I propose to take Questions Nos. 1602, 1624 and 1625 together.
An archaeological assessment, licensed by my Department under the National Monuments Acts, was carried out on the site in question as part of the normal pre-planning process for new development proposals. The objective of such assessments is to verify that an appropriate approach is taken in relation to any archaeological material that may be present. The assessment in this case, comprising of a geophysical survey and archaeological test excavations, identified the presence of subsurface archaeological remains.
In light of these findings, my Department subsequently approved a licensed excavation of the site in accordance with the provisions of the National Monuments Acts. The excavation licence provided for the archaeological excavation and recording of the archaeological features on the site. A standard condition of all such licences requires a report to be submitted to the Department’s National Monuments Service setting out the results of the excavations and subsequent scientific analysis. The National Monuments Service will receive the report of the excavation findings in the coming weeks.
Under the Planning and Development Acts, planning authorities refer development proposals that may impact on archaeological heritage to my Department for comment so that recommendations may be made, as appropriate, to avoid or mitigate any such impacts. My Department has recently responded to such a referral in relation in this case and has asked for further information to be obtained from the applicant with regard to the results of the archaeological assessment carried out to date and of such further assessment as may be appropriate in relation to the work to which the planning application relates. My Department will respond as appropriate on receipt of this information.