Wednesday, 6 November 2019
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Special Amenity Areas
56. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will report on conservation measures in the special amenity wilderness areas of the Howth peninsula; and if further consideration is being given to designating this unique landscape and topography as a national park. [45359/19]
With regard to my Department's function and remit, there is no such designation as a Special Amenity Wilderness Area. However, I understand that in 1999 the local authority, as part of the Planning and Development Act, designated Howth peninsula a “special amenity area”. Accordingly, the Deputy would need to refer this part of his question to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.
Nevertheless, the area the Deputy refers to is designated as both a Special Area of Conservation and a Special Protection Area (Howth Head SAC and Howth Head Coast SPA) and as such is afforded statutory protections in respect of developments within the designated areas in line with all such conservation areas nationally.
As previously outlined to the Deputy in my response to his parliamentary question no 8549/19 earlier this year, my Department has no plans to create a national park in the wilderness area of Howth. As I already indicated, all Irish National Parks are fully state owned and meet category II of the IUCN standard for national parks. There is a minimum size associated with such designations and it is unlikely that this area would qualify.