Hill of Tara issues must be addressed by Minister says Peadar Tóibín TD
Sinn Fein TD for Meath West, Peadar Tóibín, asked Minister Josepha Madigan when her department would act on a number of issues relating to the Hill of Tara.
The issues mentioned include the dearth of parking facilities, safety issues on the main approach road as well as the lack of a proper visitor interpretation facility.
Speaking in the Dáil today, Deputy Tóibín said:
“The Hill of Tara is a magical place. It has a special place in the hearts and minds of Irish people all over the world. It’s one of the few locations in Ireland that is internationally recognised.
“It is according to tradition the seat of the High Kings of Ireland. It is covered with numerous internationally recognised monuments including a Neolithic passage tomb, known as the Mound of the Hostages, which was constructed over 5,000 years ago, the Banqueting Hall of Tara and the Lia Fáil.
As a wonderful cultural asset it is all but ignored. What will the Minister do to fix the problems besetting the Hill? 1,000 buses make their way to the Hill of Tara every Year. It’s conservatively estimated that a quarter of a million visitors now access the hill every year.
“Yet and it pains me to say this, but it’s in a mess. There is insufficient parking for parking, buses find it hard to navigate the area, and the hill is increasingly mucky as there are no dedicated paths. There is a wonderful book shop and gift shop and a restaurant, but the latter is under pressure with regards to capacity.
There are also a lack of toilets on the hill. The Interpretive Centre is only open from June to October, and even then only for limited hours. The land has become increasingly mucky and the rath on which the Lia Fáil is, is continuously flooded.
“I believe that the Minister should have two guiding rules. The first should be the protection of our heritage the second should be the safe, open and unrestricted access. These two are hard to achieve.
“A report on the conservation and management of the historic hill has been sitting in the Department of Culture and Heritage for the past three years, with no action.
"When will this road map be published? Will there be a budget with this plan? There is a wonderful opportunity here to establish a means to showcase the wonder of Tara in a way which ensures the protection of this national treasure.”