CARRICKMINES CASTLE SITE
Madam, - Mr Feighery (July 18th), of Foxrock, desires the preservation of Irish heritage, "in all its great diversity", yet pleads for the Carrickmines Castle site to be destroyed in order to complete the M50. Was he concerned when ringforts, dolmens, Bronze Age remains at nearby Lehaunstown, sections of the Pale Ditch, Hinshogue House, and numerous other protected structures were recently crushed into the ground in the Foxrock/Carrickmines area?
While work on the M50 is continuing at present, destroying the Carrickmines Castle site will not accelerate its completion. In fact, due to the underestimation of traffic volume, it now appears that the entire motorway needs to be redesigned and rebuilt. Vincent Browne (July 16th) estimates that this process could last "five to 10" years and cost "almost a billion euros".
Irish monuments, on the other hand, cost us nothing to build and are huge earners. But they are delicate, non-renewable resources. As such, they have been protected since the British government passed the Ancient Monuments Protection Act (1882), thus preventing a misguided majority or a vested minority from improperly deciding their fate. In contrast, our new Minister for Heritage has abolished Dúchas The Heritage Service, consented to the Carrickmines site demolition, and is now calling for sweeping changes to the National Monuments Act (1930).
National monuments are not judged by their stones alone; under the 1930 Act (as amended), they are defined with regard to their "architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest".
In February 2003, the Supreme Court applied this definition and granted an injunction.
Attesting to the correctness of this decision, I have watched hundreds of families exploring the great diversity of this site - such as the moats, wells and spiral stairs - and listening with wonder to the stories, like that of Shakespeare's patron who once resided here.
Mr Gohery (June 25th) called for a plebiscite to decide the future of the castle site. Did he attend our public meeting in Tully Church, Foxrock, last October, where a UCD planning law professor told 200 local residents that they had been "treated like sheep"?
Local compensation claims alone confirm this. For instance, the millions Mr Feighery complains of spent on excavations at the Carrickmines site, are only a small fraction of the purchase price of the small farm on which the site is found.
Mr Myers (July 17th) seems to suggest that the answer is to thrash the law and push the road through regardless.
History, however, suggests that common sense and law enforcement provide much more efficient, economical and effective solutions.
Like Carrickmines, the "Mad Cow Junction", Luas lunacy and the Port(less) Tunnel, are avoidable problems that have been caused by basic design flaws. Surely the redesign of all these M50 projects should be the subject of any plebiscite?
The real question now is: When are local residents going to stop acting like sheep and start apportioning blame where blame is due? - Yours etc., -