Following the change of Government in mid-2002 my Department now has responsibility for policy in respect of the built heritage and for policy and operational matters relating to the natural heritage. The operational and management functions in relation to the built heritage in State care have transferred to the Office of Public Works.
These organisational arrangements are designed to achieve the optimum use of the organisational resources available to the Government. They build on my Department's strengths in terms of regulation and policy development, particularly in the environmental area, and on the expertise and experience of the Office of Public Works in the areas of conservation and management of the State's property portfolio.
My Department has embraced fully its new responsibilities in relation to heritage and has already set out its key objectives and strategies for delivering on these new responsibilities which are outlined in some detail in its recently published revised Statement of Strategy 2003-2005, which is available in the Oireachtas Library.