Dáil Éireann - Volume 400 - 19 June, 1990

Ceisteanna-Questions. Oral Answers. - Belt Shrine.

10. Mr. Nealon asked the Taoiseach if he will make arrangements for the National Museum to exhibit the Moylough Belt in Moylough new school, Tubbercurry, County Sligo on the occasion of the official opening of the school in September 1990, in view of the fact that the belt was found in the nearby bog and in view of the great significance of the day of the opening of a new school in the history of the community.

The Taoiseach: This is not possible as the object is part of the exhibition “Work of Angels” in the National Museum until September and thereafter in Edinburgh until the end of January, 1991. I have asked the Director of the National Museum to explore the possibility with Sligo Corporation and county council of displaying the Belt Shrine under suitable conditions in Sligo at a later date.

Mr. Nealon: It was possible to arrange to take the Derrynaflan Chalice to Malahide Castle and that is one of the objects in the exhibition, “Work of Angels”. The Taoiseach will be aware that the Moylough Belt, one of the great [18] treasures in that exhibition, was discovered beside the new school in Moylough and it was given to the museum without any demand for exorbitant compensation.I suggest to him that it would be a nice gesture to those people to make it available to them for display in the school for one day, just as he considered it a nice gesture to display the Derrynaflan Chalice in Malahide Castle. I do not think the absence of the Moylough Belt would interrupt the exhibition.

The Taoiseach: The Deputy might settle for my undertaking to talk to the Director about making it available at a later date. I would not particularly object to one departure in a matter of this kind, but, on the other hand, if we start that sort of thing we would have to throw our hat at mounting serious exhibitions in the future because there will always be somebody who will look for a special exception.

Mr. McCartan: The Taoiseach started it.

The Taoiseach: I will certainly recommend to the director that he should favourably consider making the Belt Shrine available on some future occasion.

Mr. Nealon: I should like to thank the Taoiseach for his promise. Will the Taoiseach agree that he could encourage people who discover such treasures to give them to the museum without seeking exorbitant compensation by returning the Moylough Belt for one day on the occasion of the opening of the new school? The Taoiseach will be aware that such an occasion is of enormous historical importance.

The Taoiseach: It may be that we will find some other equally suitable appropriate day to exhibit in the school as soon as possible.

Questions Nos. 11 and 12 postponed.