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motorway interchange threatens Carrickmines Castle (Dublin)


Activists occupying Carrickmines Castle are appealing for solidarity and assistance in their campaign to stop Carrickmines Castle disappearing under the M50 motorway. They are asking for anybody who believes in their aims to visit the site and support the occupation. Bring stories, music, conversation and solidarity. If you can stay overnight bring warm clothes, a tent and a sleeping bag. The Castle is easily reached on the #63 Bus from Fleet Street in Dublin City Centre.

Carrickmines Castle is one of the most significant medieval sites in Ireland and is the most important archaeological find in Ireland since Wood Quay. It is unique in Ireland and Britain and, once it is gone, it can NEVER be recovered.

It would be easy for Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and the National Roads Authority to re-route the motorway so that the Castle remains can be preserved. This could be easily done as the council already owns the necessary land and the cost would be small relative to the overall cost of the motorway. How much is our heritage worth? How much is the heritage of ALL future generations worth?

The activists have been occupying the Castle since August 31st 2002 and will stay as long as it takes for the council and the NRA to guarantee the safety of Carrickmines Castle.


Further Information call the Carrickminers at 086 286 6631



A recently discovered medieval garrison settlement at Carrickmines Castle of national and international importance, is to be replaced with a motorway interchange, as Ireland pursues its road building at any cost. The motorway will link Dublin's M50, already notorious for its traffic jams, to the M11 southern access route into the capital city, adding still more traffic onto the already clogged M50 system.

Carrickmines Castle is a remarkably well preserved medieval garrison settlement, formerly part of the southern defences of the Anglo-Norman colony at Dublin. From 1200 to 1642 it was used by colonists as a base for attacking the Irish tribes in the Wicklow Mountains. It is the site of one of the largest rural medieval pottery finds ever. Much of the remains have been uncovered during archaeological excavations currently underway as part of the process of clearing the site for the motorway. The existence of the Castle was well known to historians and archaeologists and was simply brushed over in the Environmental Impact Statement.

The discovery of such important archaeological remains in 2002 demonstrates that the 1997 Environmental Impact Statement for the County/National Roads Authority South-Eastern Motorway does not comply with the EU Environmental Impact Assessment (EU EIA) Directive. It did not provide an adequate appraisal of the impact of the development on archaeological heritage. Such an assessment should have included investigations to establish the nature and extent of archaeological sites and standing monument remains on the proposed route.

The original plans for the motorway construction envisaged excavations followed by the complete obliteration of these remains, a form of archaeology known to NGOs as "search and destroy". The proposed budget and road construction programme does not allow sufficient time for the full archaeological investigation of the site, and means the destruction of the major part of standing National Monument remains. The entire medieval garrison settlement is now threatened with removal. This particular road scheme has a budget of €575 million and a substantial grant from the European Union Cohesion Fund.

It is a requirement of Article 5 of the EU EIA Directive that information be provided before development consent is given, in order to allow mitigation measures to be put forward. In a Reasoned Opinion of 25th July, 2001, from Margot Wallström, European Union Environment Commissioner, Ireland was found to be deficient with regard to implementation of the EIA Directive under a wide number of provisions.

In the case of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Kildare by-pass (see Threat to Pollardstown Fen), the Commission ruled that the EIS was deficient because it did not provide the information required under Article 5. This EIS has failed to contain adequate data on the impact of the development on archaeology at Carrickmines Castle. The decision of how to deal with impacts from the development is only being taken now, after development has begun.

The National Roads Authority and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council are determined to go ahead with motorway construction at the end of August 2002. Archaeologists and historians throughout Europe are waiting to see if the Irish Government will act to save Carrickmines.

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