3000 years of Irish heritage is being turned into potting compost as Minister sits on hands

Published by Ian Carey on

February 21st 2017

An ancient Irish bog road, which was built 500 years before any Roman road, is currently being destroyed for potting compost.

An Taisce – the National Trust for Ireland have this week hit out at Minster Heather Humphries for doing nothing to preserve this incredible national treasure.

The environmental and heritage group have written once again  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 road itself is an incredible discovery because if its age. It is dated as around 3,000 years old and was constructed during the Iron Age. It gives insights into the engineering capabilities of the Irish during that era and points to the significance of local population centres.

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 Minister Humphries 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.

A statement issued by the Department last week stated: “Should the trackway survive within the high bog, the feasibility of preservation in situ will be considered by all stakeholders.”

An Taisce have since asked the Minister: “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?”

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 that: “We have complied fully with all requirements of the National Monuments Service.”

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, said: “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.”

[x_author title=”About the Author”]


Related Post
Last chance to amend weak climate bill

Friends of the Earth, An Taisce, and Stop Climate Chaos lead the charge to amend the Climate Bill before it Read more

European TV station are looking for Irish people to produce a short video on climate change to air in France and Germany

TV channel ARTE are looking for Irish people to take part in a programme which will air during the COP21 Read more

The Environmental Pillar rejects eco-label given to an Irish salmon farm

The Environmental Pillar wishes to make clear to consumers and public that it rejects the awarding of an environmental certificate Read more

Calls to shorten the hedge cutting and gorse burning ban has no basis in science, say An Taisce

The environmental and heritage group are rejecting calls from the Irish Farming Association to shorten the hedge cutting times. An Read more

Ian Carey

Ian is the editor of the Green News. He works as Communications Manger with the Irish Environmental Network.