Thursday, 21 November 2019

Ceisteanna (61)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

61. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans for Loughcrew Cairns megalithic tombs in Oldcastle, County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48325/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Loughcrew site is managed from the Brú na Boinne Visitor Centre and Guide services are available on a seasonal basis during the months of June, July and August.

Currently, visitor access to the interior of the largest structure, Cairn T, is prohibited while necessary works are being designed and carried out to address serious structural issues, the effects of vandalism and concerns about the condition of specific stones within the chamber. The remainder of the site remains available to visit however and, as an additional service to visitors during the 2019 season, full Guided tours were made available of the entire Loughcrew landscape as opposed to simply Cairn T alone, which had been the case before access was restricted. The response to this was strongly positive and it was considered that the move added considerably to the overall depth of the visitor experience.

Prior to the closure of Cairn T, offseason visitor access (i.e. in the absence of Guides) was facilitated through a local keyholder who made the key available to visitors on request. Given the level of damage which has been noted at the site, it is not at this stage clear what the future position regarding offseason access will be following the remediation works and the level of unaccompanied access that will be feasible. This issue will be reviewed further therefore when the works are complete.