Tuesday, 28 February 1978
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Bruton: and Mr. Donnellan asked the Minister for Education why he had no information for inclusion in his reply to Question No. 314 of 18 October 1977 as to the whereabouts of any of the objects found in 33 of the 45 licensed archaeological excavations covered in the question; the steps he has taken to obtain the information; if he has written to the archaeologists in charge of the excavations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Mr. Tunney: The excavations in question were carried out under licences granted by the Commissioners of Public Works. It has not been the practice to require information as to where objects not lodged in the National Museum are lodged. The question did not arise, accordingly, of writing to the archaeologists in charge of the excavations requesting such information.
Mr. Bruton: Would the Minister consider it desirable that objects of that sort should be lodged in the National Museum or that at least the National Museum should be aware of their whereabouts, given that some of them may be of considerable value?
Mr. Tunney: Already I have had discussions with the Director of the Museum and officers of my Department. I have indicated to them how unhappy I am about the present position and have requested that as soon as possible they will indicate to me how this unsatisfactory position which has obtained in respect of these operations can be remedied as quickly as possible.
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