Dáil Éireann - Volume 539 - 26 June, 2001

Written Answers. - National Monuments.

346. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands the reason she has failed to respond to representations made on behalf of Athboy Heritage Forum concerning the condition of the historical Hill of Ward; if she will allocate funds for important works to be carried out on the site; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18851/01]

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands (Miss de Valera): I hope the Deputy will appreciate that a large volume of representations is received in my office annually and that every effort is made to issue replies as promptly as possible. While I understand that a reply has now been forwarded to the Deputy, I very much regret the delay in replying to his representations in this case.

As the Deputy may be aware, this archaeological site is not in State ownership, but it is in State guardianship since March 1885 and is therefore afforded legal protection in accordance with the National Monuments Acts, 1930 to 1994.

The Hill of Ward archaeological site is a large earthwork enclosure and does not readily lend itself to development as a tourist attraction. Such a development in the long-term requires provision of infrastructure, roads, public access, toilets, etc., which may conflict with the protection of the site.

The Government has made provision for the built heritage in the national development plan by providing funding in excess of £100 million for the built heritage sector. Particular emphasis is [372] being placed on the conservation of heritage during the period 2000 to 2006 with the capital programme giving priority to conservation and protection. This site has not been included in the current NDP.

Questions Nos. 347 and 348 answered with Question No. 338.