A New Vision for the Heritage Council

The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan, T.D. have launched the Heritage Council’s new Strategic Plan, Heritage at the Heart 2018-2022. The aim of the strategic plan is to engage with issues relevant to Ireland in 2018-2022, and to bolster the heritage sector so that it is better able to deal with contemporary challenges.

The Heritage Council’s drive for the next five years will be to bring heritage to the heart of Irish society and decision making. Put simply, to make heritage count!

Speaking about the new Strategic Plan, Minister Madigan said: “The Heritage Council consulted widely in developing ‘Heritage at the Heart’, and the plan has been shaped and enriched by the variety of submissions received. This partnership approach is a recipe for success in bringing the economic, social and environmental benefits of caring for our heritage to old and new communities.

In keeping with the theme of partnership, my Department welcomed the Heritage Council’s contribution to ‘Heritage Ireland 2030’, and its support for the newly-launched public consultation process. It will be an ambitious and forward-looking strategy that will value and protect our built and natural heritage for future generations.

While drafting Heritage at the Heart, the Heritage Council surveyed post primary students about their priorities for heritage in the next five years. The majority agreed that they would like to play a more active role in its preservation and promotion, especially within their local communities. This is reflected in Heritage at the Heart, which aims to expand the successful Heritage in Schools initiative for primary schools into second level. It also plans to create more opportunities for young people to participate in and lead heritage projects, ensuring an intrinsic appreciation and knowledge of heritage in our future generations.

Alert to contemporary issues, the Heritage Council also aims to respond to the challenges of Brexit and questions of identity where heritage has relevance and to assist in improving the housing situation by developing strategies with local authorities that deal with unused historic buildings.

Commenting on the new Plan, Michael Parsons, Chairman of the Heritage Council said: “Heritage is relevant to every aspect of life in Ireland and this new plan comes at an exciting but critical time. At local level, heritage drives economies, stimulates innovation and is a focal point for local pride and well-being. At national level, it remains a touchstone for identity. In order to ensure the continuing relevance of heritage in Irish society and economy, we must foster a coherent heritage sector that is resourced, trained, connected and capable of taking care of our heritage. This is our goal for the next five years.

Launched during the European Year of Cultural Heritage, Heritage at the Heart aims to reiterate the importance of managing and conserving our natural, built and cultural heritage to enrich the lives of people now and in the future.

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