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Sinn Féin would introduce legislation to stop sell off

19 May, 2007

Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has said that in government Sinn Féin would seek to have the controversial section of the M3 motorway diverted away from the Hill of Tara and for the introduction of legislation to stop the sale of important heritage items. Ó Snodaigh was speaking at a press conference which announced the party's proposals on the Environment and hertitage.
Aengus Ó Snodaigh said:
"The current Government's track record on protecting Ireland's archaeological and architectural heritage is disgraceful. Under the so-called Environment Minister Dick Roche, they have pursued a relentless, no-holds barred campaign of destruction, as they seek to plough roads and motorways through historic sites, allow the sale of priceless historic artefacts, which are rightly the property of the Irish nation, and neglect and let fall into ruin key historic buildings which should be promoted as major tourist attractions. They have coupled this with disgraceful campaigns of denigration against concerned citizens and experts alike who point out the folly of government actions.
"Sinn Féin fully supports the upgrading of the country's road network and believes in the necessity for a modern, efficient transport infrastructure. However this does not have to be done at the cost of the wholesale destruction of the environment or precious heritage.
"Sinn Féin has being saying for a long time now that the hill of Tara and its surrounding hinterland are of huge significance in terms of Ireland's history and heritage. The recent discovery, of an archaeological site the size of three football fields, proves the significance of this site. We welcome the order to stop work on the M3 motorway that would have destroyed this hugely important piece of Irish heritage.
"There is a viable alternative route for the motorway that has been proposed by Sinn Féin. This is the only option which provides a badly needed motorway while protecting what is a heritage site of huge national and international significance. In government we will seek to have this alternative route adopted.
"The recent high profile auction of priceless historical documents and other artefacts associated with the 1916 Rising and the independence struggle was scandalous. These priceless historical documents and other irreplaceable parts of our national heritage were auctioned off to become the private prestige property of wealthy individuals. There is nothing to stop these items being taken out of the country
"Successive governments have failed to put in place legislation to protect heritage items from market forces. For any Government to allow these items to be auctioned in this way makes a mockery of our reputation for cherishing our history and culture, something that is touted around the world as one of the main reasons for people to visit Ireland.
"The State has the legal authority to declare an historical site a national monument. It also has the power to issue compulsory purchase orders on lands in certain circumstances. Similar powers should be put in place for historical items such as those about to be sold off. In Government Sinn Fein would seek to introduce legislation to prevent this sell-out of our heritage. We are also calling for the area around the GPO/O'Connell Street and Moore Street to become a historical quarter in the run up to the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising with an emphasis on education and tourism."ENDS

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