In the interests of the preservation, conservation, management and presentation of the built and archaeological heritage, my Department seeks to acquire certain heritage properties and monuments as resources and opportunities permit. As set out previously for the Deputy, from time to time these may come onto the open market, may be bequeathed to the State or may be offered to it free of cost. In addition, lands surrounding or in proximity to national monuments or heritage properties in State care (i.e. incorporating the setting of the monuments/properties) often reside in private ownership. In certain cases, improved protection of the monument/property, or access to the monument/property, would be possible if the State was to acquire such additional lands.
In all cases the Department examines the potential acquisition carefully, taking into account the conservation needs of the property and Value for Money principles.
The national monuments in State care already number some one thousand sites at over 760 locations around the country and these command considerable resource commitments in terms of both funding and personnel allocation. In addition, there are in excess of 120,000 monuments listed in the Record of Monuments and Places that are not maintained by the State. Recorded monuments are protected under Section 12 of the 1994 National Monuments (Amendment) Act and two months’ notice is required to be given to my Department in advance of works at, or in their vicinity.
The property at the location referred to by the Deputy contains a national monument in my ownership as Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The day-to-day care of the monument is undertaken by the Office of Public Works on behalf of, and in consultation with, my Department. The national monument is fully protected under the provisions of the National Monuments Acts, 1930-2014, and any works at or in its vicinity require Ministerial Consent under Section 14 of the 1930 Act. There are also a number of recorded monuments on the property in private ownership, which are also protected under national monuments legislation.
My Department, in cooperation with the Office of Public Works, is only in a position to acquire, maintain, conserve and present to the public a limited number of properties and monuments.
It is not deemed prudent to publicly disclose interest or not in potential future acquisitions.