Consideration will have to be given in future to moving all of Kells's stone crosses, including the Market Cross, indoors to prevent further erosion and deterioration of their carved images, Kells Town Council was told last week.
The National Monuments Service (NMS) - which is attached to the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht - has opened the way to the town council to discuss a joint conservation plan for all the national monuments in the town.
The NMS has expressed its opposition to the idea that the Market Cross be transferred back to its original site at Cross Street, saying that it was not convinced its safety from traffic or vandalism could be secured there.
An NMS letter to the council suggested that even if a replica of the Market Cross was to be located at Cross Street, the street would first have to be pedestrianised to protect the monument. Councillors were told that, although the cross is in the ownership of the local authority, nothing could be done without the consent of the minister.
Area manager Kevin Stewart told council members there was no formal application at present to move the Market Cross. The executive had expected strong views from the monuments service and had decided to get its views before any action was taken on the future of the monument.
Cllr Oliver Sweeney said councillors had made a commitment to put the cross back to Cross Street. However, it had been brought to his attention that all the monuments in Kells had deteriorated. He said that when people looked at what Kells had in its heritage, the council should be seen to be doing something.