Friday, 10 January 2020

Charles O'Donnell, '‘It’s a misconception’ that licences are always needed to operate metal detectors on farmland

Paddy word games: Charles O'Donnell, '‘It’s a misconception’ that licences are always needed to operate metal detectors on farmland' Agriland Dec 30, 2019,
 An avid metal detecting hobbyist – Dermot O’Brien – has [...] contacted AgriLand looking to clarify the remarks by the museum’s official. He mentions that “genuine (sic) hobbyists" have formed the Irish Metal Detecting Society "to try and self-regulate the hobby [...] There should be recognition for those who genuinely will go about the hobby legally and are willing to carry an identification card, which could be presented to any landowner or Garda if required. 
Hmm. But a club membership card is not a project-specific permit. Mr O'Brien  adds:
“As stated by the Minister [for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan] public lands generally are not a problem, and private lands are a matter for the landowner/manager to discuss with anyone looking to enter the lands.
Whatever the minister says, Section 2 (1) of the Act is clear: Subject to the provisions of this section a person shall not [...] (b) use, at a place other than a place specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection, a detection device for the purpose of searching for archaeological objects.
There is a misconception that a licence is required to operate a metal detector in Ireland, but it’s simply not true. A licence is required – and must have been previously applied for and granted by the minister – to be in the vicinity of – or enter – a heritage site. The boundaries are clear and well avoided by a genuine hobbyist.
No, that is not at all what the law says. A project-specific permit is required to search for historical or archaeological objects in the entire Republic of Ireland, farmland, forest, private or state owned.
He added that it was a “matter of trust” between a landowner and metal detector user. [...] “The hobby is no different than others, like football… You don’t need a licence to kick a ball around a field, or to make sand castles on the beach with a bucket and spade.
Well, it is, because it depletes a finite and fragile resource.

So, yes. If you want to walk across a bit of empty farmland in the Irish Republic carrying a metal detector if it has no battery in it and you leave the spade at home, then no, you do not need a licence. If you have a battery in it and are using the tool to search for metal items left there by past activity, then, you need a licence. What part of 'yes' do Irishmen not understand?

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