Carrickmines and the EU


Madam, - If there is one great lesson to be learned from reading the European Commission's independent report on Carrickmines it is that national monuments must be detected early, and avoided, when building infrastructure. We can and must have heritage and development in harmony.

Proinsias De Rossa (December 18th) maintains that "the decision whether or not to destroy Carrickmines Castle lies firmly in the hands of Irish politicians". We respectfully disagree.

There is now overwhelming evidence of violations of EU directives governing both environmental impact assessments and spending of cohesion funds. We call on the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Margot Wallström, to initiate legal proceedings against the Government in order to prevent the imminent destruction of evidence in this ongoing European Commission investigation.

With ratification of the draft constitution for Europe at hand, and the flag of the EU presidency about to be raised, it is time to set a shining example of another sort entirely.

Articles 111- 129 and 181 deal with EU policy objectives concerning preserving the quality of the environment and safeguarding cultural heritage of European significance.

There is also a fundamental personal right at stake here, belonging to every EU citizen: the right to property. No one may be deprived of his or her possessions, except in the public interest and in the cases and under the conditions provided for by law, subject to fair compensation ... "

Is a publicly funded road, generating enormous profits for a private toll company, of public utility? Is the destruction of a national monument a public utility? Are the rezoning profits of developers a public utility? Indeed, can there even be just compensation in these instances?

An effective and immediate order from Commissioner Wallström will force this Government to make the right decision at Carrickmines. After all, she has a duty to protect the international integrity of EU environmental regulations during the Irish presidency. Her decision will protect not only Carrickmines, but countless other European monuments.

The decision to slice The Hill of Tara monument with the M3 motorway must be changed. But so too must plans for the beautiful fenland landscape of the Palladian villas near Venice, to be bisected by the new Valdastico Sud motorway.

The essential promise of the draft constitution seems to be that not everything, and nobody, is for sale. Will this be true in the United States of Europe, or are we just being U.S.E.d? - Yours etc.,

Patricia McKenna MEP, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2, Vincent Salafia, PRO, Carrickminders, Dublin 4.