Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Questions (317, 318)

Bernard Allen

Question:

401 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he proposes to introduce an archaeological policy to establish that full benefit is being derived from the substantial investment in archaeological excavations. [6553/04]

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Bernard Allen

Question:

402 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the number of archaeological excavations carried out here in each year from 1997 to 2002, inclusive; the number of reports filed each year on them; and if the reports have been scrutinised by his Department to ensure that all objects found have been catalogued and handed over to the State. [6554/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 401 and 402 together.

My Department's policy on the protection of the archaeological heritage is set out in two key documents published in 1999, Framework and Principles for the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage and Policy and Guidelines on Archaeological Excavation. They are available in the Oireachtas Library.

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 481 of 24 February regarding excavation reports submitted in each year from 1997 to 2002, inclusive.

Under existing legislation all archaeological objects with no known owner are the property of the State. Following their excavation, recording and conservation, as may be appropriate, excavators are obliged to hand over objects to the State, through the National Museum of Ireland, for curation.