Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Minister Fails to Nominate Hill of Tara as UNESCO Site - Urgent Letter-writing campaign to Irish newspapers



"Gormley Will Not Present Irish Sites to UNESCO at Seville Meeting"

The Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, has failed to finalise Ireland' proposed Tentative List of UNESCO Sites, and his Department will not present the Tentative List to the 33rd Session of the World Heritage Committee in Seville, 22-20 June. This means that possible nomination of Tara and other sites in Ireland will be delayed by a year.
The Minister had advertised a public consultation process last December, calling for nominations to Ireland's Tentative List. An advisory document sent out a 15-member panel of consultants (Expert Advisory group), said:
"Taking into account the feedback/output from the public consultation fora and interactive website, the Expert Advisory Group will identify the appropriate sites/properties/themes for inclusion on the new Tentative List. The new draft Tentative List will then be submitted to the Minister for his agreement by the middle of April 2009. The intention is to forward the list to the WH Centre in time for the World Heritage Committee 33rd Session in Seville in July 2009."

Ray Connell, of the Department of the Environment, has confirmed that the Expert Advisory group has failed to set up an interactive web site, for public consultation and failed to compile a new Tentative List. Instead, the List will be submitted by mail, thus avoiding oral presentation at the World Heritage Committee meeting, and preventing any public objections. TaraWatch nominated the Hill of Tara to be a World Heritage Site, but only on condition that the M3 motorway is re-routed first. Our position is supported by the World Monuments Fund and the Smithsonian Institution.

Vincent Salafia of TaraWatch said:
"John Gormley is delaying the UNESCO nomination of the Hill of Tara, and other Irish sites by a year. The Minister has breached the public consultation guidelines, by failing to submit the proposed List of World Heritage Sites to UNESCO at the upcoming World Heritage Committee Meeting in Seville this month.

"The Minister's delay is preventing Observers from making oral objections at the World Heritage Committee Meeting, in Seville. The Minister's delay is also ensuring that the M3 is completed, before UNESCO is brought into the equation, and it is too late to save Tara.



Dear TaraWatch supporters,

We need you to urgently write a letter to the Irish Newspapers and complain that the Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, leader of the Irish green Party, has broken his promise to nominate the Hill of Tara as a UNESCO site, at the World Heritage Committee Meeting in Seville, June 23-30.

Here are the relevant newspapers and addresses, with the last article on Tara/M3 referenced, to use as a hook for the letter:

Diarmuid Doyle's article, from the Sunday Tribune last week offers a good opportunity to write letters. Write to editorial@tribune.ie

The Irish Times
can be reached at lettersed@irish-times.ie and the last articles mentioning Tara and UNESCO are:
M3 motorway 'ahead of schedule'
Tara endangered, says Smithsonian
Tara proposed as Unesco world heritage site

The Irish Independent can be reached at indpendent.letters@unison.independent.ie
recently had an article about the windfall of profits made by landowners

The Irish Examiner takes letters without a reference to an article, of which there have been very few. letters@examiner.ie

The Meath Chronicle has been active lately, and can be reached at ken@meathchronicle.ie
Recent stories on Tara / M3 include:
Hill of Tara nominated for World Heritage Site status
Hill of Tara included in review of heritage sites
New dual carriageway to M3 interchange opens in Navan

Please try and write a letter, pointing out that Gormley decided to make Tara a World Heritage Site last December. He spent a lot of money employing 15 consultants to sit on an Expert Advisory Panel, to conduct the public consultation, and the stated aim was to submit the revised Tentative List to UNESCO at the Seville meeting in June. Now, that is not going to happen. Why?

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