We thank van Staal & Winchester (2017) for their discussion of our paper (McConnell et al. 2015) and their concise summary of the evolution of the Popelogan–Victoria Arc, Tetagouche–Exploits Basin and Ganderian margin in the northern Appalachians. They make the case that we have failed to recognize the same tectonic elements and geological history in Ireland. They propose that we, in concluding there was no Exploits basin-equivalent in Ireland, have ‘an absence of evidence rather than evidence of absence’. We have documented a stratigraphical sequence that provides evidence of a 10 myr gap in volcanism at Bellewstown (...

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