Gardiner seeks assurance on finds

There’s been a call for a major archeological survey of the Waringstown area and any artefacts found should be kept locally.

Alderman Samuel Gardiner
Alderman Samuel Gardiner
Alderman Samuel Gardiner

That was the message from local MLA Sam Gardiner, who has received support from the Museums Minister.

Mr Gardiner said: “I asked the Museums Minister to outline her Department’s policy in relation to the housing and display of archaeological finds.

“She told me that the 2011 museums policy sets out a vision for the museum sector, which is to create a coordinated and sustainable sector that develops, preserves and interprets its collections to the highest possible standards.

“I went on to ask her if she would give an undertaking that, as a general rule, any archaeological finds should be housed and displayed as close as possible to where they were found and that doing that will disperse tourist attractions and jobs throughout Northern Ireland and not just confine them to Belfast?”

In her reply she said, “In principle, I support what the Member says: I do not believe that everything should be centralised in Belfast. That includes resources. For a venue to host such a treasure or find, it needs substantial investment. That needs to come from the people who hope to host such a treasure or find.”

He added: “I am currently asking for the Environment Minister to agree to an archaeological survey of the Waringstown area. There are a range of archaeological sites in the area and I want them properly excavated with any finds to be displayed locally.”