Michael McNamara, Independent TD of Clare, said a decision regarding the inclusion of the Burren Uplands and Holy Island (Inis Cealtra) cultural landscape on a new Tentative List of potential World Heritage properties for the Ireland has been pushed back until June.
An announcement was due to be made this month, but in response to MP McNamara’s parliamentary question on the matter, Housing Minister; Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien said he had commissioned an Expert Advisory Group (EAG) to undertake a more in-depth technical assessment of the six listing nominations.
Nominations include the two sites in Clare, the Passage Tomb Landscape in County Sligo, the Transatlantic Cable Ensemble (Valentia and Newfoundland), Glendalough Valley (Wicklow) and the Royal Sites in Ireland (Dún Ailinne, Hill of Uisneach, Cashel, Rathcroghan Complex, Tara Complex and Navan Fort).
“The Department has informed me that only Sligo’s nomination has sufficiently demonstrated Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), which is key in the UNESCO World Heritage requirements for determining which sites should be included on the Tentative List”, explained Deputy McNamara.
He continued, “The EAG determined that there was more work to be done by the other candidates to see if they could sufficiently demonstrate OUV. In addition, the EAG also considered that all the implications of being a World Heritage property in terms of long-term management, protection and conservation, as well as the capacity building and resources needed to advance any future World Heritage nomination dossier required further consideration by all applicants. .”
The Clare TD said the potential benefits of either or both Clare sites receiving UNESCO World Heritage Site designation would have a significant positive impact on tourism in the county, particularly given the difficult environment in which the sector now operated.
“World Heritage properties are cultural and/or natural heritage sites designated by UNESCO as having outstanding universal value for humanity,” he said.
“Ireland currently has two properties on the UNESCO World Heritage List – Brú na Bóinne and Sceilg Mhichíl – both of which were inscribed in the 1990s. Studies show that most sites are seeing an increase of 30 % of tourist numbers within a year of being designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and I’m sure this growth could be sustainably managed at both sites in Clare. departmental review in June,” added Deputy McNamara.
In a written response to Deputy Minister McNamara, Minister O’Brien said, “Given the issues raised by the EAG and after further engaging with all applicants over the past few weeks, my department has convened the EAG again to offer more detailed technical advice and support to all applicants, so that they can attempt to resolve issues raised under the EAG’s recommendations, and to offer advice and guidance additional specificities in terms of the future management of a World Heritage property.
He continued: “I anticipate that this current support process will be concluded around June 2022, and I would intend to make an announcement then on the composition of a new Tentative List. It is important to remember that only sites whose nominations – at the end of this new phase of commitment of support – clearly demonstrate Outstanding Universal Value will be included in the new Tentative List. If, at the end of this current process, there are nominations that still require further work to determine eligibility in terms of Outstanding Universal Value, we will continue to offer our support. »
“It should be emphasized that if a nomination does not demonstrate Outstanding Universal Value for the purposes of the UNESCO World Heritage process, this in no way diminishes the significance of the site in terms of heritage and significance for the communities that live there. care passionately about it; in such a case, we will continue to offer our support in every way possible so that this ambition for our marvelous heritage is recognized,” concluded Minister O’Brien.