Archaeology

FIE has made a submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport claiming that the assessment of the impact of the proposed M3 motorway on Tara 'blatantly ignored' the EU warnings issued to Ireland after the Carrickmines debacle. Read our Press Releaseand the EU letter.
FIE has made a submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport claiming that the assessment of the impact of the proposed M3 motorway on Tara 'blatantly ignored' the EU warnings issued to Ireland after the Carrickmines debacle. Read our Press Releaseand the EU letter.
Re: Complaint P2002/5087

Environmental Impact Assessment undertaken for the M50 motorway project with regard to Carrickmines Castle.
Mr. Tony Lowes,
Director,
Friends of the Irish Environment,
Allihies,
Co. Cork
14 June, 2004


Re: Complaint P2002/5087

Environmental Impact Assessment undertaken for the M50 motorway project with regard to Carrickmines Castle


Dear Mr. Lowes

The investigation into your complaint has now concluded and it is proposed to ask the Commission to close the file rather than start an infringement proceeding.

It is ultimately a matter for the Court of Justice rather than the Commission to determine whether EU rules have been breached. The burden of proof lies with the Commission if it chooses to bring a case before the Court and the Court's recent decision in Case C117/02, Commission vs. Portugal, illustrates the potential difficulties of demonstrating that EIA requirements have not been met. In the case of Carrickmines, an EIA was undertaken which included detailed archaeological studies, and it is not evident that the Commission would be in a position to convince the Court that the quality of the EIA was manifestly deficient.

Nonetheless, as you are aware, the Kampsax Report obtained by the Commission identified a number of weak aspects in the EIA. Based on this report and overall investigations, my services have suggested to the Irish authorities that a number of useful lessons might be drawn from the Carrickmines experience.

First of all it is important that archaeological investigations should address historical landscapes and should include adequate consultation of documentary records, including maps.

Secondly, where a project involves possible multiple archaeological impacts, there should be an assessment of the relative significance of the sites affected so that the decision makers are altered to likely 'hot spots'.

Thirdly it is desirable to incorporate from the outset an adequate risk/management/contingency approach to such impacts including, where appropriate, provisions for further proactive assessments, such as trial trenching, to reduce uncertainties and tests assumptions and to ensure design flexibility.

Fourthly it is desirable that there should be the fullest possible involvement of the wider archaeological community in the EIA procedures, facilitated, for example, by internet access to environmental impact assessments.


Fifthly, it is important that environmental impact statements formally incorporate the detailed archaeological studies relied upon.

If you have any detailed comments on the proposal to close the complaint file, I would be very grateful if you would forward them within one month of date of this letter.

Yours sincerely,

Margot Wallstrom



Friends of the Irish Environment today faxed Margo Wallstrom, the EU Environmental Commissioner, seeking her intervention to stop the work that began again this morning again at the site of the Carrickmines Castle Complex. [Read The Letter]
The resumptions comes only days after the European Commission's Expert Report on Carrickmines concluded that on points of 'vital importance shortcomings in the EIS have been found'. The report list three 'errors that have proved to have serious consequences.''

The report was prepared to assess the petition brought by Tony Lowes of FIE and Professor Sean Duffy of Friends of Medieval Dublin. It has been posted to the FIE site with the Irish responses.

A spokesman for FIE said that 'The Commission's obligation is to uphold European law. The Commission must bring proceedings against Ireland to ensure compliance with European law. If Commissioner Wallstrom does not do so, the matter will be brought before the European Ombudsman.


Further comment and verification:
Tony Lowes 027-73025
Irish Language: David Healy: 01 8324087

Read the Report and the Irish Responses
The battle to save Carrickmines Castle Complex from the M5 motorway was dealt a potentially fatal blow by the Irish High Court. It rejected on all grounds any cause for a Judicial Review of the decision to proceed. On RTE radio, the head of the National Roads Authority called for changes in the law to prevent what he suggested were the costs and delays the 'protestors' had caused. The National Roads Authority's profound ignorance of the system was made clear when its Chief Executive Mr. Egan called the Environmental Impact Statement, which EU experts have called 'flawed', a "Report" and went on to say that the failure of the non technical summary to demonstrate the true value of the site was a 'technical matter.' The National Roads Authority are now calling for a change in the law as they claim the present legislation allows 'any individual to claim any feature or site was a national monument', pure nonesence. All that is left now is the hope that EU Commission Margot Wallstrom will respond favourably to FIE's letter urging the Commission to intervene.
Read The Letter
Read the Report and the Irish Responses

The battle to save Carrickmines Castle Complex from the M5 motorway was dealt a potentially fatal blow by the Irish High Court. It rejected on all grounds any cause for a Judicial Review of the decision to proceed. On RTE radio, the head of the National Roads Authority called for changes in the law to prevent what he suggested were the costs and delays the 'protestors' had caused. The National Roads Authority's profound ignorance of the system was made clear when its Chief Executive Mr. Egan called the Environmental Impact Statement, which EU experts have called 'flawed', a "Report" and went on to say that the failure of the non technical summary to demonstrate the true value of the site was a 'technical matter.' The National Roads Authority are now calling for a change in the law as they claim the present legislation allows 'any individual to claim any feature or site was a national monument', pure nonesence. All that is left now is the hope that EU Commission Margot Wallstrom will respond favourably to FIE's letter urging the Commission to intervene.
Read The Letter
Read the Report and the Irish Responses
FIE publishes EU Expert Report on Carrickmines and Irish Responses

FIE has tonight published the Kampsax Report, commissioned by the EU in response to a Petition from FIE and Friends of Medieval Dublin about the destruction of the Carrickmines Castle Complex by the proposed M50 Motorway. This is the Report from which key words were leaked by RTE last night on Prime Time television. Key words were "defective", "failings" and "flawed". Included in this large file are the responses from the Local Authority and the Government's Heritage Service.

Be patient: it is a big file in pdf format. It should be about three minutes.

Click HERE to download the Report and Irish Responses

[And read our letter to the Commssion.]
FIE publishes EU Expert Report on Carrickmines and Irish Responses

FIE has tonight published the Kampsax Report, commissioned by the EU in response to a Petition from FIE and Friends of Medieval Dublin about the destruction of the Carrickmines Castle Complex by the proposed M50 Motorway. This is the Report from which key words were leaked by RTE last night on Prime Time television. Key words were "defective", "failings" and "flawed". Included in this large file are the responses from the Local Authority and the Government's Heritage Service.

Be patient: it is a big file in pdf format. It should be about three minutes.

Click HERE to download the Report and Irish Responses

[And read our letter to the Commssion.]