SPEAKER after speaker at the Save Tara Skryne Valley protest march in Navan on Saturday paid tribute to the huge crowd for turning out and supporting them.
They obviously weren’t in the same town a few weeks ago when the march to save Navan’s Fair Green took place. Well over 1,000 marched through Navan for that rally. Around 150 took part in Saturday’s Save Tara demonstration.
Among the participants were Disney characters Mickey Mouse and Shrek, in addition to local public representatives Colr Andy Brennan and Colr Phil Cantwell, Green Party TD Ciaran Cuffe and Tara campaigner Muireann Ni Bhrolochain.
The parade was due to begin at 2pm at the Navan Railway Station yard on Railway Street, a site chosen to draw attention to the lack of a passenger rail line to Dublin. Across the road, patrons of Fulham’s public house were mounting their own counter-demonstration. On a placard, they had written slogans in support of the motorway.
“We want the road. We need jobs. We don’t want traffic jams,” they shouted over at the protestors, who were busy blowing up green and gold balloons, and face-painting. Ciaran Cuffe, Green TD, wasn’t sure which side of the street to stand on, but eventually entered the station yard.
Led off by bodhrans and the Tara Solidarity Vigil and their flame - a group who are camping on the Hill of Tara in solidarity with Dinny Donnelly’s sheep, perhaps - the march eventually began shortly after 2.30pm, and headed down Railway Street, with almost as many people filming and photographing it as there were marching.
Bemused shoppers and passers-by looked on, and there was even the odd irate spectator letting off steam.
“Save Tara, stop the road,” the marchers chanted. A Skryne man on Trimgate Street wondered why he couldn’t see any Skryne people in it, before spotting one or two. The gathering point for the rally was at Dunnes Stores, where speakers climbed up on a bale of straw in a pick-up van to address the “marvellous crowd” that had turned out.
TARA stands for ‘There Are Reasonable Alternatives’, Ciaran Cuffe told the gathering, and other speakers included Percy Jordan, a farmer from the Tara area; Muireann Ni Bhrolchain, a lecturer in Celtic studies at NUI Maynooth; Green Party senate candidate Martin Hogan from Kildare, and Damien Cassidy, a rail line campaigner, as well as Colr Phil Cantwell, Trim.
Communications Minister, local TD Noel Dempsey, was the target of the speeches by Ms Ni Bhrolochain and Colr Cantwell.
The rally concluded after an hour with Mickey Mouse and Shrek dancing outside Dunnes Stores.