Irish Georgian Society

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The vision of the Irish Georgian Society is to conserve, protect and foster a keen interest and a respect for Ireland’s architectural heritage and decorative arts. These aims are achieved through its scholarly and conservation education programmes, through its support of conservation projects and planning issues, and vitally, through its members and their activities.

Re: Loss of Minister for Heritage in New Government

20.05.2016

Posted by IGS

Dear Taoiseach,

I am writing to you to express the Irish Georgian Society’s severe disappointment and considerable concern regarding the loss of the Minister for Heritage through the renaming of the former Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to the Department of Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht. I understand that Minister Humphreys has stated that she still holds the portfolio for Heritage but the fact that it is not part of the Minister’s official title seems an unfortunate oversight.

Ireland’s national identity is defined by a very rich and complex cultural heritage encompassing a wide variety of diverse constituent parts. For its small size, Ireland’s cultural heritage has made and continues to make a disproportionately large global impact. Heritage also makes a significant impact at home - heritage and Ireland’s historic environment is estimated to account for €1.5 billion per annum or 1% of the State’s Gross Value Added (GVA) and some 2% of overall employment.

While the arts form a key facet of Ireland’s culture, under no circumstances could Ireland’s cultural heritage said to be limited to “the Arts”. Failure to recognise this at Government level shows a fundamental lack of understanding of how the wider cultural heritage actually contributes to the Irish economy, but also gives a troubling insight into how the management and conservation of heritage for the Irish people and future generations is given no weight.

Our shared heritage shapes us as individuals, as communities and as a Nation. It is the duty of the State to lead in the protection of this heritage for future generations, and the removal of the word “Heritage” from the name of the Department sends a clear message that this is not considered important. Therefore, on behalf of the Irish Georgian Society, I respectfully urge you to re-instate the Ministry for Heritage.

Yours sincerely,

Sir David Davies
President, Irish Georgian Society