Joan McAlpine MSP, parliamentary candidate Richard Arkless and councillor Dougie Campbell have intervened in the controversy around the location of the Galloway Viking Hoard Treasure.
Their move comes as the Scottish Government offered to host talks on the future location of the collection, after the independent Queens and Lord Treasurer Remembrancer made National Museums Scotland its custodian.
The SNP politicians have called on Save the Galloway Hoard campaigners to be included in these talks on the collection's future and urged both the council and the national museum to respond positively to the minister's offer of talks.
Ms McAlpine spoke yesterday (Tuesday) to Fiona Hyslop MSP via telephone and proposed that the meeting should include campaigners who wish to save the Hoard for Galloway. The minister responded positively to this request.
Richard Arkless, currently campaigning for re-election as MP for Dumfries and Galloway has already backed the campaign for the retention of the treasure in a new gallery in Kirkcudbright.
Ms McAlpine wrote to Ms Hyslop several months ago asking her to intervene to ensure that a truly significant part of the hoard remain in Galloway as a major tourist attraction and Mr Arkless has written articles in the national press backing the Galloway Hoard campaign.
Ms McAlpine said:
“I recognise that government ministers don’t make the decisions on these types of finds – that was in the gift of an independent panel of experts.
“However, I’m really pleased that the Cabinet Secretary has offered to get everyone round the table to ensure that the campaign to keep the hoard in Galloway is successful. I suggested to her that should include representatives of the campaigners.
Mr Arkless added:
"National Museums Scotland have said that a "representative portion" of the artefacts could go on long-term display in Kirkcudbright.
“But this offer needs to be fleshed out – what is a significant portion? Which items will go to Kirkcudbright, and for how long?
“We really need something significant enough that the display in Kirkcudbright becomes a major tourist draw and also involves the community in their own cultural heritage."
Dougie Campbell, the new SNP councillor for Kirkcudbright, added:
“I am glad that the hoard has been “saved for the nation” – but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be displayed where it was found - in Galloway.
“It would benefit the whole of Dumfries and Galloway, not just Kirkcudbright.
“I hope these talks prove fruitful.”