Motorway 'may cost ancient site World Heritage status'

The ancient Bru na Boinne site around Newgrange may lose its World Heritage status if the proposed M2 motorway goes ahead, it was claimed today.

The National Monuments Forum warned if changes are not made to the new motorway plans, the area near the Boyne in Co Meath is likely to lose recognition from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

Dr George Eogan, Professor Emeritus of Archaeology at University College Dublin (UCD), said the new motorway is too close to the monuments and will have a considerable impact on the surrounding landscape.

“Five hundred metres is simply too close, and it is conceivable that Newgrange could lose its World Heritage Status,” he said.

The site can be saved if Environment Minister John Gormley fast-tracks the new National Monuments Bill 2009 according to the National Monuments Forum.

Vincent Salafia, National Monuments Forum spokesman, claimed the minister created unnecessary delays which place Ireland’s heritage at risk.

“We urge Minister Gormley to deliver this long overdue legislation and to ensure it is strong enough to protect Newgrange from this outlandish proposal,” Mr Salafia said.

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