HC Deb 23 February 1903 vol 118 cc484-5
MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether any excavations are now going on upon the Hill of Tara in Ireland; whether the Hill, or part of it, is now being offered for sale; and whether His Majesty's Government, having regard to the historical and archaeological interest of the Hill of Tara, will endeavour to have it brought within the operation of the Ancient Monuments Act, or to take such other steps as may be within their power to prevent the mounds and other characteristic features of the surface from being obliterated.

(Answered by Mr. Wyndham.) I am informed that excavations have not been resumed at Tara. The tenant's interest in that portion of the Hill where excavations formerly took place has recently been sold. The landlord's interest has not been sold. The monuments on the Hill are at present within the operation of the Ancient Monuments Act of 1882, to this extent, that the Commissioners of Public Works have power to proceed against any person, other than the owner, who injures or defaces the mounds. To restrain the owner, the guardianship of the mounds should be vested in the Commissioners. The owner has declined to take this step, and there is no power to compel him to do so. The Commissioners are watching this matter very closely, and will use every means in their power to strengthen the popular forces at work in order to prevent any resumption of excavation.