Government Must Prioritize National Monuments Bill in Programme of Legislation

Press Release | Save Newgrange | 6 April 2011

Government Must Prioritize National Monuments Bill in Programme of Legislation

Save Newgrange is calling on the Government to add the National Monuments Bill to its list of 20 urgent Bills to be published by the end of the Summer Session on July 21st. The call comes in response to first Programme of Legislation published yesterday, listing 105 Bills at various stages of preparation.

The Bill must be presented immediately, since last month, the current National Monuments Act was held in breach of the EU Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive, by the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The Court found that the decision by former Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, to demolish Lismullin national monument at Tara was illegal, since a new EIA was not required by the Act.

Save Newgrange had announced on Monday that it was staging a demonstration outside Dail Eireann on Friday, calling for the Bill to be passed before Summer, and before An Bord Pleanala decides whether to give planning permission for the N2 Slane Bypass, which is proposed to pass within 500m of the Bru na Boinne UNESCO World Heritage site. The proposal has been condemned by national and international experts. The demonstration will take place on Kildare Street, at 1.00pm on Friday.

A Save Newgrange spokesperson said:

“The Government is showing its colours, and they are not much different than the previous ones. It is now abundantly clear that there is the same disregard for heritage and the environment, coupled the same two-fingered approach to the European Commission’s Environment Directorate.

“This lack of priority for heritage in the Programme of Legislation also shows how weak Labour is in the coalition. It had been the most outspoken of Opposition parties against the M3 motorway at Tara.

“Eamon Gilmore had been highly critical of the 2004 Amendment to the National Monuments Act, brought in by Martin Cullen and now found to be illegal by the ECJ.

“If Eamon Gilmore wants to wash off the stain on Ireland’s international reputation, he should be trying to ensure that Bru na Boinne site does not suffer the fate of the Hill of Tara, and become the next great international embarrassment.

ENDS

Contact: Vincent Salafia 087-132-3365

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