Thursday, 2 December 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
45. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the land surrounding the Neolithic cairn (details supplied) was advertised for sale on the open market earlier in 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59582/21]
46. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the steps the National Parks and Wildlife Service made to purchase land (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59583/21]
47. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the proposals the National Parks and Wildlife Service has to ensure public access to the cairn at a location (details supplied) which is a national monument; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59584/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 45, 46 and 47 together.
My Department, working with the Office of Public Works (OPW), and in partnership with the Local Authority, made a bid earlier this year for the purchase of a folio of land at Carns that included a passage tomb dating to the Neolithic period. The monument is protected under the National Monuments Acts as a Recorded Monument but it is not a national monument in State care. The bid was based on a valuation by OPW and on an archaeological and operational assessment that the monument would be an excellent addition to the portfolio of monuments in state care in Sligo, adding to the ensemble of Neolithic passage tombs, many of which are already in State care, and which characterise the Sligo landscape. Unfortunately, the vendor chose to not accept the bid put forward at the time. The monument is on private land and there is no public right of way to it.
Sligo's numerous passage tombs are a remarkable asset, with a deep interconnection with the surrounding landscape. I recently endorsed the recommendations from an Expert Advisory Group (EAG) appointed by me last June to review applications to become part of a new Tentative List of potential World Heritage Properties for Ireland. The EAG has recommended that the 'Passage Tombs of Sligo' be placed on this new Tentative List. The list is an inventory of properties which have potential to demonstrate Outstanding Universal Value and therefore considered suitable for nomination to the World Heritage List in due course. My Department will be working closely with the local authority over the coming months to progress this application further. Additional information on the EAG's recommendations can be found here: www.gov.ie/en/press-release/71039-minister-endorses-recommendations-for-new-world-heritage-tentative-list/.