Written Answers. - Heritage Assets Register.

John McGuinness

Ceist:

417 Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht and the Islands if an asset register exists in Dúchas which gives the location, values and exact descriptions of artefacts, furniture and pictures in the ownership of the State; if a survey has been conducted within the past ten years; if managers of various sites are fully aware of the value of artefacts in their care; if items of extraordinary value or importance are highlighted; if photographic records exist to assist in the case of theft; if so, the locations thereof; if an asset register of all equipment owned and used by Dúchas is available at each depot; if these are audited on an annual basis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27913/01]

A fixed assets register is held centrally by my Department and includes assets held by Dúchas, the Heritage Service. The register is updated on a quarterly basis and audited annually by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

The register covers plant and machinery, including vehicles; office equipment and furniture and fittings. In the case of Dúchas this information is prepared at local level and, as such, details of what equipment is held at each depot is available locally. However, assets such as artefacts, furniture and pictures in the ownership of the State are heritage assets and are not included in the assets register – as per item 4 of the Department of Finance Circular 1/95: Appropriation Accounts and Asset Registers.

With regard to artefacts etc., it has to be said that the majority of the sites in the care of my Department do not have original items which are of extraordinary value. Where items of such value are present site managers are aware of their importance and are responsible for local security. A record is held of what items are on display at each site and in some but not all cases photographic records also exist, these being held either in head office or at the sites themselves. These records are updated on a regular basis.
A number of national monument sites and depots would hold decorative stones which could be considered to be artefacts. A detailed inventory of all such stones held by my Department is under way.
I am satisfied that generally the records kept are of a high standard and that the systems are subject to ongoing review.