Independent Clare T.D. Michael McNamara says a decision on the inclusion of the Cultural Landscape of the Burren Uplands and Holy Island (Inis Cealtra) on a new Tentative List of potential World Heritage Properties for Ireland will be made next month.
Responding to Deputy McNamara’s Parliamentary Question on the matter, Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien said the assessment process is concluding and that he intends to make an announcement on the composition of a new Tentative List during July.
The applications include the two Clare sites, the Passage Tomb Landscape of County Sligo, the Transatlantic Cable Ensemble (Valentia & Newfoundland), Glendalough Valley (Wicklow) and the Royal Sites of Ireland (Dún Ailinne, Hill of Uisneach, Cashel, Rathcroghan Complex, Tara Complex, and Navan Fort).
“The Minister has informed me that only those sites whose applications clearly demonstrate potential Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), and which have addressed long-term issues of management and conservation will be included on the new Tentative List,” stated Deputy McNamara.
Ireland has just two designated UNESCO World Heritage sites (Brú na Bóinne and Sceilg Mhichíl) compared to Spain (48), Germany (47), France (45), Mexico (35), UK (32) and the USA (24) and 896 other sites in 160 countries.
According to Deputy McNamara, “Given the increase in tourism typically generated by World Heritage site designation, and the challenges that face the domestic tourism sector since it reopened, every effort must be made to advance built and natural heritage sites across Ireland to the World Heritage list. It is reassuring therefore, to hear from the Minister that his department has engaged intensively with all applicants over recent months and are grateful to all relevant local authorities for their contributions.”
“Studies show that most locations get a 30% increase in tourism numbers in the year following their designation as UNESCO world heritage sites, and I am sure this growth could be sustainably managed at Clare’s two sites. I look forward to outcome of the Department’s review next month,” he concluded.