The archaeological monument most directly associated with the development site in this case is included in the Record of Monuments and Places (“RMP”) established under section 12 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994. While the published RMP for each county provides illustrative guidance of the area and scale of listed monuments, it also clarifies that the “circles and boxes around the recorded monuments and places are intended to show them but not to define their exact extent”. It is also the case that section 12 of the 1994 Act does not include provision for the establishment of buffer zones within which development is precluded.
An archaeological monument to the southeast of the development site is also subject to a Preservation Order under the National Monuments Acts. However, as with the RMP, neither does the placing of a Preservation Order on a monument create a buffer zone that would preclude development taking place.
The position therefore is that no particular buffer zones have been established within the framework of the applicable legislation protecting relevant monuments in this case. The archaeological recommendations issued by the National Monuments Service, as statutory consultee under the Planning Acts, in relation to the proposed development would, of course, have taken full account of the presence of those monuments. It would also have had due regard to the location and context of the site, which is directly adjacent to existing housing estates extending eastwards from the town in question. It would be appropriate for related archaeological advice to acknowledge the nature and setting of the area which is suburban rather than rural in character.
The commencement of archaeological excavations on the development site would be a matter for the owner in accordance with the terms of the planning permission granted by An Bord Pleanála and the requirements of the National Monuments Acts. I understand that my Department is not yet in receipt of any related application under those Acts.