Irish ministers launch new geological map

June 27, 2006

Belfast, 26 June 2006

Enterprise Minister, Maria Eagle, and her RoI counterpart, Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Noel Dempsey T.D., today launched a new bedrock geological map of the island of Ireland.

The new map is a comprehensive update of earlier maps which were first published in 1928.

Ms Eagle congratulated the Geological Survey of NI, (GSNI) and the Geological Survey of Ireland, (GSI) on producing such a comprehensive map and said: "It will be especially useful in identifying potential sites for geothermal renewable energy and areas suitable for gas storage. In addition, it will provide valuable information for use by engineers, planners, academics and other groups interested in the geological structure of this island."

Mr Dempsey said: "This new bedrock geological map of the country, which displays the remarkable variety of bedrock across the island of Ireland, will have a number of important uses for example in the planning and construction of infrastructure, identifying and protecting groundwater, acting as a guide for exploration of energy resources.

"This map marks an exciting milestone in the development of geological mapping in Ireland."

Recognising its uses, the Ministers noted that studies in a number of countries have indicated that the quantified benefits of geological mapping exceed their costs many times over, ranging up to 20-fold returns.

This map will also be important for raising awareness of geological and landscape issues in the local environment. In this regard, GSI recently produced a simplified geological map and accompanying booklet for the Leaving Certificate Geography Syllabus, while GSNI's guide to the geology of Northern Ireland, recently published as a new edition, remains a classic best seller of its type.

The map incorporates a considerable amount of new information extracted from more detailed maps produced by both Surveys and will also serve the needs of consulting engineers, planners, local authorities, and exploration, waste and water companies.

"This new map builds on the considerable cross-border co-operation and interaction between the two geological surveys and I am pleased that it represents the most modern and detailed summary of the geology of the island that can be depicted at this scale," said Mr Dempsey.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- The maps are now available from GSNI (bookshop) and also from GSI (bookshop).

- They will also be available through a number of bookshop outlets in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

- For additional information contact Ian Mitchell, GSNI (phone:028 9038 8462) or Andy Sleeman, GSI, (phone: 01 678 2862)

- Media enquiries to DETI Press Office, tel: 028 9052 9263

Northern Ireland Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment
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