The Government has approved the drafting of a bill aimed at modernising the legislation governing national monuments and heritage sites – some of which dates to the 19th century.
The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage says that revised general scheme of the Monuments and Archaeological Heritage Bill will repeal and replace the National Monuments Acts 1930 to 2014 and other related legislation.
The proposals include automatic legal protection for finds of archaeological sites, a system of civil enforcement to be used as an alternative to, or to supplement, criminal proceedings, and an appeal process for licence applications.
The bill will also provide for the State to ratify some key international conventions in heritage protection.
“The proposed modernisation of the existing National Monuments Acts is crucial to ensure the conservation and protection of monuments continues to be effective and innovative,” said Malcolm Noonan (Minister of State with responsibility for heritage).
The revised general scheme will now go to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage for pre-legislative scrutiny.