Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD, speaking at the Platform on the Future of Cultural Heritage
A chairde go léir,
When Commissioner Navracsics launched the European Year of Cultural Heritage in Ireland back in December 2017, he set out the key aims of the Year for us: it would encourage the sharing and appreciation of Europe’s cultural heritage; raise awareness of our common history and values; and involve our citizens in events that help to promote a sense of belonging to a common European space. Seeing all of you here today, committed to contributing to the future of cultural heritage in Europe, the achievement of those aims is evident.
Fáilte go mBaile Átha Cliath. Welcome to Dublin. I am delighted that the European Commission selected Dublin to host the first of its global problem solving platforms on addressing the innovative aspects of heritage policies. Today has been an opportunity to listen, to discuss, to make friends and collaborate with colleagues, but most of all to recognise the importance of engagement with Europe’s cultural heritage and to foster a sense of belonging to a common European space, as well as explore possibilities for the development of concrete measures that can stimulate innovation in the sphere of cultural heritage. I commend you all for taking this wonderful opportunity to make a real difference to people and communities across Europe.
Now more than ever, acknowledging and building on our shared European heritage – and the connections it makes between us – is important to us all.
Cultural heritage is an integral part of the fabric of our lives. It surrounds us in the buildings of our towns and cities; our landscapes, natural sites, monuments and archaeological sites; our customs and traditions. It is made up of literature, art and objects and also by the crafts we learn, the stories we tell, the food we eat, the songs we sing and the films we watch. Cultural heritage brings communities together and builds understanding of the places we share.
The theme for the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 here in Ireland was ‘Make a Connection’: our goal was to deepen the connection between people and heritage and build a legacy of increased public engagement.
This has continued with my Department’s recent consultations on our forthcoming national heritage plan, Heritage 2030 – the variety and number of submissions that were received, as well at the attendance at workshops all over the country, is deeply encouraging and suggests that public engagement with heritage is ever-growing.
As an integral part of the legacy of the Year, we are working with our colleagues in other Member States and the EU institutions on a number of initiatives, including those identified in the European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage. As shown by our public consultation processes, we are also committed to incorporating and supporting the Framework’s goals of evidence-based policymaking and multi-stakeholder cooperation in our public policy work.
However, cultural heritage is not the province of policymakers, but of the people as a whole. The European Year of Cultural Heritage was a great opportunity to promote and support our cultural heritage in its many forms, and for all of us to connect on a local, national and European level. In Ireland, our work on our existing programmes of action, such as the Creative Ireland Programme 2017-2022, an all-of-government initiative to mainstream culture and creativity in the heart of national policy, will also be essential in upholding and building on the legacy of the Year.
Finally, allow me to say that your work today – your commitment, your expertise, and your ideas – will be of great benefit going forward. The European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 was never an end in itself: rather, it was envisaged as a beginning.
As we say in Irish, Is tús maith leath na hoibre – a good beginning is half the work – and the feedback from today already shows that is has been a wonderful beginning.
Go raibh mile maith agaibh go léir.