| Friday 14th March
2008 | Issue 624
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FORT FOR A DAY
AS PROTESTERS DIG FOR VICTORY TO SAVE THE HILL OF TARA
The intense battle between protesters and the M3 Motorway, carving it’s way through the archaeological heritage landscape surrounding the ancient Hill of Tara (see SchNEWS 597) in County Meath, Ireland continues... having gone underground – literally.
Protesters at the direct action camp on top of the Rath Lugh National Monument, using tactics reminiscent of Britain in the mid-nineties, have built a network of tunnels into the hillside to stop or hamper any construction work. This week, with one archaeologist warning that the whole hill and the fort on it is unstable and under threat of collapse if construction goes ahead, one brave woman has sealed herself in a tunnel, chaining herself by the neck to a jack which could bring down the tunnel if she is forcibly removed.
Yesterday (13th) there was a dawn raid on the camp only four hours before an injunction brought by protesters to stop the work was due to be heard (unsurprisingly it was later rejected in any event). During the raid, clueless construction workers acted like police, throwing their weight around, while dismantling the camp.
Protesters inside the tunnel network are vulnerable and need legal observers to protect them, the bulldozers are continuing to work on top of them, knowing full well that the ground is mainly sand and silt. One said, “The eviction is blatantly not being done with any care or proper training to remove the tunnel inhabitants” - and they’d welcome any advice or visits from tunnel veterans of the 90’s to help them deal with the situation.
For Whom The Toll Sells
This part of the M3 route is where Halliburton (Dick ‘the Puppetmaster’ Cheney’s warmongering company) are planning to build the tolls for the motorway. The construction workers are using compulsory purchase orders to access the area, where they’ve already started to cut into the esker foundations of the hill (an esker being a not-so-solid sounding ridge made of small rocks, silt and sand left behind by a ancient glacial river).This will result in lowering the water table, preventing water reaching the roots of the forest situated on top of the monument, gradually destroying hundreds of ancient oak and beech trees.
The National Roads Authority and the Irish Government are choosing to ignore the fact that Rath Lugh is protected under the National Monuments Act 2004 and are continuing to break EU Laws left, right and centre.
Further along the route, concrete flyovers are going up and tarmac is being laid at Soldiers Hill for the massive three acre interchange. Developers have plans for the surrounding area which will include shopping centres, hotel complexes and the usual Starbuckery and McShite everywhere!!
People are desperately needed to go to Tara now, to build a new direct action camp. Activists are meeting at Holyhead ferry port between 12-1pm on Saturday 15th March – and money may be available to contribute towards tickets – which are only £50 rail & sail or £30 booked in advance. If folk want to come, get in touch with SchNEWS.
* For updates and info on how to get to Tara see www.tarataratara.net www.tarawatch.org & www.savetara.com
* See the ‘Skulduggery’ SchMOVIE about Tara at www.schnews.org.uk/schmovies
* SIAC: If you can’t come to Ireland and are still up for action here in the UK, SIAC are an Irish company (South Ireland Asphalt Company) who have a 5% stake in the construction of the M3 at Tara and are also involved in the construction of the onshore gas refinery terminal at Rossport co Mayo (See SchNEWS 603 and below). Activists are planning a week of solidarity action against SIAC, starting on Paddy’s day, Monday 17th March. SIAC have operations throughout the UK and Ireland in many fields ranging from construction to pharmaceutical research - so there are plenty of ways to make your objections felt.
How about contacting Howell James, Managing Director, SIAC Construction (UK) Ltd, Bond’s Mill, The Counting House (we kid you not), Stonehouse, Glos, GL10 3RF. Tel: 0145 382 8888. Details of other UK contacts / contractors at www.tarapixie.net
* ROSSPORT: Coinciding with a international day of action called against Shell, a contingent of people from all over Ireland are making a St Patrick’s Day visit to Shell’s HQ in London. Meet them at 11am, Monday 17th March, at the Shell centre, on the South Bank in front of Jubilee Gardens (SE1) right next to Waterloo station. If not, other solidarity actions at yer local service station would still be appreciated. Mayo the force be with you! See www.gluaiseacht.ie and www.corribsos.com
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