[Unpublished letter sent to The Irish Times, October 11, 2010]
Maol Sheachlainn Ó Caollaí rightly points out that “the current National Monuments Acts do not provide any protection for historic battlefields”, and urges to Minister to include such protections “in his proposed new act”. (Letters, 11 October) As the Minister himself has often noted, the act doesn’t give much protection to national monuments either. It is high time he presented his proposed new Act to the Oireachtas. The heads of legislation were published during the last Dáill term, and delivery is over two years past the promised delivery date.
With Brú na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage Site under threat from the N2 Slane bypass, it is critical that the new Act is introduced immediately, so as to inform An Bord Pleanála’s decision on whether to grant planning permission. But instead of moving the legislation forward this term, we now hear Minister Gormley telling Marian Finucane he ”believes an all-party approach to the economy would be possible and would be in the ‘national interest’.” (Breaking News, 11 Oct)
Let us not forget that Green Party members had an opportunity to act in the national interest when they alone got to vote on whether NAMA would be introduced, and whether this coalition Government would continue in power. Minister Gormley led the charge then, calling on his party members to stay in Government and support NAMA; an act of ultimate self-interest. 84 per cent voted in favour of the programme for Government, and 69 per cent said yes to NAMA. (12 Oct 2009)
What would truly be in the national interest would be if he were to stop behaving like the leader of the beleaguered Green Party and start behaving like the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, and deliver on the promises that got his party members elected and put into power in the first place.