The national monuments in State care already take in some one thousand sites at over 760 locations around the country. These command very considerable resource commitments in terms of both funding and personnel. Nevertheless, in the interests of preservation, conservation, management and presentation of the built and archaeological heritage, my Department acquires certain additional heritage properties and monuments from time to time as resources and opportunities permit. These properties may come onto the open market, may be bequeathed to the State or may be offered to it free of cost.
Lands surrounding or in proximity to national monuments or heritage properties in State care often reside in private ownership. In some cases, improved protection of, or access to, the monument or property may be achieved by the State acquiring such 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 monument referred to by the Deputy is a national monument in my guardianship as Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Day-to-day management and maintenance of the monument is undertaken by the Office of Public Works on behalf of, and in consultation with, my Department. It is fully protected under the provisions of the National Monuments Acts, 1930-2014, and any works at or in proximity to it require Ministerial Consent under Section 14 of the 1930 Act.
There are currently no proposals before my Department in relation to the acquisition of land in the vicinity of this national monument. The Department is aware though of certain issues relating to its protection and presentation and is in touch with the local authority and Office of Public Works in relation to them. As already referred to, the purchase of an adjacent or surrounding property is among the strategies that may come to be considered for ensuring the protection of a national monument. My Department is, however, only ever in a position to make a very limited number of such acquisitions and, for business reasons, does not publicly disclose its interest in advance of any purchase negotiations.