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13th August 2020 | Blog post

Minister of State for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan TD, on Heritage Week

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I am on a tour around Ireland this week, to visit projects related to National Heritage Week. Taking place from the 15th to 23rd of August, National Heritage Week is a celebration of Ireland’s natural, built and cultural heritage. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Heritage Council have taken a new approach this year and invited communities around the country to organise projects on the theme, ‘Heritage and Education: Learning from our Heritage’.

A lot of the projects under my care as Minister of State for Heritage are natural heritage and the work of the National Parks & Wildlife Service and National Monuments Service. This week I experienced some of Ireland’s most beautiful natural heritage and wildlife with a visit to the Burren in County Clare with Senator Roisin Garvey, County Limerick with Brian Leddin TD, and County Tipperary, where I helped release four White-tailed Eagles back into the wild.

Next week I’m looking forward to a visit with the Irish Peatland Conservation Council, whose work I’ve been a big fan of for many years, and to meeting our heritage officers around the country. My own background is in community heritage work and I believe the heritage officer program has been hugely successful in promoting awareness and appreciation of heritage within communities. An huge number of passionate people are working on behalf of the state and at community level to protect and serve our natural and built heritage, and I’m really impressed by what I’ve been seeing. National Heritage Week has been one of the great success stories of that appreciation of heritage.

I was delighted to secure €8.5 million in funding for heritage in the July Stimulus package, a record increase in our budget. The funding will not only see the Community Grant being restored to the Heritage Council but go towards protecting our nature reserves and national parks. These natural resources have proved more vital than ever in recent months, as Covid-19 restrictions saw the people of Ireland rediscover their local landscapes. As we approach budget time, I will work with our officials to increase the heritage budget overall, with incremental increases over the next number of years. Ireland’s new national heritage plan, Heritage Ireland 2030 is planned to launch in October and will provide a framework of the values, principles, strategic priorities for the heritage sector over the next decade.

Malcolm Noonan
Minister of State for Heritage