Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Mr Jimmy Deenihan, T.D.)

To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht his views on the call from the Irish Metal Detecting Society and the Amateur Metal Detectors Association of Ireland for reform of the law as it relates to the hobby of metal detecting with a particular focus on gaining access to State lands and the issue of boundaries near archaeological sites and National Monuments a; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 21st May, 2013.

REPLY

Measures to regulate the use of metal detectors were introduced in the National Monuments Act (Amendment) 1987 to protect our archaeological heritage from irreparable damage and loss from the indiscriminate use of metal detectors to search for artefacts or archaeological objects.  The 1987 Act sets out the statutory provisions in relation to the general use of metal detectors to search for archaeological objects on any lands and the particular requirements applying to their use on protected monuments and archaeological sites.  The locations and boundaries of such protected monuments are set out on the website of my Department’s National Monuments Service, www.archaeology.ie.  State owned lands are generally open to the public.  Access to private lands is a matter for the owners or managers.

My Department, in consultation with the National Museum of Ireland, is currently drawing up an advice note for the public in relation to metal detecting. I expect the advice note to be available shortly.