by T.S. Kerrrigan
American Reporter Correspondent
Los Angeles, CA
May 4, 2007
MORE ON IRELAND'S SHAME: SUPERHIGHWAY THROUGH CORK'S LEE VALLEY
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- A few weeks ago we reported for the first time in any American publication the plans, already being implemented, for a superhighway through the Hill of Tara, one of the most important archaeological and historical sites in Ireland. Groups all over the world began protesting the government's action. Now it appears that the government may perpetrate another cultural and ecological outrage, the construction of yet another superhighway, this time through the Lee Valley near Cork.
This time, however, the agency responsible, the National Roads Authority, perhaps having learned a lesson from the Tara fallout, has been acting secretly and behind the scenes. Their avowed purpose appears to be to keep a hush over the planning until after the upcoming June elections. The fact that the citizens of Cork knew little or nothing about the plans seems to reflect a new stealth stratagem on the part of the NRA in enforcing its wishes on the public.
The Lee Valley has always been one of the geographical treasures of the west of Ireland. Located a few miles outside of the City of Cork, it has remained an unspoiled natural wonder filled with various species of wild life. It is a haven for hikers and fishermen.
Carrigohane Castle, constructed in the Fifth Century, rises grandly in its midst.
The secret plans to build a highway through the center of this valley, only recently discovered by local inhabitants, would seem to be unthinkable, but among certain Irish politicians it is apparently a seriously held goal.
Local groups have formed slowly because of the official secrecy surrounding the project. One if them, www.savetheleevalley.net, is working furiously to make up for lost time in opposing the project. Others have also come forth. The question, of course, is whether the time and resources exist to block this project.
The proximity in time of the Tara and Lee Valley outrages is apparently no coincidence. The NRA, made up mostly of developers and businessmen, seems to have a new vision for Ireland.
Its plans would further change an island which, over the past few years, has lost many of its connections to the Ireland many of us knew and cherished decades ago, chiefly due to the economic motivation of the Celtic Tiger economy. The forthcoming elections may accordingly be critical in determining the direction the country will go in the future.
Ireland, which has flourished for years on its tourist trade, seems to have forgotten its raison d'etre, at least prior to becoming part of the European Community. The realization of this new route, with the attendant destruction of yet another part of irreplaceable Ireland, will do nothing to strengthen its position in that respect. There have also been laments that the Ireland of old is gone forever. The initiation of unfortunate projects like this one may, at last, make that true.