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Sinn Féin opposes National Monuments (Amendment) Bill 2004

29 June, 2004

Speaking during report and final stages of the National Monuments (Amendment) Bill 2004 Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Arthur Morgan T.D. reiterated Sinn Féin's total opposition to the Bill which he argued would enable the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to "bring about the destruction of the Heritage of this State and its national monuments". Deputy Morgan put forward a number of amendments on behalf of Sinn Fein which sought to curb the damaging elements of the bill and in particular put forward one amendment to ensure that "Nothing in this Act shall cause the State to derogate from it's responsibility to preserve, protect and maintain to the highest possible standards the heritage of the state including it's national monuments."

Deputy Morgan said:

"What could be more important for any Minister responsible for heritage than protecting, preserving and maintaining our national monuments to the highest possible standard? Does the Bill seek to do that? Unfortunately it does not. On the contrary, it seeks to give the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, even a wayward Minister like the incumbent, sweeping powers. It gives the Minister the authority to tear down our national monuments if he so wishes.

"To its shame, the Government does not value our heritage or history. It has proven already that it will always side with the developers and not with the conservationists. This Bill has more to do with lobbying by the National Roads Authority than with trying to preserve our national heritage and monuments. The current Minister is the man who abolished Dúchas, the one organisation with responsibility for preserving these national monuments. If he has abolished that organisation how can we have any faith in his interest in preserving our heritage and monuments?"

Sinn Féin voted against the National Monuments (Amendment) Bill 2004 at Report and Final Stage. ENDS

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