I propose to take Questions Nos. 44 and 48 together.
Our heritage is a priceless and irreplaceable national asset that belongs to all of us. We want everyone to be able to enjoy this heritage, to have a sense of pride in it and to keep it safe for the future. The four-month public consultation process that I announced on 1 November 2018 is a critical phase in the development of Heritage Ireland 2030, the new national heritage plan for Ireland. The consultation is open until the end of February 2019. The public consultation is designed to afford plenty of opportunity for everyone to have their say.
There are four means whereby people can participate. The first is to go to the Heritage Ireland 2030 section on my Department's website and complete the online survey. People can send a written submission by post to Heritage Ireland 2030 at the Department. People can email email@example.com. People can participate in local or regional events throughout the country. There will be a series of regional workshops in the coming weeks, the first of which will be in Dublin on 29 January. As more details and dates are confirmed for these regional workshops they will be published on my Department's website.
I anticipate that many people will be most interested in the events in their local area. I acknowledge the contribution of the county heritage officers in arranging these events. To find out about Heritage Ireland 2030 public events in their own county, individuals should contact the heritage officer in their local authority. A list of heritage officers is available on the Heritage Council website, www.heritagecouncil.ie. I am aware that a small number of local authorities do not have a heritage officer. My Department will work with these local authorities and the Heritage Council to ensure that all counties are catered for and have a public event for people to attend. People may also contact my Department directly or make a submission through any of the channels I have already mentioned.
Our vision for heritage is a simple one: that heritage will be valued and protected. Heritage Ireland 2030 is built around the vision that the way in which we identify and protect our heritage is the best it can be. I am very grateful to all the key stakeholders who engaged with us in shaping the public consultation strategy for Heritage Ireland 2030. I would encourage everyone to avail of this unique opportunity to rethink how we care for our habitats, landscapes, wildlife, historic buildings and monuments so they can be celebrated and enjoyed long into the future.
Longford and Westmeath are in Ireland's hidden heartlands and are home to our majestic Shannon, a shimmering lakescape, rolling pastoral landscapes, wild peatlands and villages and towns with built heritage that is lovingly preserved. Together and separately these counties provide a heritage centre of gravity for the entire country and island. Their contribution to this strategy is essential. Limerick includes the "Treaty City", one of contrasts where the contemporary embraces a past of heritage treasures, and a county that remains guardian of a rich medieval and monastic history. A strategy uninformed by what Limerick has to offer is irretrievably impoverished.
The public consultation on Westmeath will be discussed at the Westmeath heritage forum in Westmeath County Council on 26 January. Deputy Burke might be interested in that. There will also be a public drop-in event at Athlone library on 31 January where those concerned can hear about the plan and get advice on preparing a submission. If anyone would like further information, the contact person is Ms Melanie McQuade of Westmeath County Council.