Aughrim is lost to the M6

It appears it’s not just the proposed M3 through Tara which is raising the hackles, the M6 to Galway has angered an Taisce just because it meanders through the battlefield of Aughrim.

On a less contraversial note, at least the Carrickmacross bypass, or Patrick Kavanagh bypass as it will be called, will be opened tomorrow, and, along with the upcoming Castleblayney and Monaghan bypasses, should cut the travel time from Dublin to the border by nearly 50 minutes on the N2.

Motorway plans ‘breach Good Friday Agreement’

By Kieran McDaid (Irish Examiner)
THE Government breached the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement by allowing a proposed motorway route to cut through the historic battlefield of Aughrim, An Taisce claimed yesterday.

An Taisce – Ireland’s National Trust – accused Taoiseach Bertie Ahern of giving tokenistic assurances to Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble and the Orange Order.

Dr Mark Clinton said representations were made to the Taoiseach in March 2001 about the significance of the site in Aughrim and the damage that would be done by building the M6 through the historic Co Galway battlefield.

“Cecil Kilpatrick, Arch-ivist of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, warned that the route would run ‘through the Command Post of the Williamite General Ginkel, through the position of the right wing of the Williamite Cavalry commanded by Huguenot General Ruvigny and through the site of a Williamite Gun Battery’,” he said.

“Finally, the road would ‘obliterate Lutterell’s Pass and so have equally devastating effects on the Jacobite positions’.

“At the time, March 7, 2001, Mr Kilpatrick also forwarded similar correspondence to then First Minister of the Northern Assembly, David Trimble.”

Dr Clinton said Mr Trimble then wrote to the Taoiseach and in reply Mr Ahern assured him that “Galway County Council and their consultants are aware of the historical importance of battlefields at Aughrim and you can be assured that full consideration of their significance will be taken into account during route design”.

Dr Harmon Murtagh, the historian consulted for the Environmental Impact Statement, told a planning hearing last week that he would prefer if the route passed further north, avoiding the battlefield.

“It would appear that the Irish authorities are in breach of the spirit of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement which prioritises ‘parity of esteem’ in terms of respect for the different cultures,” he said.

Dr Clinton said the M6 scheme is “particularly destructive to what historians have described as ‘Ireland’s Gettysburg’.”

“Aughrim is home to the country’s largest unmarked war grave. What sense was there ever in locating a motorway there?”