Archaeology: making the little people pay

 

Sir, – We in the National Leprechaun Museum plan to move to Mary’s Abbey, Dublin 7, and this involves a site archaeological assessment.

Here in Dublin, site owners pay for the archaeology and any costs that arise, but elsewhere in Europe cities levy all developments to fund archaeology where it occurs. It seems reasonable that the costs should be shared.

Archaeology benefits the city as a whole and unexpected finds, which may have commercial implications, may be more likely reported if there was a tangible safety net.

The current argot of “polluter pays” regarding archaeology as a result of development belongs in the past. Words matter, and people should be encouraged not labelled.

Finally, should we discover them, we may be asked to publicly display, in situ, any mediaeval structures we unearth. This argument is much less persuasive while St Mary’s Abbey Chapter House, under the care of the State, remains closed to the public. – Yours etc,

TOM O’RAHILLY,

Director,

National Leprechaun

Museum,

Abbey Street Upper,

Dublin 1.