This post may be a couple of days late but fuck it. I need to get this off my chest.
For readers unfamiliar with Irish politics, Roche was Ireland’s Environment Minister until last week when he was demoted to a junior ministry following a general election.
He’s now my least favourite politician because his last act as a Cabinet minister was to give the green light to build a motorway through one of Ireland’s richest archaeological regions.
The motorway will pass less than a mile from the Hill of Tara, a site of enormous historical and mythological importance. In folk tales it was the home of the high kings of Ireland, and it is believed to have been a major ceremonial site for various royal families in the north of the country.
Tara was put on the World Monument Fund’s crisis list only a couple of weeks ago.
I could live with it were that the limit of Roche’s actions.
However, earlier this year a vast site was discovered. This henge, which dates back to the late Bronze Age, was a site of outdoor worship. The Lismullen site was declared a national monument shortly after it was found and Roche ordered work on the M3 to be stopped.
But last week Roche, who says he consulted with the director the national museum, Dr Pat Wallace, decided this national monument should be “preserved by record” and the motorway built on top of it. “Preservation by record” involves archaeological sites or monuments being removed and photographic and written records made before construction begins.
I can appreciate the need for the roadworks. The nation’s infrastructure needs it. But to obliterate so much history is too high a price to pay. Imagine removing a couple of pyramids to make way for a highway across the Giza Plateau (and before I’m accused of exaggerating, many of the monuments in the Tara region are contemporaneous with the Egyptian sites).
Roche’s actions were a blatant attempt to undermine his successor as Environment Minister, John Gormley of the Green Party.
What really got to me though was Roche’s smugness. He said it would have been “mean-spirited” to leave such a “thorny decision” to an incoming minister.
I think in fact any minister sitting in my office in Custom House making the decision on the basis of that file would have made the decision I have made. I did the man some service by not passing the buck to him.
Dick, how can you breathe when your head is that far up your asshole?
Gormley, who had campaigned against the motorway, says he may be unable to reverse his predecessor’s decision. However, the Labour Party has claimed Gormley does indeed have the power.
So Dick — or Cock Roache as one graffiti artist rechristened you on an election poster — I hope you’re happy. I take some satisfaction that you’re back on the junior benches, but it doesn’t really take the sting out of the incalculable damage you’ve done to the nation’s heritage.
Damn you Dick Roche.by