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Bill to modernise heritage law is published

18 Jan 2023 / legislation Print

Bill to modernise heritage law is published

The Government has published a bill aimed at modernising the legislation governing national monuments and heritage sites.

The bill will provide for a single integrated licensing system, and statutory codes of practice, while it will also confer legal protections on new finds of archaeological sites.

The Historic and Archaeological Heritage Bill 2023 will replace the National Monuments Act 1930, and subsequent amending acts.

‘Major milestone’

Malcolm Noonan (Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, small picture) described the publication of the bill as “ a major milestone in making Ireland’s historic heritage protections fit for the 21st century”.

He added that the work involved in revising and updating the 1930 act had been “substantial”.

The bill proposes that a civil-enforcement system be used as an alternative to, or to supplement, criminal proceedings.

New register

It also allows the State to ratify some key international conventions in the area of heritage protection, should the Government decide to do so.

A new Register of Monuments will replace several designation and registration systems under the existing legislation. The register will be an electronic database, and will be “easily accessible” to members of the public.

The bill also provides for the State’s right of ownership of archaeological objects with no known owner.

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