Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Questions (518, 519, 520, 522)

John Lahart

Question:

518. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will publish the interim report she received regarding to the archaeological find at a site (details supplied). [20579/19]

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John Lahart

Question:

519. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the rationale for her comments in Dáil Éireann concerning the archaeological finds at a site (details supplied) in the context of the report compiled by the archaeologist of the developer that appears to differ from her statements regarding to the significance of the finds; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20580/19]

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John Lahart

Question:

520. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if her Department has had contact from South Dublin County Council regarding to the recent planning application for permission to clear land and carry out enabling works on a site (details supplied) in view of recent archaeological finds on the same lands. [20611/19]

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John Lahart

Question:

522. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her views regarding the recent planning application pertaining to lands (details supplied) from an archaeological preservation point of view; if she is satisfied that a full-scale planning application that would essentially result in the lands on which archaeological finds were recently made being covered in their entirety by residential development is being actively considered by the local authority; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20725/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 518 to 520, inclusive and 522 together.

Archaeological test excavations, licensed by my Department under the National Monuments Acts, were carried out on the site by privately engaged consultant archaeologists. Archaeological assessments are a normal part of the pre-planning phases of 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 a subsurface archaeological enclosure in one area of the development site. In light of these findings, my Department subsequently approved a licensed excavation of the enclosure site in accordance with the provisions of the National Monuments Acts.

The excavation licence provided for the archaeological excavation and recording of the archaeological enclosure. While my Department received an interim progress report during the course of the excavation work, a standard condition of all such licences requires a formal report to be submitted to both the Department’s National Monuments Service and the National Museum of Ireland setting out the results of the excavations and subsequent scientific analysis. The licensee is also required to publish a concise account of the excavation on the excavations.ie website.

The National Monuments Service and the National Museum of Ireland will receive the preliminary report of the excavation findings in the coming weeks and a final report will be submitted in due course. I will be happy to share these reports with the Deputy when they are received in my Department.

Under the Planning and Development Acts, planning authorities also 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. The Department has also recommended that the applicant be asked to undertake an Ecological Impact Assessment and Bat Survey of the site. My Department will respond as appropriate on receipt of further information from the planning authority.

Any submission made by a prescribed body to a planning authority may be taken into consideration by the authority when making its determination on a planning application. The final decision is, however, a matter for the planning authority itself.