Wednesday 31 July 2013

Republic of Ireland Publishes Guidelines on Use of Metal Detectors

In the Irish republic, the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Mr Jimmy Deenihan, TD, today (31 July 2013) published new guidelines for the public on the use of metal detection devices in Ireland - Advice Note on Metal Detection NMI NMS. The guidelines are being posted on the websites of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the National Museum of Ireland and will also be distributed as soon as possible in leaflet form to public offices where members of the public are likely to seek advice about metal detecting.
The Minister said that the guidelines were being issued “in response to growing numbers of reports being received by my Department and the National Museum of Ireland - borne out by evidence on the ground - of increasing levels of unauthorised and illegal use of metal detectors, often on important archaeological sites”. While the legal position in relation to metal detectors is clearly set out in legislation, the Minister said there was a need for comprehensive guidance that would be “clear and understandable to the public”. The Minister said that there was also evidence from internet sites and elsewhere of “illegal treasure-hunting and export and sale of unlawfully retrieved archaeological objects”. The intention of the guidelines, the Minister said, was “to clear up any confusion that may be leading to unintentional breaches of the law, to provide individuals and groups with an unambiguous statement of the statutory provisions surrounding metal detecting and archaeological finds and to spell out the consequences of contravening the law”. The guidelines will also alert the public of the potential damage that can be caused to archaeological heritage by random unauthorised metal detecting.
Like they have in England and Wales.
The Minister said that he hoped the publication of the guidelines would bring about a greater understanding of the potential damage that can result from what many would regard as “a harmless hobby” and why there is a need for strong and effective statutory controls. “Archaeological objects must be excavated in a structured scientific manner, with careful recording of their association with other objects, structures, features and soil layers.  Failure to expertly record the context from which an object has been removed results in an irreplaceable loss of knowledge of the past”, the Minister said. He added that “random searches with metal detectors cannot determine whether a find is of archaeological importance or if it is a recent discard. The result in either case is that the soil is greatly disturbed and any non-metallic evidence and objects are likely to be destroyed”.
At its nearest, the distance [edited]-- from Ireland to England and Wales -- [edited] is only 90 km, but its a whole load more intellectually from the land of the PAS-partnership of insanity.

Minister DeenihanPublishes Guidelines on Use of Metal Detectors Date Released: 31 July 2013


David Knell said...

"... he distance between Ireland and the rest of the UK ..."

The REST of the UK??? I do hope that doesn't reflect a subconscious yearning for our colonialist past, Paul! Ireland tore off our yoke some time ago! :D

Paul Barford said...

Ha! That remains from a previous draft when I naively believed the PAS that it was Northern ireland that was being discussed. It was not, and now I have edited the offending passage, thanks for spotting it !!

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