The M3 motorway is still under construction but TaraWatch have not given up their hopes of saving the Irish historical site called "The Hill of Tara" and surrounding monuments; help may be on its way from across the Atlantic. TaraWatch Public Relations Officer, Vincent Salafia, has just finished a publicity tour of the United States, where he met with representatives of both archaeological and Native American institutions.
I asked the TaraWatch representative why he felt he had to travel abroad to get support even though we had the Green Party in Government here in Ireland. Mr Salafia said with respect to the Green Party “They have been absolutely abysmal ... Tara was on the table when they were negotiating their terms for government ... the Greens basically traded off our backs. “We feel very betrayed by the Green party and we do not hold out any hope that they will do anything proactive in terms of saving Tara.”
While in the USA Mr Salafia met with the World Monuments Fund, in New York City, after submitting the nomination for the Hill of Tara to be on their 2010 List of Most Endangered Sites (Tara is on the current list.) “We were trying to mobilise them and get them involved in the UNESCO confrontation by supporting our argument.” TaraWatch's argument being that the motorway should be re-routed rather than having a UNESCO site with a motorway running right through it. Mr Salafia said “We are afraid that what will happen here in Ireland will be similar to what happened in Stonehenge in England, the motorway was completed and then UNESCO said the motorway had to be moved. “So it could be economically viable to move the road here now even though it's under construction, we still have not given up on the campaign.”
Mr Salafia explained that while in the US he made a presentation to the Council on Archaeology at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and asked them to sign a statement calling for the M3 motorway to be re-routed, before Tara is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vincent Salafia told The Epoch Times that he was also trying to drum up support from the likes of Mr Daniel M. Rooney the next United States Ambassador to Ireland. According to Mr Salafia a number of US bodies have made statements on the issue which can be found on the Save Tara website www.hilloftara.info. “There is massive interest and support from Irish American and indeed all Americans, particularly the academics... the Smithsonian Magazine recently listed Tara on their ten must see sights before they disappear.”
Mr Salafia also met with representatives of Native American tribes, and proposed a gathering of indigenous peoples on the Hill of Tara, during Heritage Week, in late August. TaraWatch is currently in talks with indigenous peoples in Australia and Africa, as well as North America and Canada, regarding the proposed event. It was Mr Salafia hopes that with this new support a process of engagement and problem solving could restart.