Dáil Éireann - Volume 515 - 07 March, 2000
Written Answers. - Archaeological Sites.
Mr. D. Carey Mr. D. Carey
228. Mr. D. Carey asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands the communications, if any, she has had with Dúchas regarding the information (details supplied) outlining the historical and sensitive area which Clare County Council is proposing to use as a landfill site in Ballyduffbeg townland, Inagh, County Clare; the qualifications of the experts who visited the site; and the date or dates of their most recent visits. [6574/00]
Miss de Valera Miss de Valera
Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands (Miss de Valera): I thank the Deputy for forwarding the information in question to me which I referred to the heritage service, Dúchas, of my Department for investigation. Regrettably, this information has done little to shed further light on the exact whereabouts of the cillín at Ballyduff Beg.
A senior archaeologist from the heritage service visited the site at Inagh on Friday, 5 November 1999. He confirmed that the suspected cillín, which had been archaeologically tested previously, is not a burial ground. However, impenetrable coniferous plantation rendered further investigation of the wider area impossible. In the light of the additional information supplied by the Deputy, I took the view that further investigation was required, and on 3 February 2000, an archaeologist who undertakes field survey work for my Department and is proficient in identifying such sites, carried out an extensive search of the Ballyduff Beg. His report cannot confirm the whereabouts of a cillín at Ballyduff Beg.
I am advised that a systematic check of the area could only be effectively carried out after all trees had been carefully felled and the undergrowth removed, and even then such a check might not be conclusive. A system of follow-up test excavation of selected sites could then be employed  but, in the absence of any hard evidence or scientific data, this would be problematic.
It would be in the best interests of the developer to carry out a further appraisal of the archaeological potential of the site when it has been cleared of trees, and before a final decision is made as to whether to proceed with the project.
Should the project proceed, the position is that, as with similar large-scale land development projects, it is standard procedure for my Department to require that archaeological monitoring of all soil stripping work is carried out at the developer's expense. If any archaeological artefacts are uncovered during the soil-stripping works, the archaeologist on site will be in a position to take appropriate action, which might include excavation or preservation in situ, the effect of which would be to limit or prevent developments at the site.
Dáil Éireann 515 Written Answers. Archaeological Sites.