The new County Donegal Heritage Plan has been placed on public review until Monday, June 5. The new strategic plan will cover the period from 2023 until 2030 and has been prepared by the County Donegal Heritage Office, Donegal County Council and the County Donegal Heritage Forum following a period of public submissions last year. As part of the three-week public review period, a draft of the new County Donegal Heritage Plan will be available to view on-line at www.donegalcoco.ie/heritage and five drop-in sessions across the county have been organised.
Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer, said, “the new County Heritage Plan highlights some of the challenges and opportunities that heritage faces over the next seven years. Issues such as the need for additional resources for heritage services, support for local communities in the management of heritage, raising awareness of heritage, promoting best conservation practices, commissioning research on aspects of heritage to inform decision-making and greater recognition for the intrinsic value of heritage were raised during the public consultation period.”
“It is estimated that 236 people provided input into the plan through a series of workshops, questionnaires and written submissions. The new Heritage Plan will direct heritage priorities, resources and funding for heritage in the county over the lifetime of the plan. The new plan addresses aspects of our natural heritage (such as wildlife, habitats, flora, fauna and geology), our built heritage (such as historic buildings, landscapes, parks and gardens shaped by human design), our archaeology (such as monuments, ancient objects and shipwrecks) and our cultural inheritance (such as skills, folklore, traditions and archives).”
The aim of the new Heritage Plan is to work together to manage, conserve, promote and celebrate our heritage responsibly, foster appreciation and communicate the values of our rich heritage to present and future generations. In order to achieve this aim, five strategic objectives have been set out:
- Improve resources for heritage services through an integrated approach to delivery.
- Engage and support communities in the [re]discovery and management of our heritage.
- Raise awareness and knowledge by communicating a better understanding of heritage.
- Provide advice and promote best practice.
- Commission research and gather heritage data.
The new plan also contains 45 strategic objectives that provide a further indication of heritage priorities over the lifetime of the plan.
A review of the existing plan has shown that over €1,061,000 was spent on the implementation of County Heritage Plan actions between 2014 and 2022 inclusive with 63% of this funding secured from external sources of funding, in particular from The Heritage Council. Of the 68 actions in the previous plan, it is estimated that three-quarters of the actions were delivered.
The Heritage Officer will be holding a series of public drop-in sessions on the new County Donegal Heritage Plan before the public review period closes. The drop-in sessions will take place in Bundoran Community Library & Donegal County Museum on Saturday, May 27; Twin Towns Library, Stranorlar on Tuesday, May 30; Leabharlann Phobail Ghaoth Dobhair on Wednesday, May 31 and Carndonagh Community Library on Thursday, June 1.
Following the public review period, the Heritage Forum will finalise the plan and present it to Donegal County Council for adoption at its meeting on Monday, July 24. The County Donegal Heritage Forum is a committee of Donegal County Council that provides advice on the preparation and implementation of the County Heritage Plan and is made up of representatives from local government, local development, state agencies, educational institutions, landowner/farming representatives, community/voluntary groups and heritage organisations and groups.
The new Heritage Plan will be designed and printed in July and August, and launched in late September or early October. An annual implementation plan will be drawn up and agreed by the Donegal Heritage Forum. Donegal County Council and The Heritage Council will provide core funding for the implementation of the plan. The County Donegal Heritage Forum will work with its constituent member organisations and sectors as well as external stakeholders to deliver an annual programme of actions that address the strategic objectives and goals in the County Donegal Heritage Plan.
Further details on the draft plan are available from the County Donegal Heritage Office, Donegal County Council, Station Island, Lifford on (074) 917 2576 or on the County Donegal Heritage Office website at www.donegalcoco.ie/heritage
Source: Donegal County Council