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Active Direction at Tara

category international | history and heritage | opinion/analysis author Tuesday March 11, 2008 03:07author by Rob Henderson - Independent Artistauthor email robertghenderson at eircom dot net Report this post to the editors

Click the first link on the first page that loads on tarapixie.net and watch the video, 'Rath Lugh Down Under'.

Feel free to circulate this text at will. It might not mean much but if you think it could make a difference somewhere then post it there, or write your own version. Those in the most ideal positions of our national press are not investigating this issue. The people on the ground only have so much time to spread around each day. It is up to you to provide whatever you think we need, we'll accept all the help we can get.

The courtroom in Navan has lulled audiences coughing and lowering their voices, nodding and sniffing their way through the motions. There's boredom in the room, but also the aching possibility of meaty excitement . . . real stuff. The appealing underlay of the great big unpredictable amid the order and rule of law. Official pieces of paper bustling past occasionally. Uniforms and shabby dress, all dominoed out in identical chairs, even some left standing up today. 'Do you understand me?', 'I do'. This dry heat is tiring. I'm wearing good clothes but there's mud on my sleeve. It's a nice jacket but it smells like smoke and clunky stoves. Inspector 'this', and, 'if he comes', 'sections 4 and 6', and padded vests. Polished haircuts, murky boots and rubber Nikes. Mercin the archaeologist is wearing a shirt. There's dust on my elbow, I must've fallen down. I'm always stumbling these days, but spring is bringing better pathways. A harp above the judge’s head says 'Éire' underneath, and it's not wearing a crown. Through the window I can hear someone trying to play ‘The Foggy Due’. '"Dóchas" is the name of the women's prison, girly'. Rianna is a Geordie, like me Da. She can sing a verse of Cushy Butterfield. They will both represent themselves. The judge has instructions to follow. Everyone is busy writing, or smiling, or worrying, or muttering. The lawyer in front of me is wearing a nice blouse. Some design warehouse, Asian runoff, intricately expensive floral pattern in deep red, grey, black and white - clean as a whistle. 'Bail conditions are rudimentary', ' I have no instructions in relation to that judge', 'Can you put that back so I can have copies of all of the charge sheets, judge', ' I'll give it to you, I'll give it to you into Section 6'. Rianna was cautioned as a young girl on her first offence. Mercin has had his case adjourned until next week as the judge says he’ll need an interpreter. He respectfully declines the offer and submits that his English is more than adequate, he does not need an interpreter, the judge says he does.

We need electricity. We have some but can always use more, and we are short some bits and pieces to make some more turbines work properly. And we need more turbines. And more bits. And wind-up stuff. You should've seen it go. It was like standing beside lightning with blades. A few feet outside the shelter, and across two defensive perimeters, shredded tarpaulins flattening eardrums with swipes of thunder, flung at the gale force wind and held by tensed elongated knotworks of rattling wire, barbs and wooden posts driven cross-hatch into the front line. Inside the hut we heard a hurricane-force gust through the wind mill and a zipper noise, like a car-crash intake of breath, but ages long, then something went pop and a red light lit a puff of smoke above a small white metal box. A vital component, but that's alright, it's repairable, and besides there's full charge now, on every battery. I think the propeller might have had too many blades for the conditions, but someone mentioned that it was a new kind that could handle the stronger winds. It had done solid work for now and could be seen to later, let it all scream and shout.

One had been arrested, illegally, by an officer of An Garda Shiochána without full uniform, identification, procedure or vehicle - taken away in a private company car. He also admitted that it was illegal but said no more. I was stuck on the hill at that time, my batteries had emptied, everything seemed low, I was up, physically at least, but the weather had me backed in a corner with its stubborn theatrics. So I washed up with soap by the stove and warmed my hands as I did so, nothing's useless. I'd been out again at sunrise, beyond lying in bed awake, but I'd scuttled back inside as quick as the freezing easterly and its sharp rain. I'd retied some misbehaving knots and storm lashed some other stuff, but it was too expending to construct anything and there was no sign of actions. I'd no communications today, but I was in the dead centre of the camp and should be easily found. I departed for the camp at Rath Lugh 45 minutes before mid-day, as soon as I got word; they'd had an entirely different morning. Many telephones were having trouble today for some reason. Four heavy-duty machines had arrived earlier and, having been warned of their illegal activity, were slowed and held at bay for over two hours before the illegal arrest of a young female protector. Upon my late arrival, two machines were continuing the advance, and I accompanied a friend through the outermost perimeter of the defensive structure, erected to ensure the stability of the esker on the National Monument. Then through the second entrance as bolted reinforcements were secured behind us.

Atop a hill, with the summit of Tara in View, and above what looked like a 70km wound opening itself along the valley, the weather turned deafeningly severe. On one side of the central hut, drill bits of sporadic raindrops would hit skin at a pace that made it physically difficult to look into the wind. It had been paradise of late, with spring and grass and lots of work done in all the camps. Two eagles are nesting on the hill and seem to like our company, paying us regular visits. Now, however, we were returned to muck and strain, exhaling and confronting. The hut provided some shelter from the wind on the opposite side, but the rain there found gravity and momentum beating straight down. I was soaked in seconds. We took turns and swapped sides. Always a peaceful protest we stood clutching cameras for evidence in defiance of the arsenal of machinery against us. A bulldozer, a digger and four off-road trucks were chomping at the bit to demolish, but they were swarmed with upstanding people willing to voice non compliance and protect our heritage, culture and national values.

We have a right to be here. Ferrovial and Siac construction choose to break the law more and more every day, behind a wall of security companies and heartbreaking political and police force collusion. Security staff do not like having their pictures taken and behave in a less threatening manner in front of the camera. Evidence is vital, and they know it. Again the police arrived. After more than four hours in total this morning they finally halted the advance of the machines and agreed to listen for a minute. They then returned to their station to photocopy the preservation order concerning this monument, as neither they, the security nor any paid employee on site had one, or the clarity it provides. The police are not on our side. They should only ever be on the side of the law, and this is all we ask of them, furthermore we appreciate each and every step they take towards doing their jobs properly and respecting the Garda Oath.

In the afternoon a convoy of workers and security returned. Tireless work had not ceased and efforts to strengthen both defences and resolve had doubled. Wrapped up well against the weather, people were nipping back and forth with saws and hammers, flasks of tea and words of wisdom barely audible in the storm. We were on edge but worked well together and kept a good spirit between us. The security dismounted and approached the perimeter with measuring devices, GPS equipment and an army of silent hob-nailed expressions. They were approached and again reminded of the law by educated and informed people, paperwork and peaceful integrity. I followed them around as they moved from point to point and reminded them of a day when work was coupled with pride. Asked them if they were proud of what they were doing. Asked them if they bore any human feeling towards those on whose behalf they were prepared to break so many laws, and perpetuate such open demolition of values. Asked if such loyalty would be repaid them when the mortgage payments fail. Asked if they remembered a story or a song from when they were grandkids, if they had ever heard of children or grandmothers, or the inherited social structures we all learned we could fall back upon in any day of darkness. I followed them like Cú around Chulainns home tangled in the great big ‘why’, but it was their machines that came to bark and us to plea, and devoid of magic this story made no sense, too much text and somehow never enough paperwork. Each question was greeted with silence and none would make eye contact. The brain of a nation confused like a hound, toothless and silent. There was no Setanta. Such tales are survived only in telling, and now, at so critical a time, it seems no one has anything to say. Even the few real and physical remnants in our modern trash heap are vulnerable to the prostitution of those charged with their protection. The police returned and informed both sides that they were satisfied that the machines could not continue here today, then ordered the security and construction workers to a 500 metre distance. They fell back to 600 metres and continued working on a 30ft high lump of dirt they had recently piled onto the wooden henge at Lismullen. 45 sites of major international importance now destroyed and they throw us an hour, maybe someday we'll get some sleep.

Rath Lugh is where the Direct Action camp of this campaign is located. There are those who agree and those who disagree with Non Violent Direct Action, and then there are those who do not entirely know what it means. It is not, however, a black and white issue and the term is a simple umbrella to catch a wide span of definitions. Daily duties in the camp involve collecting firewood, water from the well, taking and processing footage and photos, cooking meals, washing, scouting the valley for machinery, finding ancient artefacts in the Gabhra River, and jumping in front of diggers, steamrollers, graders and earth movers. When any member of the public is in the vicinity of an operating machine the driver is required by law to stop the engine. When workers stop their engines the company docks their pay. A worker will often not comply with the law, due to a potential loss of earnings, unless the protestor sits in front of, climbs on top of or locks onto the operating machine. Digger diving is the most frequent form of action, and we need as many digger divers as we can get. Those uncomfortable with such direct activity can support it in many ways. People holding cameras and legal observers are essential as evidence of wrongdoing must be recorded and often security staff will employ unlawful physical tactics, up to and including intimidation and serious assault, if witnesses and recording equipment are not present. The physical presence of ordinary people in direct blockade and/or vocal opposition to illegal activity, from without or from within this nations borders, is protected by national, European and International laws and conventions too numerous to mention. We also need the support of those willing to engage in less direct protest. Roadside picket wielders, marching bands, cups of tea, giant chickens to cross the road, lots of little Bob the Builders to fix it all, voices and horn beeps, bring everything you think we should have. Any person can go to a working site and ask them to cease this desecration of our cultural heritage, it is not against the law to do so, it is called freedom of speech.

The camp located approximately 300 metres north of the summit of Tara is focused on information and discussion of the issues. Though most support Non Violent Direct Action here there is a primary drive to welcome and interact with the thousands of visitors who flock to this unique landscape every year. A community and family atmosphere is maintained with a drug and alcohol free space and facilities for those who wish to camp, be their stay long or short, and also for those who are just passing through - all are welcome. It is a good place to begin for those who are unsure as to how their skills or expertise can be of value, as we aim to offer space for the investigation of a diversity of solutions to a myriad of problems, with a focus on one central objective: Halting work on the M3 motorway. The Vigil fire, which has been burning for two years now, is tended here and work has begun on a small simple playground and a dance floor/stage for St. Patrick's Day 2008.

Every camp comes equipped with communal living, sleeping and eating space, as comfortable as we can make it from day to day. We do not need everyone to spend a prolonged stay; it is the constant flow of your support which will halt these machines. Modern Ireland comes equipped with timetables, responsibilities and work loads - we understand this. All we ask is that you come once, come camping in the spring, have a good time and decide for yourself from the place itself. Please do this before they raise the volume, turn on the floodlights and take away the stars. We'll do our best to inform you of the rest and help you decide on a course of action, be it picket wielding or digger diving, the campaign becomes a whole new beast every single day. For those who can afford a longer stay, we need the willing makers and doers to give what they can of their time and expertise, sometimes this means long hours and hard work for no pay and a heart that gets rebroken with every passing sight of the level of destruction currently underway, but the solution won't wait for you, heaven or hell; it's our choice. We have a good relationship with the local community and try to focus on ecology as best we can. Almost all our structures are built low-impact and free standing, so as to respect the setting. We care more for this valley than those entrusted, and paid so increasingly higher and higher, to do no more than perpetuate neglect and abandon as readily as excrement. Human remains have actually, not metaphorically but actually, been thrown on rubble heaps. Hundreds of buried bodies have been removed from the ground, bagged and tagged and put in storage behind another bank of paperwork. Once upon a time progress and development were linked by challenge, now it seems old ideas are automatically wiped out by the bigger, stronger or faster in a system which demands restriction, secrecy and ownership of conscience, disregarding absolutely the mass production of waste as an unimportant side effect to a cure called greed. It would be nice to believe that the elected amongst us have our best interests at heart and are not just out to amass personal and family fortunes, but this does not seem to be the case. Development, challenge and true evolution of progressive thought are abandoned. Profit and intellectual property are esteemed, and none of it makes any sense. Currencies are as common as gods, and neither can buy back so much as a heartbeat in time. This is our Valley of the Kings, come see it, they're trying to take it from you.

All our camps need supplies and financial support. We need ink and paper, computer equipment and accessories, candles and rechargeable batteries, inverters, regulators and potatoes, all manner of materials, banners, paints, workshops, bicycles, pens, money, tea, coffee, honey, tobacco, oats, tarpaulin, rhubarb tart, eyes and ears, spare legs, transport, firewood, fuel, muscle. Whatever good things you can bring, anything you think we should have or cannot do without, you are the expert, you've just been promoted, come and tell us how you think we should do it. Even if all you can bring is a smile, it will help someone. Some people also really need a break, we need relief. Those who do come need support from those who can't. All of us need everyone to find out more and talk about this issue. The government and the media are giving it a deathly silence, you need to begin your own communication link, and none in an ideal situation to do so have been bothered about investigating the scale of the atrocity being committed here. This most unique of cultural endeavours is massive, almost too daunting to touch, but those who are paid the most to see the value in this story are not doing so, you are being actively uninformed. And you know it. Solve that problem. Find out. We can help, but none of us have the time to take you by the hand. Begin at tarapixie.net, see Direct Action on video. Signposts to Tara are not difficult to find, look at a map, check your glove box you might already have one. They are building Europe’s largest spaghetti junction between Dunshaughlin and Navan, 52 acres, at least one hundred floodlights, ten flyovers, 70 km of motorway with 120 km of slip roads which should not be allowed, this route knocks out the possibility of rail for the area. There are high-powered pylons to come by Trim from the west, and half-a-dozen sewerage treatment plants, the first goes in at Newgrange shortly. This road is a baby step in the urbanisation of Tara and the Gabhra Valley, and is most unnecessary, how ever high the resulting house prices. And all just because the right people own the right land and the right pockets get the lining. We need you and the people around you. Official Red C poll results from last month put 62 percent of the Irish population in opposition to this madness. Do something, no one else will, certainly not anyone elected or paid to. Please do not be silent; you can start by whispering, even to your self.

Mercin, who speaks perfect, fluent English, interpreted a two year suspended sentence. Mercin is an archaeologist who jumped at the opportunity to come to Ireland and work on the Tara/Skryne site, but was so outraged at the methods employed by the NRA to such important and unique finds, that he decided to switch sides and lock himself onto a machine, thus slowing down the destruction. Mercin is no hippie, but rather an intelligent and university qualified scholar and expert in his field. We as a whole are a diverse group of responsible people, from highly educated populations, who are being actively condemned and brushed aside for asking questions of our highly questionable political leaders. Seamus Heaney is speaking out internationally. The labels that turn us into a passing joke make a mockery of our collective origins and the possibilities for the intellectual advancement of our educated nation. The young female protector who was illegally arrested, for nothing in particular, except being there, and on a day where we were the ones deemed to be upholding the law, received a fine for her trouble in doing the right thing. To me it is this attitude which makes our policing and court system a whimsical thing, and how much money does that cost you? Many people from many different nationalities see the importance of what is happening here. This issue is bigger than a pub joke, wake up; it is no more than foolish ignorance to laugh it off for pathetic momentary giggles. The castles of old had their place for Jesters, this is your future too, and in what light will we be viewed then?

I've just folded backwards exhaling radiated heat; I couldn't take any more, so I cut loose and ran away. I'm writing longhand on my right knee and trying to figure out the combinations on three different remote controls to make the six o' clock news appear in front of me. There's no one home, and I didn't tell them I was on the way. The book open by my mothers chair is by Kyrie Murray, the bard of Tara, and it's open at the poem 'Traitors'. I heard the word Tara twice today on the public Dart through Dublin, as it rattled out its tangle of silly background conversations. The kids are talking at least, someone knows. I wonder how they deal with those questions. I've trouble enough sifting through which ones to bother asking. There's a young hero down a mine with a jack around her neck. International Women's Day 2008 saw tarapixie.net reveal a tunnel system protest under the M3 construction works. 'Rath Lugh Down Under' on tarapixie.net (the first link on the first page that loads), shows it better than words could possibly explain, approximately 40 minutes long and riveting. Watch it. The approach is to destroy as much as possible as quickly as possible before public opinion catches on, fines they can pay, they have budgeted for them. Hurry up, wake up, catch on, this is far more serious than fleeting interest rates or fashionable slang. The people to whom you pay good money to care about these things for you simply do not care. Will you come and find out? Why wait? There's nothing on the telly.

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