Dáil Éireann - Volume 433 - 07 July, 1993
Written Answers. - Historical and Heritage Properties.
Mr. Connor Mr. Connor
24. Mr. Connor asked the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht his views on whether owners and custodians of historical/heritage properties and collections in this country are adequately supported; whether many items belonging to the national heritage are being lost or sold out of the country; and the steps, if any, he intends to take to stop this trend.
Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht (Mr. M. Higgins) Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht (Mr. M. Higgins)
Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht (Mr. M. Higgins): As part of its general responsibilities in this area, the National Heritage Council commissioned  and has received a report on the legislative provisions, especially the taxation provisions, designed to assist in the maintenance of and succession to heritage property. The report also raises related issues such as the loss or sale of heritage items out of the country. I am looking forward to receiving the council's views on this subject in due course.
Under existing Irish legislation, provision already exists for the licensing of archaeological objects under the National Monuments Acts, 1930, 1954 and 1987, and the Documents and Pictures (Regulation of Export) Act, 1945, and the full resources of the Garda Síochána are at the disposal of the authorities in the event of breaches of these provisions.
However, I do not accept that there is a significant problem relating to the loss or sale out of the country of heritage items.
In the context of the advent of the Internal Market of the European Community, I am naturally concerned to ensure that effective measures will be put in place to ensure that the national treasures of each member state — which together make up the Community's heritage — will be protected. My Department has participated fully in the articulation of two important Community instruments aimed at achieving this objective — a Council Regulation on the export of cultural goods from the customs territory of the EC, and a Council Directive concerning the return of cultural goods unlawfully removed from the territory of a member state. I am in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General regarding the transposition of these important Community instruments into Irish law.
Dáil Éireann 433 Written Answers. Historical and Heritage Properties.