There was welcome news in yesterday’s budget, when an additional €1 million in funding was allocated to the Heritage Council. The Heritage Council is a public body that aids local communities to take responsibility for and participate in the development and conservation of their heritage assets, both natural and cultural.
According to Michael Starrett, the Chief Executive of the Heritage Council, the extra resources would be devoted to expanding the Council’s regeneration programmes for rural towns and villages, as well as their programme for upland area partnerships throughout the country.
‘As well as beginning to re-invest in existing heritage networks, these additional resources will enable us to invest further in our Rural Towns and Villages programme to rejuvenate more of Ireland’s local communities. Our blueprint for doing this is the Irish Walled Towns Network, which we established in 2005, and which now includes 28 member towns on the island. Our approach is to work with local communities and to empower them through funding, training and guidance.‘
‘A further area where this additional resourcing can help is our plan to develop a series of Irish Uplands Partnerships based on the success of community initiatives we developed in the Wicklow Uplands, on Bere Island and in the Burren Region, and which involves bringing all the local stakeholders, including hill farmers, other residents and tourism and walking interests‘.