The indication that the World Monument Fund (WMF) is about to add the Tara-Skryne complex to its list of 100 most endangered sites is a logical outcome of the entire shameful saga.

The systematic assault on the heritage of this country is unrelenting. If the Gabhra Valley is unsafe, what hope then for the less high profile physical manifestations of our culture and nationhood.

What is specifically missing from all Irish legislation for the protection of the cultural heritage is a legislative provision requiring mandatory enforcement to so protect, and also legislative provision requiring sanction for failure to so protect.

Of course, in order to ENSURE protection (as required by EU law), Irish legislation would have to include such provision. Since Irish legislation does not include such provision, it may be asserted that Ireland is in breach of its duty and obligations under EU law.

The 2004 National Monument Acts amendment must be repealed. A short term reversion to the 1994 Act must be followed by new legislation in line with the fundamental points outlined above.

The primary duty of the Minister with responsibility for heritage must be to ensure its protection. That protection can only be attainable with the necessary legislation in place.

Such protective legislation, long overdue, would have avoided the shameful place that Tara now takes on the international stage. This must be high on the agenda for any new government.