Early Christian stones removed illegally from Ireland to the USA are handed back to the Irish State.

The burial stones were originally removed from a 9th century monastic site on Inchcleraun Island on Lough Ree on the Shannon in the 1970s and 1980s by a Roscommon man and then shipped to the United States. 

According to the National Museum and the Office of Public Works these burial stones from the 9th century are priceless.

The collection of stones was at the centre of an FBI sting in April 1990 after a complex surveillance operation. The smuggling of Irish archaeological artefacts is treated seriously by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Irish man Peter Kenny is in prison in Boston as a result of the offence. He was arrested following an attempt to sell the stones to Boston College with an original asking price of five million pounds.

Special FBI agent Ed Clarke outlines the undercover operation where he posed as a Boston College benefactor to retrieve the stones.

The Minister of State Vincent Brady receives the stones during the handover by US officials at Shannon Airport. The plan now is to put the stones on public display. 

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 17 August 1991. The reporter is Michael Lally.