Written answers

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

World Heritage Sites

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry, Fine Gael)
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251. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the up-to-date position in relation to the joint application by Ireland and Canada for UNESCO World Heritage status in respect of the transatlantic cable project between Valentia Island and Hearts Content, Newfoundland; if he will provide the latest anticipated timelines for the progression of the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31815/22]

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 six applications for inclusion on a new Tentative List by the deadline of 30 June 2021, including the Trans-Atlantic Cable Ensemble: Valentia, County Kerry-Heart's Content, Newfoundland, Canada.

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 subsequently established a Technical Group of World Heritage experts to provide detailed advice and support to the applicants to address the issues raised in the EAG recommendations, and to offer further specific guidance in terms of the future management of a World Heritage Property. 

This support process has now concluded and I intend to make an announcement on the composition of a new Tentative List in July. It is important to note that the 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.

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