A Newry man said to be well known to the National Museum for his metal detecting activities has been fined £500 after Drogheda District Court...
A Newry man said to be well known to the National Museum for his metal detecting activities has been fined £500 after Drogheda District Court heard that he had been found using a metal detector on Gormanston beach in Co. Meath on July 10 last.
Mathew Byrne, the Glen, Newry was charged under the National Monuments Amendments Act 1987 which forbids the use of metal detectors in designated areas without a permit from the Office of Public Works.
The defendant had been arrested by Garda Eamon Mularkey within 100 yards of an ancient passage grave.
The court heard that the Garda had seized the metal detector after the defendant had admitted to him that he did not have a permit for its use.
‘I made enquiries from the national Museum and was told that the defendant was well known to them for his metal detecting activities’ the Garda said.
Solicitor Joe Thomas told the court that although the Tara Brooch had been found at nearby Bettystown his client was unaware that he had been in a designated area.
‘Mr. Byrne is a plasterer by occupation and had been on holiday in Mosney at the time. Metal detecting is his hobby and he looks for coins and things people lose. It was not his intention to cause trouble’, Mr. Thomas said.
The court heard that the maximum fine under the act is £1,000 and Judge Brennan imposed a fine of £500. He made an order restoring the metal detector to the defendant after Mr. Byrne gave an undertaking under oath to remove the device from the jurisdiction of the State and not to use it again without the proper authorisation.
At the same court John Murphy, Woodview, Navan who had been found using a metal detector at Mornington last year succeeded in having his metal detector returned to him. Garda Eamon Mularkey to,d the court that Mr. Murphy was not known to the authorities and there was no objection to the return of the device to hium. Judge Brennan made an order restoring the detector to him after Mr. Murphy gave the court an undertaking that he would not use the device in future without authorisation.