Sunday 21 April 2019

Heritage sites and sore sights

Meath County Councillor Mr Dominic Hannigan (Lab) has launched a national campaign to improve signage in Meath, so that coaches carrying overseas tourists on their way to Newgrange don't end up in a housing estate ( Irish Independent, April 21).

Another misleading sign can be found on many roads in the Royal County proclaiming Meath as 'Irelands Heritage Capital'.

While the title itself may be accurate, the reality of local and national investment in heritage preservation and promotion there is quite abysmal.

Recently I attended a public consultation meeting in Slane, along with Councillor Hannigan, for the first Meath Heritage Plan, organised under the National Heritage Plan (2002), a five-year management plan for Ireland's heritage.

We were informed that ?12 million had originally been "earmarked" for implementation of the national plan, but that only one million had been "allocated", with a maximum allocation of ?50,000 per county from the Department of the Environment. This is to be matched locally and split between all the competing proposals for preservation and promotion of heritage.

The Meath Heritage Trail reads more like a guided tour of a new industrial estate: Battle of the Boyne site (incinerator); Hill of Tara (M3 motorway and possibly c-ring road); Newgrange (cement factory); Tailteann Games site, Teltown (flattened - housing estate); Thornton estate (prison); Trim Castle (hotel). And I'm sure all of these latest attractions will be clearly visible and well signposted off the new five motorways, including the C-ring road, which will decorate County Meath.

Many of Meath's heritage sites are already compromised. The cement factory is built and the site of the inspiration for the Olymics, the Tailteann Games, was flattened in 1998. What will Mr Hannigan and Labour will do to prevent tourists ending up visiting a housing or industrial estate on the Hill of Tara? VINCENT SALAFIA, DODDER VALE, CHURCHTOWN, DUBLIN 14

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