Minister for the Environment John Gormley pledged to release to the media the entire file about the national monument found at Lismullen on the controversial M3 route near the Hill of Tara.
Mr Gormley told the Dáil he would release the file in the near future "to ensure the highest levels of transparency and accountability".
He also accused Fine Gael of "sour grapes" after the party's environment spokesman Fergus O'Dowd accused him of doing a U-turn on the routing of
the M3 motorway. Mr O'Dowd claimed Mr Gormley had "failed at the first hurdle" and that "his predecessor emasculated the Green Party by going against one of its core values". He added that Mr Gormley had stressed this core value before the election when he said "this controversial motorway must come to an end".
The Minister also announced the first meeting yesterday of a special committee formed at the recommendation of the director of the National Museum "to ensure excavation of the national monument at Lismullen is carried out to the highest and most transparent standard".
Fine Gael is in favour of the current approved route for the M3 but Mr O'Dowd raised the issue last night to highlight the Green Party's acceptance of the route since going into Government, while it was against it in Opposition. Mr Gormley, however, said that "had Fine Gael been in Government it would have insisted on the current route being followed. Fine Gael is not in Government and what we are hearing from it at present is sour grapes and nothing more."
The Fine Gael TD said the Green Party "has betrayed its base", and Mr Gormley had been left "to defend the indefensible from his party's point of view", after the decision by his predecessor Dick Roche to give the go ahead to the controversial route at Lismullen.
The Minister said he first heard of Mr Roche's decision in a text message while he was in the chamber on the day the Government was formed. He had subsequently examined the file on the Lismullen monument and that Mr Roche had followed procedures under current legislation.
The "unequivocal legal advice from the Attorney General" was that "without a change in the material circumstances relating to the newly discovered monument, it is not open to me to review or amend the directions given by my predecessor".
© 2007 The Irish Times