10/07/2012 Minister Deenihan Introduces Extra Protection for National Monuments

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Mr Jimmy Deenihan TD, today (Friday, 13 July 2012) announced that he has made regulations to give effect in Irish law to EU requirements for an environmental impact assessment to be carried out in relation to certain public and private sector projects involving demolition works affecting a national monument.

The European Union (Environmental Impact Assessment of Proposed Demolition of National Monuments) Regulations 2012 (S.I. No. 249 of 2012) amend the National Monuments Acts 1930 – 2004 which lay down the protection regime for Ireland’s archaeological and architectural heritage. The new regulations create an obligation for an environmental impact assessment to be undertaken where the Minister’s approval is sought under the National Monuments Acts for works that would result in the demolition of a national monument.

Commenting on the new regulations, the Minister said that he was pleased to introduce a further level of protection for Ireland’s built heritage.  In practice, the person or body wishing to carry out works covered by the new regulations will be required to submit an environmental impact statement to the Minister which the Minister will assess in accordance with the provisions of the EU Environmental Impact Assessment Directive before making his decision under the National Monuments Acts on whether or not the proposed works can proceed.

The Minister said that although the existing legislative protections had proven effective over the years, “the new regulations allow me, as Minister, to carry out an environmental impact assessment on all proposed demolition works in these cases  which will involve a level of transparency and public consultation that was not explicitly catered for in the existing decision-making process.”

The regulations are part of Ireland’s response to European Court judgment C50/09 on certain aspects of Ireland’s implementation of the provisions of the EU Environmental Impact Assessment Directive under Irish law.

The regulations are available on the website of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht www.chg.gov.ie.

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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