Tara Tycoons – political cronies poised to make fortunes
(incase you missed it)

Posted in Corruption Watch at 8:12 am by johnk

Ireland on Sunday
2005-10-09John Lee, political correspondent,

Major developers who are also financial backers of Fianna Fáil stand to make millions from the controversial M3 motorway which conservationists say will destroy the historic Hill of Tara.

A company controlled by multi-millionaire builder Joseph Murphy Jr – whose main business, JMSE, was exposed as corrupt the Flood tribunal – owns valuable lands along the route.

So too does multi-millionaire Fianna Fáil backer Cathal McCarthy, formerly a business partner of Frank Dunlop, the corrupt former government press secretary, and of Des Richardson, a close friend of the Taoiseach.

Both Mr Murphy and Mr McCarthy stand to make millions from the sale of land needed for the motorway – which campaigners say will destroy some of our most important archaeological sites – and for the construction of intersections.

But Mr Murphy, in particular, stands to make even more substantial profits from the hundreds of acres of land which he owns within a few miles of the motorway route and which may well be opened up for development once construction is completed.

Support for the M3 route formed a major part of the Fianna Fáil campaign in Friday’s by-election – even though archaeologists and ecological activists have compared it to Egypt’s Valley of the Kings and insist that it should be preserved.

Mr Murphy faces an investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau after playing a central role in the Flood/Mahon Tribunal into planning corruption.

Mr Murphy and Frank Reynolds, the former managing director of JMSE who was also condemned by Mr Justice Fergus Flood, are beneficial directors of Newland Properties Ltd with an address at Ashley House, Batterstown, Co Meath.

Newland Properties owns 26 acres in Roestown, Ratoath, Co Meath, of which five-and-a-half acres are subject to compulsory purchase by Meath County Council for construction of the M3.

But in recent years, Newland Properties has bought up more than 130 acres in nearby Ratoath, Dunshaughlin, Dunboyne and ther parts of south Meath near the proposed route.

Though the CPO on the five-and-half acres is expected to net the company about €5m, the real potential for profit is in its other properties beside and near the M3 route. Inevitably, there will be pressure to rezone this land for housing and industrial development – a move that would bring in millions more for the two building magnates, according to property experts.

Frank Reynolds said the company owned more than 100 acres “if you take in Dublin and other places”. “I think if you ask anybody whose land will be affected by the M3 or N2, they would say they’d rather have the land. I wouldn’t say I’d make a killing on it. You can’t do much with land that has a road running through it”, said Mr Reynolds.“I don’t know if you can do much with it building-wise as people don’t want to live by a motorway”.

Land Registry documents show that Newland Properties also has a massive land portfolio in Dublin. JMSE has made huge financial contributions to Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats.

Tribunal star James Gogarty, when accompanying Joseph Murphy and another corrupt building tycoon, Mick Bailey, to a 1989 meeting with now jailed ex-minister Ray Burke to make a corrupt €30,000 contribution, innocently asked: “Will we get a receipt?”

“Will we f***,” was the reply.

Cathal McCarthy, meanwhile, has made millions from the development of Navan town centre in partnership with another rich developer, Gerry Duignan. IoS has seen files that show Mr McCarthy owns 12 acres at the most controversial interchange on the motorway – right beside the Hill of Tara, ancient seat of the High Kings of Ireland.

An additional 200-acre landback beside the interchange site was transferred to the name of Mr McCarthy since April 2004. The land is highly valuable given its proximity to the interchange and the M3. Opponents of the current route of the new motorway argue that the 29-acre, floodlit interchange will damage the Hill of Tara.

It has also been learned that in 1999, Mr McCarthy and Mr Duignan – registered with the Public Offices Commission as Duignan & McCarthy, PO Box 44, Navan, Co Meath – contributed £30,500 to Fianna Fáil.

The contributions are listed as ‘£2,500 for attendance at a fundraiser, £3,000 for attendance at a fundraiser and £25,000 for attendance at a fundraiser’.

Stone engraving from Tara. Tara is older than the pyramids and Stonehenge.

letter from

Road-builders chip away at the edges of a revered old fort Rath Lugh

MUCH has been written about the effects the proposed M3 will have on the Hill of Tara, but little about the effects it will have on the other monuments in the Gabhra Valley.
On August 7th, after observing a protest at the Lismullin henge, I visited Rath Lugh, just across the valley.This old and revered fort was named after Lugh, the solar deity of ancient Ireland who gave his name to Lughnasa, the month of August. It was also the base of Na Fianna Éireann - the mystical warrior band set up to protect Tara.
The new road cuts between the Rath and the Gabhra-Gowra river which was the scene of their last great battle against a corrupt high king in 280 AD.
Rath Lugh is, or was, a national monument, but despite the peace and quiet of this heavily wooded place, filtered this day by wonderful sunlight, it was impossible to overlook its neglected state.

Many trees are dead or dying and left lying where they fell. Sadly, the area is littered with used shotgun cartridges and of course the edge of this historic monument, with its great trees, has been removed to facilitate the M3.
Coillte, the State forestry body which "manages" the woods on the Rath, cut down these trees for the benefit of the road-builders. Observers have noted how markers, placed to designate the edges of this proposed road, are being moved deeper into Rath Lug.
Some trees have been marked 50 metres into the forest.
It seems there are plans to push the road further into Rath Lugh.

Apart from the physical destruction of this ancient monument, there is the wildlife problem. Rath Lugh is home to many badger setts.
These shy and hunted animals have had their water supply in the Gowra River cut off and are now trapped between a mad motorway and an ever busier country road behind them. So, too, are hares, rabbits and foxes. It would be very strange if the planners took them into consideration when they have defaced Rath Lugh itself.
A proper environmental assessment would have foreseen this. It would not just have been desirable; it is in fact mandatory under European and Irish law.

And no planning permission has been sought or granted for the destruction of national monuments, something which is outside the road-building remit.

John T. Farrelly,
29 Ballybough Road,
Dublin 3.


Bono and Bob sing dumb on issues nearer home

FROM time to time we hear a lot of hot air from the super-rich Bono and Bob Geldof on the elimination of world poverty, but when it comes to their homeland, nothing of significance or merit.

When, for example, can we expect them to say something in favour of the Hill of Tara?

At the moment these two maturing figureheads of our pop/celebrity culture are no more than the mouthpieces of a corrupt political culture.

Dr. Gerald Morgan,
School of English,
Trinity College,
Dublin 2.

Bronze Age Stone Circle just saved in England after camp protest

By Ian Herbert

Published: 06 September 2007

The inhabitants of Britain's longest-running environmental protest camp have faced more than their share of setbacks in the eight years they have been living, amid birch woodlands and open heather, in the Peak District. At least three of them have died there – one in a fire, another in a river and a third after falling over a cliff edge. But yesterday the protesters, who built 20 tree houses and a labyrinth of underground tunnels to fend off eviction, were celebrating after winning their fight to prevent quarrying in a precious wildlife area near a Bronze Age stone circle which has stood for 4,000 years.

Four years ago, an eviction order was served on the camp at Stanton Moor in Derbyshire after the quarrying group Stancliffe Stone declared its intention to cash in on old mining rights and extract 3.2 million tonnes of some of the most sought-after sandstone in Britain. But the activists joined forces with officials at the Peak District National Park to see off the threat. Under a deal approved yesterday by Hazel Blears, the Local Government secretary, the firm's planning permission at Stanton Moor is to be revoked in exchange for the right to quarry in an area which is less environmentally sensitive.

Graham Jenkins, one of the longest-serving activists still in the camp, was rueful yesterday as he surveyed the tarpaulin bivouac which has been his home for six years. "There are almost mixed feelings, now we know the end is here, because this place has become our home," he said. "But it proves that, if you stick at it, you can preserve an exquisite place like this from the desecration which was proposed."

The artist Martino Newcombe sends 250 beautifully crafted postcards - the image of Medb - to friends - the aim to alert 25,000 people to the desecration of Tara Valley if this road is not cancelled.

Song of the Center
for the Hill of Tara

"I have suffered what will happen to the people of Ireland in time to come," Cormac said, "they will lose their sense of their royalty. They won't know what Tara means. Their horses won't know the way to another way, to the perfect way, of seeing and knowing the world."
- John Moriarty

The gods are leaving this place
it is now only peopled by ghosts;
when the center is gone
where will you stand?

"We will stand in the East,"
I hear you say, "and shower
in the gold of our prosper."
But I say,
not without sovereignty.

Time now to walk
naked and royal
to the perfect place
in the perfect way.

"We will stand in the South,"
I hear you say, "and dance
to the songs ours to be sung."
But I say,
not without sovereignty.

Time now to walk
naked and royal
to the perfect place
in the perfect way.

"We will stand in the West,"
I hear you say, "and revel
in knowledge fit for the gods."
But I say,
not without sovereignty.

Time now to walk
naked and royal
to the perfect place
in the perfect way.

"We will stand in the North,"
I hear you say, "and fight
the battle for all that is right."
But I say,
not without sovereignty.

Time now to walk
naked and royal
to the perfect place
in the perfect way.

The gods are leaving this place
it is now only peopled by ghosts;
when the center is gone
where will you stand?