Cllr McCarthy, Archaeology must be a priority on Events Centre site

Press release:

“I welcome the report of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht regarding the concerns over minding the archaeological layers beneath the Beamish and Crawford site. I have noted some of their concerns in the past in the Council Chamber and was told, that the Project “Helix” or partnership of Developer, City Council and Central Government were on top of the matter but that was it; I have heard nothing else until the Department’s serious concerns over the archaeological layers; so I am appalled at these revelations by the Department.

   I would like to say at the outset that the City Archaeologist is on top of her job and always is. But I can’t help but think through this serious intervention and revelation by the Department shows clearly that the archaeology is still not a major priority to be integrated into the events centre development. It would be an enormous missed opportunity if we cannot integrate the city’s history with a landmark events centre. I want the Events Centre built but not at the expense of destroying the city’s heritage for the sake of high rise student apartments. I don’t wish to a rerun of the 1970s Viking Wood Quay Dublin situation whereby the proper investigation and proper integration of the archaeology was sacrificed for the sake of an office block. The multitude of City Council archaeology reports on Cork’s medieval spine have showed us how much of Cork’s story lays underground in a great preserved condition in estuarine silt. Our archaeologists have been outstanding in their scholarship but this will be all for nothing if there is no strategy for archaeology integration at the Events Centre site. The test excavations in the Grand Parade City Carpark in the 2000s showed that the city walls, late Viking house foundations, and a multitude of objects have shown the rich archaeological layers beneath our city. We have seen many developments over the years, for example Kyrl’s Quay, in the 1990/ where the archaeology found such as the 60 metre town wall was not showcased as much as it could, and now lies as a 10 metre section locked up from the public now beneath the car park due to anti-social behaviour; there have been other factors of finance which have led to lack of integration as well as lack of vision by some developers towards the integration of the past into the future.