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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 29 Apr 1986

Vol. 365 No. 10

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Mount Gabriel (Cork) Archaeological Heritage.


asked the Minister for Energy in view of the fact that a company (details supplied) intend to commence drilling operations on Mount Gabriel, Schull, County Cork, this year, and bearing in mind that the area in question is rich in archaeological heritage if he will consider employing an archaeologist during the drilling operations.

My Department are in contact with the Office of Public Works with a view to arriving at suitable arrangements that will ensure that the programme of exploration work contemplated by the company will be undertaken with full regard for sites of archaeological interest in the area. I would not consider it appropriate for my Department to employ an archaeologist to oversee the exploration work.

In the meantime the company will be requested to refrain from carrying out drilling or other work involving ground disturbance.

Will the Minister consider requesting the company concerned to employ the services of an archaeologist in view of the fact that the area is very rich archaeologically.

I am aware of the archaeological treasures in the townlands of Rathcool and Skeagh. The notice of the Minister's intention to grant this licence was published on 11 May 1985 and no objections were raised. Over the past 40 years, since the enactment of the Minerals Development Act, 1940, we have not been aware of any damage done to sites of archaeological interest in the course of exploration work. I should add that exploration work is totally different from mining and we will have to look at the matter again. We are in touch with OPW on this matter and we have asked them to sit down and discuss the matter with the company to ensure that damage is not done to any archaeological treasures.