Saturday 22 March 2008

Tara Appreciation Society Mourn Loss of Tara

Irish Times, 17 March 2008Tara protesters parade in SydneyJohn Ingram, an Aboriginal man with Irish heritage, led the paradedressed as St Patrick in Sydney, writes Pádraig Collins .A GROUP opposed to the construction of a motorway near the Hill of Tarain Co Meath paraded past the Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey atyesterday's St Patrick's Day parade in Sydney.The Tara Appreciation Society's parade entry featured about 10 peoplebehind a banner saying "Tara - 7,000 years of Irish History"."It's great, wonderful democracy. I was delighted to see Tara promoted,"Mr Dempsey told The Irish Times.In contrast to the rest of the marchers, who were mostly wearing green,the Tara Appreciation Society members stood out by mostly wearing black.The group's website said their lack of numbers in the parade was "due toapproaches to the [St Patrick's Day parade] committee". "While we wantedthis to be a festive community effort allowing families, etc, to join usin celebrating Tara's unique history . . . we have now restricted whocan join us in the parade."The protest has not led to a change of heart though. "There areprocedures that are decided upon," Mr Dempsey said.This year's parade, which was watched by a crowd of about 10,000, wasled by John Ingram, an Aboriginal man with Irish heritage, who wasdressed as St Patrick. All 32 counties were represented in the parade,as were Irish cultural organisations, Sydney GAA clubs and local pipe bands."This year was as good as it has ever been," said Tommy McAdam from CoMonaghan, who has lived in Sydney since 1956. "There were more floatsthan I've seen before and there's a great crowd watching too."Also enjoying the parade was Sister Christina O'Connor of the Sisters ofSt Joseph, whose mother was from Wexford and father from Clare. "ThePatrician Brothers and World Youth Day sections were very good," said SrChristina.The Catholic Church's World Youth Day, which is held every three years,is being held in Sydney in July.Swiss man Racheed Ahmed was wearing a Kerry jersey while watching theparade. "One of the Irish girls I work with gave it to me," he said."We are the only west Europeans where I work. I've been to every StPatrick's Day parade in Sydney since 1996.

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