As Minister, I am the owner or guardian under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2014 of some 1,000 national monuments, including historic graveyards, located at 760 sites around the country. In all these cases, the Office of Public Works has statutory responsibility for the care and maintenance of these national monuments. Local authorities are responsible under the National Monuments Acts for maintaining national monuments of which they are owners or guardians.
Under the provisions of the National Monuments Acts, my Department has established and maintains the Record of Monuments and Places, which affords legal protection to all recorded archaeological sites and monuments in the State, including historic graveyards. The majority of historic graveyards are in local authority ownership, while a smaller number would be in privately owned.
Funding for local heritage projects is available through the LEADER programme and eligible proposals may include the conservation and repair of church ruins, mausolea, graveyards and graveyard boundary walls. My Department’s National Monuments Service has produced a guidance document “The Care and Conservation of Graveyards” which would be of assistance to community groups engaged in the type of project envisaged by the Deputy.
It would also be important to note that anyone proposing works to, at, or in the vicinity of a monument included in the Record of Monument and Places must give my Department two months prior notice of the works.