While Ireland has an abundance of historically important monuments and sites, there is no official comprehensive list outlining location, description or what needs protection.

New legislation hopes to address this. Barbara FitzGerald speaks to Minister for State Avril Doyle about a new bill which plans to address this by carrying out a full archaeological survey of sites and monuments in Ireland. Minister Doyle says that without this legislation much of our heritage would have been under threat or destroyed by development. The survey has so far been completed in six counties. 

We must protect our built heritage and ensure that we hand it on to the next generation... We cannot be the generation that presided over the demise of historic monuments...

However, the Minister also says that there are occasions where development needs to take precedence over preservation.

The new legislation will also impact on treasure hunters using metal detectors, especially around areas of archaeological importance. Also covered under the legislation are wrecks around the Irish coastline which the Minister believes need protecting. 

The legislation however has come under some criticism as the fines imposed for breaking any of the new rules are deemed too "puny" to act as a real deterrent. 

A 'Morning Ireland' report broadcast on 28 May 1986.