FIE's investigation into the levelling of two ringforts in north Cork this summer led to the discovery that no one has ever been successfully prosecuted for damaging or destroying an ancient site in Ireland.

This is because a loophole in the law which means that over 126,000 ancient sites in Ireland have no protection because their owners have not been told they are there.

According to the independent Heritage Council, by 2001 the result was the destruction of more than a third of these sites in the previous quarter-century. They estimated the rate of destruction had reached 10% a decade. Five years later, Teacasc, the farm advisory body reported that enlargement in farms required to maintain international competitiveness has made the coming decade ‘a high risk period for Ireland's archaeological heritage.'

According to Professor William O'Brien, Professor of Archaeology at UCC and Chairman of the Royal Irish Academy's Archaeological Committee, ‘Until all landowners have been legally notified of the presence of registered archaeological sites on their land, it is not possible to have effective protection of these sites.'

Read FIE's submissions to the Minister for the Environment, UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, and the European Commission . And see the Daily Mail's story ...

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