BUILDING a motorway through the Tara/Skryne valley is evidence of a further attack on the study of Ireland's medieval history, a senior lecturer at Trinity College claimed yesterday.
A number of senior academic positions in medieval studies in Trinity (TCD) and UCD were unfilled and a "death blow" was being applied to historical research, Dr Gerald Morgan claimed.
A conference on the historical significance of the Hill of Tara organised by the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies also called for Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny to state if he would re-route the controversial M3 motorway if elected Taoiseach.
Dr Gerald Morgan, of TCD's School of English, said that Mr Kenny should give his "honest opinion" on the proposal to build the M3 motorway near the Hill of Tara.
"This is a concerted assault on medieval studies in Ireland," he said.
"In TCD the chair of early Irish and the chair of medieval and renaissance literature are vacant - the death blow seems to be applied to the study of medieval Irish.
"We must raise this issue in the crucial days leading up to the general election. How can Enda Kenny seriously expect the Irish people to make him king, if he will not show leadership and give his honest position on the matter?" Dr Sean Duffy, of the department of medieval history at TCD, said that although very little was known about Tara, no conquering army had ever attempted to destroy it.
"We will be the first generation in 5,000 years to deface Tara. This motorway will cut us off from our past."
Environment Minister Dick Roche has yet to decide if the national monument discovered at Lismullin last month should be preserved on-site or destroyed to allow the road to go ahead. A decision is not expected until after the general election.