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Who's Who in Heritage? - National Context

 Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht Logo


Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht:


The Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht oversees and has policy responsibility for the conservation, preservation, protection, development and presentation of Ireland’s heritage and culture. The Department also seeks to promote the Irish language, to support the Gaeltacht and to assist the sustainable development of island communities. The key functions under its remit include:
(i) arts, culture, film and music as well as oversight of Ireland’s cultural institutions;
(ii) Ireland’s built and natural heritage;
(iii) the Irish language, the Gaeltacht and the islands; and
(iv) North/South co-operation insofar as it relates to Waterways Ireland, An Foras Teanga and the wider functions of the Department.



National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH)


The work of the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH), Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, involves identifying and recording the architectural heritage of Ireland, from 1700 to the present day, in a systematic and consistent manner. Its main functions are to:
(i) provide a source of guidance for the selection of structures for protection;
(ii) supply data to local authorities, which helps them to make informed judgments on the significance of building stock in their functional area; and
(iii) foster greater public awareness and appreciation of Ireland's architectural heritage. 



National Monuments Service (NMS)


The National Monuments Service (NMS), Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, is responsible for:
(i) archaeological issues arising at National Monuments in state care;
(ii) carrying out surveys of known sites and where sites are thought to be located, and to compile inventories of sites and monuments; 
(iii) implementing the legislation in relation to the protection of monuments and sites, including historic wrecks and underwater archaeological sites;
(iv) regulating archaeological excavations, use of detection devices for archaeological purposes and diving on historic wrecks and underwater archaeological sites;
(v) providing advice to planning authorities on development proposals (development plans, heritage plans and individual planning applications) that may have implications for the archaeological heritage;  
(vi) providing advice to individuals and local groups on archaeological issues; and 
(vii) the identification and designation of sites through the Archaeological Survey of Ireland.



National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS)


The National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, manages the IrishState's nature conservation responsibilities under National and European law. The role of the National Parks & Wildlife Service is to: (i) secure the conservation of a representative range of ecosystems and maintain and enhance populations of flora and fauna in Ireland;
(ii) implement the EU Habitats and Birds Directives;
(iii) designate and advise on the protection of Natural Heritage Areas (NHA) having particular regard to the need to consult with interested parties;
(iv) make the necessary arrangements for the implementation of National and EU legislation and policies and for the ratification and implementation of the range of international conventions and agreements relating to the natural heritage; &
(v) manage, maintain and develop state-owned National Parks and Nature Reserves. 



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Office of Public Works (OPW)


The Office of Public Works is responsible for the day-to-day running of all National Monuments and Historic Properties. The Office of Public Works provides guide services, interpretive displays, publications and newsletters to assist with interpretation and education at the heritage sites they operate. The primary concern of the Office of Public Works is to protect and maintain Ireland’s heritage for future generations.



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The Heritage Council


The Heritage Council was established as a statutory body under the Heritage Act 1995. The Heritage Council’s mission is to engage, educate and advocate to develop a wider understanding of the vital contribution that our heritage makes to our social, environmental and economic well-being. The Heritage Council's priorities are to support jobs, education and heritage tourism in local communities. Its role is to propose policies and priorities for the identification, protection, preservation and enhancement of the national heritage. Under the Heritage Act (1995), national heritage is defined as comprising archaeological objects, architectural heritage, fauna, flora, geology, heritage gardens & parks, heritage objects, inland waterways, landscapes, monuments, seascapes, wildlife habitats and wrecks. The Heritage Council has a particular responsibility to promote interest, education, knowledge and pride in the national heritage.



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An Taisce


An Taisce is the National Trust For Ireland and was established in 1948. Its policies reflect the belief that a high quality environment is central to Ireland achieving a successful and sustainable economy, as well as a high quality of life. This is based on the view that prevention is better than cure, partnership and dialogue are better than conflict and monologue, and strategic planning surpasses reactive expediency. An Taisce is an independent monitoring consultee and an advocate for environmental and heritage protection.



 Irish Heritage Trust Logo

Irish Heritage Trust


Founded in 2006, the Irish Heritage Trust is a charity that was created to care for historic properties, houses and gardens throughout Ireland. Its mandate is to acquire properties of significant heritage value at risk and provide for their proper conservation, maintenance, and presentation and public access to them in perpetuity. It recognises that these heritage resources bring benefits to their local communities through tourism, employment or simply by providing a place for pleasure and relaxation. In December 2007, it acquired its first property, Fota House in County Cork.



 An Garda Síochána Logo

An Garda Síochána


An Garda Síochána is the national police service of Ireland.  The mission of An Garda Síochána is 'working with communities to protect and serve'.  An Garda Síochána has statutory powers to enforce all heritage legislation.


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Dúchas: The Heritage Service


Although Dúchas no longer exists as a separate entity, the term is still used/misused to refer to the government department responsible for the preservation and protection of the natural, built and cultural heritage. Dúchas was broken up following government reorganisation after the general election in 2002. Most of the functions of Dúchas are now performed by the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht but some functions have reverted to the Office of Public Works.



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