Last year, we reported how anti road campaigners in Eire had borrowed Pat Mills 2000AD character Slaine to promote protest over the building of the M3, much to Pat’s delight at the time.
Sadly, it seems not even barbarian warriors have been able to stop the road building, which will destroy an archaeological complex containing at least 160 sites covering a timespan from 3600BC through to bronze and medieval ages, even though the European Commission has effectively said the construction work is illegal.
The road has been described by archaeologists as the worst case of state-sponsored vandalism ever inflicted on Irish cultural heritage.
SchNews reports that last Wednesday at the Hill Of Tara. Ireland, the solidarity vigil camp was evicted by an assortment of goons led by the Office of Public Works. The camp – on public land – was mostly destroyed, including a (newly made) wooden temple structure shredded by chainsaws, but the protesters managed to save the sacred fire, lit two years ago, within a tipi.
At 9.30am the camp was descended upon by 20 OPW workers plus 15 private security and twenty Gardai (police) – and amongst the security was at least one known employee of Ferrovial, the Spanish construction company running the project which will put the M3 motorway through one of the most important archaeological sites in Europe.
This latest development comes after the Direct Action camp at Rath Lugh was evicted on 17th April.
Since last July, when the European Commission declared that construction of the M3 broke 37 EU laws, the road build has continued, illegally – in fact it has been rushed through because of this.
The head of the OPW archaeologists have agreed to leave the fire until a meeting on May 19th, as they could not quote a law to use to extinguish it – just as they couldn’t offer a legal legitimation for the entire eviction. Protesters are arguing that the fire is part of their individual and collective religious belief, which apparently carries some weight in Ireland as ‘rights to religious expression’ is in the constitution.
It also looks like this whole road fiasco is being built on a financial sandcastle. Ferrovial haven’t paid any of the contractors yet for their work, leading many Irish firms to the brink of bankruptcy, and recently Howley Construction of Cork were repossessed. Several quarries are now refusing to supply the roadworks with hardcore until they’vebeen paid, and landowners whose land was compulsory purchased have not seen the cash. Protesters say that Ferrovial – presumably (hopefully) suffering financially in the crunch – are forced to bring in their own employees as security because they have no doubt run up tabs with all the local security mobs and are running out of goons.
As always, more people are needed at the Hill of Tara to continue the fight against this illegal and destructive road project.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.