Thursday, 17 April 2014

Questions (153)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

153. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the potential for the sensitive excavation of collected historical and heritage sites with a view to using such locations as a means to promote interest in Irish history and culture at home and abroad, with specific reference to generating interest in our culture through the education and tourism sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18421/14]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

Funds are allocated each year within my Department’s capital budget for archaeological works arising out of Office of Public Works projects at national monuments in State care. In 2014, €46,000 has been allocated towards these projects to progress them towards report and/or publication stage. The information and knowledge gleaned from such activities makes a significant contribution to our understanding of some of our most important monuments and provides a valuable resource for the professional and educational sectors. In that regard, my Department and the Office of Public Works, which operates visitor services at certain national monuments around the country, are in ongoing contact with a view to keeping visitor service guides informed of the results of the latest research relevant to their particular site.

My Department also provides funding towards grant support for archaeological excavations, which contributes to the generation of knowledge relating to our national heritage that can then be utilised for tourism-related purposes. The Irish National Strategic Archaeological Research Programme is an archaeological research grant, administered by the Heritage Council which was established in 2008 to address a bottleneck in the collation, refinement and dissemination of the vast archaeological resource which had emerged over the previous 5-10 years. A subvention is also made annually to the Royal Irish Academy for excavation research and post excavation research projects, mainly by archaeologists and academics. It produces some very important results for prime tourism locations with Knowth and Newgrange among the excavations funded in past years.

Question No. 154 answered with Question No. 147.