“without a change in material circumstances..”

The new Irish Government Minister of the Environment, John Gormley of the Green Party [Is he still blogging? – Ed], has announced plans for “a major review of archaeological practice and policy as it relates to his department.” – beginning with a seminar in the autumn to draw up the terms of reference for the review. He’s also released a file of documents on the controversial Lismullin henge site at the Hill of Tara, available here [scroll down]. As the Irish Times report notes, he again restated that he had “received unequivocal advice from the Attorney General that, without a change in material circumstances relating to the newly discovered monument, it is not open to him to review, or amend, the directions given by his predecessor in this case.” Although that advice doesn’t seem to have been included in the published file.. There’s also a new controversy about another site, at Baronstown, which the Director of the National Museum, Pat Wallace, had said had an equally compelling case to be designated as a National Monument.. and which was destroyed, apparently without being fully documented, earlier this week.

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  • The Dubliner

    Given that there are more archaeologists employed in Ireland than there are in the whole of the UK (and still we have a government that feels we have a shortage of them to meets our needs, leading to it employing British coomercial archaeology companies to undertake work in Ireland), what exactly does he feel needs reforming? A sensible minister would be looking to reduce their numbers, not give them more work to do. Of course, you never heard the Greens mention that statistic because it doesn’t fit into their spiel that we are someone negligent in the area of hertitage, archaeology, etc.

  • Pete Baker


    It looks like an attempted smokescreen to me.

    Worth noting that the terms of reference for that review are unlikely to include the one issue that Gormley claims prevents him from making a new decision on the M3 and the henge site – the advice of the Attorney General.

  • foreign correspondent

    I find it strange that the motorway has to go just so close to the Hill of Tara.
    Is there a motorway running anywhere as close to Stonehenge in England, or Carnac in Brittany? Maybe there is, but I doubt it.

  • Crataegus


    I agree it is a smoke screen. Appear to be doing something. This one will sink Gormley and do the Green Party damage if they don’t find a way to necessitate rerouting.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    fc, afaik, the local council which Stonehenge is in recently rerouted the nearby main road further away from the monument.