27/10/2011 DEENIHAN OPENS CONFERENCE ON ROLE OF HERITAGE IN NATIONAL RENEWAL. NEW STUDY SUGGESTS IRELAND’S BUILT HERITAGE SUPPORTS OVER 30,000 JOBS
Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, today (27th October) gave the opening address to the Heritage Council Conference ‘Place as Resource – Heritage: Inspiring Innovation for Economic Growth’, at the Royal College of Physicians, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
The conference was also addressed by ten speakers who have expertise and experience in promoting heritage as a key ingredient in economic activity, including Dr Guido Licciardi of The World Bank.
The conference aim was to explore how heritage contributes to our identity and economy and how we sustainably use heritage resources to deliver employment, healthier lifestyles, sustainable tourism and creativity.
Speaking at the Conference, Minister Deenihan said “The conference theme Place as Resource – Heritage: Inspiring Innovation for Economic Growth not only asks us to see the inter-relationship between heritage-related activity and the economy – but to see this relationship in a new way and with a fresh vision. The theme correctly sees heritage and culture and all their related activities playing a more central role in economic recovery.”
The conference is one strand of a Heritage Council initiative to carry out an economic evaluation of the historic environment with the aim of describing and quantifying the full economic, social and community value of Ireland’s historic environment. The overall initiative, known as The Economic Value of Ireland’s Historic Environment project, has been overseen by a Steering Group chaired by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
Another key strand is a research study to establish a robust economic evidence base to provide a rationale for the provision of public (and private) sector funding in the historic environment. The research is being carried out by Ecorys UK and Fitzpatrick Associates, Ireland, and is due to be finalised by the end of next month.
The conference heard a presentation from ECORYS/Fitzpatrick Associates providing headline draft report findings from the research.
The headline findings of the study were:
1. Ireland’s historic environment/ built heritage supports more than 30,000 full time equivalent jobs in Ireland and contributes in excess of €1 billion annually to the economy; and
2. The central importance of Ireland’s historic environment to tourism, with one fifth of total visitor expenditure attributable to our historic environment.
Minister Deenihan welcomed the research, particularly its finding that Ireland’s heritage sector plays a key role within our society, economy and tourism industry.