2007. The case also refers to the splitting of project decisions between planning authorities and the EPA.


It is also important to note that the Commission has not identified any aspect of the EIA that was conducted in 2003 that is flawed. The question of a second state EIA only arises in the context of other decisions that have been made by the ECJ that acknowledge that projects may unfold in more than one stage, and that in may be inappropriate to rely on a first phase EIA for an entire project.

The Commission has never expressed an opinion that a second stage EIA is required for the M3. Moreover, there is no provision in Irish legislation for the Minister to require a second EIA. That is the preserve of An Bord Pleanala. New legislation would be required for the Minister to issue such an order. Under current legislation, the Minister may only designate the types of development requiring an EIA and whatshould be contained in an EIA.

Tarawatch has repeatedly stated that the Minister has the power to legislate, which is of course untrue; only the Oireachtas can legislate, and the Oireachtas has shown no willingness to amend legislation on foot of developments regarding the M3.

I provide this information more as a backdrop than as a defence. The media, as well as the opposition parties, have made much of the Minister's role in the M3, whereas the reality is that the Minister has very little in involvement in the M3 project, not least because it was largely completed before his term in office.

To date, the Minister's only involvement has concerned the preservation order issued regarding Lismullen. This order was issued on the advice, of amongst others, Conor Newman, who is perhaps one of the most vocal opponents of the M3 project. Had the Minister Gormley chosen to ignore this advice, and order that Lismullen remain in situe, the site would have been destroyed and there would have been no significant alteration in the route of the M3.

More generally, the route of the M3 is a matter for the Department of Transport, not the Department of the Environment. Minister Gormley has no executive power regarding the route of the M3 or decisions taken by the NRA.

I understand your frustration in all of this, but the expectations that have arisen in relation to the Green Party's ability to alter the route of the M3 are unreasonable. Over the last 6 months, the focus of the party and its representatives has been to ensure that the impact of the M3 has been minimised, and to do everything in its power to prevent other roads from damaging our environment and our heritage. In this regard, the Minister has assigned special status to several areas that are threatenen by road projects, including areas along the route of
the M3. The Minister has also ordered a complete review of all practices in relation to the preservation of archaeological remains.

I hope this helps. I would be interested to know if you have contacted Fianna Fail representatives in relation to the role Minister Dempsey in all of this, and what their responses were.







Hello Melanie,

It is wonderful to see that letters from the USA are heading for the Irish Government.
It might be an idea to copy them to other political parties in Ireland so that the Government cannot deny that they are receiving correspondence about Tara.
Others in the Group might have a different view?
Here are some links to the main political parties in Ireland- might be useful

Best wishes