Fresh calls were made today for the Hill of Tara to be protected during the building of the controversial M3 motorway.
The historical and cultural significance of the landmark was highlighted at a special conference in Trinity College Dublin.
Academics unanimously called for Fine Gael’s Enda Kenny to come out and address the Hill of Tara/M3 motorway issue.
The opposition leader is going head to head in the General Election this week with Bertie Ahern to become the next Taoiseach.
“So far, Fine Gael have said they will abide by the decision of the National Museum,” said Vincent Salafia, activist and doctor of law.
“However, the National Museum made their position clear two years ago when Pat Wallace called on Minister for the Environment Dick Roche to reroute the M3.
“Enda Kenny needs to step up to the plate and show some creative problem-solving and leadership ability here, particularly in light of the fact that 70% of people surveyed nationally want the M3 re-routed.”
Hosted by the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, other key speakers at the conference – entitled The Hill of Tara: The Historical and Cultural Significance – included Dr Sean Duffy of the university’s Department of Medieval History and Dr Gerald Morgan of the School of English.
Independent election candidate Councillor Phil Cantwell was also on hand to explain why he supports re-routing the M3.
“Even the O’Neills, when they arrived at Tara in the medieval period, did not interfere with the monuments there, despite the fact they understood little of their actual significance,” said Dr Duffy.
“We will be the first generation in 5,000 years to deface Tara. This motorway will cut us off from our past.”
Dr Morgan asked how Mr Kenny could seriously expect the Irish people to make him king, if he will not show leadership and give his honest position on the matter.
“We must raise this issue in the crucial days, leading up to the general election,” he added.
The Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies aims to encourage collaboration between scholars working in the early fields both within and outside Trinity and to promote Medieval and Renaissance studies both at home and abroad.