The Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, has appointed Prof Conor Newman from NUI Galway to a special committee to oversee archaelogical work on the controversial National Monument at Lismullen near Tara.

Prof Newman, who has in the past has been vocal in his criticism of the routing of the M3 motorway, will be charged with ensuring any work is conducted to the highest, most transparent standards.

Also on the Committee will be Dr Pat Wallace, Director of the National Museum, Prof Gabriel Cooney, Head of Archaeology at UCD,  as well as representatives from the National Roads Authority and the Department's National Monument's Service.

A spokesman said the special committee held its first meeting this morning.

Dick Roche, Mr Gromley's predecessor, controversially signed an order allowing the motorway to be built on top of the Lismullen site after an archaelogical examination.

Minister Gormley has said the Attorney General's advice is that he is not in a position to re-examine the decision, however Oppostion parties have charged he is dodging the issue.

Meanwhile, a group of MEP's are in Ireland to investigate a number of complaints in relation to the environment.

Members of the European Parliament Petitions Committee are looking at complaints made by citizens including the route of the M3, proposals for an incinerator on Dublin Bay and water quality in Galway.

Meeting the Minister for the Environment this afternoon, chairman of the Committee Marcin Libicki said the visit to Tara would be an emotional part of the Committee 's programme.

Mr Gormley said the Committee should be as vigorous and as thorough as possible.