Bishop glad excavated remains to be reinterred


THE BISHOP of Meath, Dr Michael Smith, has welcomed news that human remains removed from the Scaruppa burial site near Enfield during road development works will be returned for reinterment.

Irish Timescolumnist Sarah Carey reported last week that the remains of 461 bodies dating from the fourth century until the early 1900s remained in the possession of the National Museum. She said they were excavated during work on the M4 motorway in 2002.

The director of the National Museum, Pat Wallace, said he would be "pleased" to return some of the remains to Meath once he received a report in the new year.

Speaking on Today with Pat Kennyon RTÉ Radio 1, he said the remains had been examined carefully. "We're not talking about bodies here, we are talking about skeletons."

The site included a cillin, which is a burial ground for stillborn and unbaptised babies. Mr Wallace confirmed all remains from the cillin would be returned. This was not a reversal of policy, he said.

Mr Wallace said the National Museum had a good policy on such matters which was outlined on its website. "The good guys are in the National Museum and have been in terms of the whole custody and protection of our national heritage during the whole kind of scurry to develop the roads of Ireland," he said. "We do have to retain some bones. There's no question of reinterring everything willy-nilly. It's a very serious business."

Bishop Smith said he would be delighted to receive the remains for reburial.