Written answers

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

World Heritage Sites

Photo of Michael McNamaraMichael McNamara (Clare, Independent)
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249. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government when his Department will confirm the successful applications for inclusion on the new tentative list of potential world heritage properties for Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31809/22]

Photo of Malcolm NoonanMalcolm Noonan (Carlow-Kilkenny, Green Party)
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In line with UNESCO advice that World Heritage Tentative Lists be reviewed at least every ten years, my Department launched a call for applications in January 2019 to update Ireland’s Tentative List of World Heritage Properties. The Tentative List is essentially an inventory of sites that demonstrate potential Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and which Ireland intends to nominate for inclusion on the World Heritage List. 

My Department received the following six applications for inclusion on a new Tentative List by the deadline of 30 June 2021, as follows: 

1. The Cultural Landscape of the Burren Uplands, County Clare;

2. Iniscealtra (Inis Cealtra / Inishcaltra / Holy Island), County Clare;

3. Trans-Atlantic Cable Ensemble: Valentia, County Kerry-Heart's Content, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada;

4. The Royal Sites of Ireland; 

5. The Passage Tomb Landscape of County Sligo; and 

6. Glendalough Valley, County Wicklow.

I established an independent Expert Advisory Group (EAG) to evaluate each of the applications based on their ability to demonstrate OUV, integrity, authenticity, long-term protection and management frameworks, and evidence of local stakeholder support - all critical components of a future nomination dossier. The recommendations of the EAG were issued to the applicants last November 2021.

My Department then established a Technical Group to provide detailed advice and support to the applicants in addressing issues raised in terms of the EAG recommendations, and to offer further specific guidance in terms of the future management of a World Heritage Property. We have engaged intensively with all applicants over recent months and are grateful to all relevant local authorities for their contributions. 

This support process is now concluding and I intend to make an announcement on the composition of a new Tentative List in July.  Only those sites whose applications clearly demonstrate potential OUV and which have addressed long-term issues of management and conservation will be included on the new Tentative List.  

It is envisaged that Ireland’s Tentative List process going forward will allow sites which demonstrate OUV and which have addressed those issues as mentioned above to be considered on a more regular basis for inclusion.  

It is important to note however that the subsequent nomination process can take up to a decade and it is UNESCO that will finally decide if a site demonstrates OUV and add it to the World Heritage List.  My Department is committed to providing support to applicants in relation to developing their nomination dossiers. 

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