An Taisce once more calls on Minister Heather Humphreys to protect the Late Bronze Age oak-built Roadway at Mayne in County Westmeath.

21st February 2017
Press Release

An Taisce have today written once more to Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, seeking that she protect the Late Bronze Age oak-built roadway discovered in 2005 at Mayne in County Westmeath.

The RTE TV programme ‘Ear To The Ground’ broadcast on the 14th of February featured a report on the Late Bronze Age oak-built roadway discovered in 2005 at Mayne in County Westmeath.

This monument is being systematically destroyed by peat extraction work conducted by Westland Horticultural.

To date your Department has failed to put a preservation order in place. It even failed to automatically add the site to the List of Monuments in the county.

The statement issued by your Department this week stated: ‘Should the trackway survive within the high bog, the feasibility of preservation in situ will be considered by all stakeholders’.

  • What measures have your Department taken to ascertain whether the oak roadway survives in this high bog area?
  • Given the discovery of a number of significant metal artefacts with probable associations to the monument, has your Department conducted a licensed metal detector survey of the roadway in its entirety? Or even partially?

It should be noted that only in recent weeks a fragment of one of the spearheads discovered at the site (and in the possession of the National Museum of Ireland) has been recovered.

Westland Horticulture has stated this week that ‘we have complied fully with all requirements of the National Monuments Service’. And why wouldn’t they when all the requirements by the State to date have been minimalistic and ineffective.

Fine Gael Councillor Andrew Duncan, the Chair of the Heritage Forum of Westmeath County Council, has called for a halt before ‘there’s very little to look after’. He has identified the monument as a ‘very viable tourist attraction’ that would be ‘an enormous draw’ to a ‘disadvantaged part of Westmeath’.

Mark Clinton, of An Taisce's Monuments & Antiquities Committee, stated "Is it not time that your officials took effective action to put a stop to this systematic destruction of 3,000 years of Irish heritage to supply garden compost for export."

ENDS

Dr. Mark Clinton, Monuments & Antiquities Committee, An Taisce. Tel: +353 1 832 2058
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce. Tel: +353 87 241 1995
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.org

Notes

[1] Letter to the Minister 27/08/2015 http://www.antaisce.org/publications/letter-to-minister-humphreys-on-destruction-of-ancient-bog-road
[2] Press Release 27/08/2015 http://www.antaisce.org/articles/internationally-important-irish-archaeological-monument-being-destroyed-during-heritage
[3] Press Release 30/08/2015 http://www.antaisce.org/articles/an-taisce-seeks-action-from-minister-humphreys-over-destruction-of-ancient-bog-road

About An Taisce

An Taisce is a charity that works to preserve and protect Ireland's natural and built heritage. We are an independent charitable voice for the environment and for heritage issues. We are not a government body, semi-state or agency. Founded in 1948, we are one of Ireland’s oldest and largest environmental organisations.