June 27, 2023
More accountability, harsher penalties, and a right to heritage: Sinn Féin submits over 100 amendments on Heritage Bill – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

(Leagan Gaeilge thíos)

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Gaeilge, Gaeltacht, Arts and Culture, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, has submitted 128 amendments to the Historic and Archaeological Heritage Bill 2023 which is due to begin Committee Stage at the Dáil Select Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage this week. 

The amendments are in the names of Aengus, Eoin Ó Broin TD, and Thomas Gould TD.

Teachta Ó Snodaigh, who previously chaired the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and currently has a Bill of his own before the Dáil to protect the 1916 Battle Site at Moore Street, said:

“Sinn Féin welcomes the opportunity to amend the Historic and Archaeological Heritage Bill. We have been waiting since 2009 for the changes to legislation recommended by the Expert Advisory Committee, and I commend the Minister of State for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan, for delivering the Bill where previous Ministers failed to make progress.

“While we are supportive of much of the framework set out under the Bill, concerns remain in particular around the lack of accountability and oversight proposed. We know all too well from experience, whether with regard to the M3 being built through the ancient Tara Skryne valley, or from what happened at Woodquay back in the 1980s, that the protection of our shared heritage cannot be left to the Minister of the day alone.

“That is why Sinn Féin is proposing to reconstitute the National Monuments Advisory Council and give it stronger powers to overturn a Minister’s decision, calling for an examination on the need for a specific Culture and Heritage Ombudsman, and demanding a stronger role under the legislation for the National Museum of Ireland in particular, and for the Heritage Council, An Taisce, the Joint Oireachtas Committee, and elected members of local authorities.

“No monument should be de-registered or destroyed solely at the whim of the Minister, and we are proposing a total ban on the destruction of archaeological objects and new powers for the State to intervene at auctions to acquire objects for the people.

“Sinn Féin’s amendments would protect outstanding historic landscapes as heritage for the first time, prohibit the continuation of works that damage or destroy a monument’s integrity – including within its surrounding context – or harm the environment, and would ensure the Minister has due regard for any Environmental Impact Assessment and to the Valletta Convention.

“Under the legislation as proposed, authorities “may” protect monuments. Our amendments would make that a requirement, and increase the maximum penalties for breaking the law to 7 years in prison and fines of up to €5 million per day. The proposed maximum fine of €50,000 a day won’t prove a disincentive for large corporations and developers, nor will the hands-off approach to enforcement that has seen only six prosecutions over the past ten years.

“We propose to expand on the definitions under the Bill in several ways, including to cover newly discovered burial grounds and sites of value to the community, with a mechanism by which members of the public can petition the Minister to register a specific monument.

“It should come as no surprise, given our commitment in successive alternative budgets to establishing a Culture Quarter at Moore Street, that Sinn Féin believes battle sites and locations that were central in the revolutionary period from 1916 to 1923 in particular be given automatic protection.

“Our amendments also include a greater role for local media, both print and radio, in alerting the public to notices under this Act, guidelines for land owners who have monuments in their care, and a commitment to decolonisation by obliging the State to both support the repatriation of heritage belonging to other countries and seek the return to Ireland of our heritage kept elsewhere as a result of colonial plunder and theft.

“At the root of our approach is a commitment to recognising a right to heritage, which Sinn Féin wishes to see enshrined in law to safeguard the inheritance of future generations, along with provisions ensuring access and equitable regional distribution of our ancient and cultural heritage. A Sinn Féin Government would take protecting our heritage seriously.”

Níos mó freagracht, píonóis níos déine, agus ceart oidhreachta: Os cionn 100 leasuithe curtha ag Sinn Féin ar an mBille Oidhreachta – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Tá urlabhraí Gaeilge, Gaeltachta, Ealaíon agus Cultúir Shinn Féin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, tar éis 128 leasuithe a chur ar Bhille na hOidhreachta Stairiúla agus Seandálaíochta 2023 atá ag teacht os comhair Céim an Choiste ag Roghchoiste Tithíochta, Rialtais Áitiúil agus Oidhreachta na Dála an tseachtain seo. 

Seasann na leasuithe in ainm Aenguis, Eoin Ó Broin TD, agus Thomas Gould TD.

Dúirt an Teachta Ó Snodaigh, a bhí ina Chathaoirleach tráth ar an gComhchoiste Oireachtais Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta, agus Bille aige féin os comhair na Dála chun Láithreán Cogaidh 1916 ar Shráid an Mhúraigh a chosaint:

“Fáiltíonn Sinn Féin roimh an deis Bille na hOidhreachta Stairiúla agus Seandálaíochta a leasú. Táimid ag fanacht ó 2009 do na hathruithe reachtúla a mhol an Coiste Comhairleach Saineolach, agus tréaslaím an tAire Stáit Oidhreachta Malcolm Noonan as an mBille a sheoladh áit ar theip ar Airí eile dul chun cinn a bhaint amach.

“Cé go dtacaíonn muid le cuid mhór den chreatlach leagtha amach faoin mBille, tá ábhar imní ann i gcónaí go háirithe maidir leis an easpa freagrachta agus maoirseachta molta. Tuigeann muid go maith ónár dtaithí, i gcás tógáil an M3 trí ghleann ársa Teamhair nó sa méid a thit amach ag Cé an Adhmaid sna 1980idí, nach féidir cosaint ár n-oidhreacht comónta a fhágáil faoi chúram Aire an lae ann féin.

“Seo an fáth go bhfuil Sinn Féin ag moladh an Chomhairle Comhairleach um Séadchómharthaí Náisiúnta a athbhunú agus cúramaí níos láidre a thabhairt dóibh cinneadh Aire a aisiompú, ag lorg imscrúdú ar an gá le hOmbudsman ar leith don Chultúr agus don Oidhreacht, agus ag éileamh ról níos treise faoin reachtaíocht don Ard Mhusaem ach go háirithe, agus freisin don Chomhairle Oidhreachta, don Taisce, don Chomhchoiste Oireachtais, agus do comhaltaí tofa ar údaráis áitiúil.

“Ní chóir go ndéanfar dí-chlárú nó scrios ar séadchomhartha ariamh díreach toisc gur bhuail spadhar an Aire, agus táimid ag moladh cosc iomlán ar ábhair seandálaíochta a scrio agus cumhachtaí nua don Stát a ladar a chur isteach i gcás ceant chun ábhair a fháil don phobal.

“Thabharfadh leasuithe Sinn Féin cosaint do sárthírdhreacha stairiúla mar oidhreacht don chéad uair, chuirfeadh siad cosc ar obair leanúint ar aghaidh a dhéanach dochar nó scrios do shláine an séadchomhartha – lena n-áirítear laistigh den chomhthéacs mórthimpeall – nó don timpeallacht, agus chinnteodh siad go dtabhartfadh an tAire aird cuí d’aon Measúnú Tionchair Timpeallachta agus do Choinbhinsiún Vaileite.

“Faoin reachtaíocht mar atá molta, “féadfaidh” údaráis séadchomharthaí a chosaint. Faoinár leasuithe, bheadh sé riachtanach, agus ardófar an uasphíonós do sáruithe ar an dlí go 7 mbliana sa phriosúin agus fíneálacha suas le €5 milliúin in aghaidh an lae. Ní dhéanfar comhlachtaí agus forbróirí móra a dhíspreagadh leis an uasfhíneál €50,000 in aghaidh an lae mar atá molta, nó leis an gcur chuige réchúiseach ó thaobh cur i bhfeidhm de ach oiread, gan ach 6 daoine cúisithe le deich mbliana anuas.

“Tá sé i gceist againn sainmhínithe a leathnú faoin mBille ar roinnt bhealaí, chun reilig nua-aimsithe agus láithreáin tábhachtacha don phobal a chlúdú mar shampla, agus le meicníocht chun deis a thabhairt don phobal achainí a chur ar an Aire chun séadchomhartha ar leith a chlárú.

“Ní haon ionadh é, toisc an tiomantas léirithe againn i roinnt mhaith buiséid malartacha chun Ceathrú Cultúir a bhunú ar Shráid an Mhúraigh, go bhfuil Sinn Féin den tuairim gur chóir go mbeadh cosaint uathoibreach ar leith ag láithreáin cogaidh agus a bhí lárnach sa tréimhse réabhlóideach ó 1916 go 1923.

“I measc na leasuithe eile, bheadh ról níos mó ag meáin áitiúil, clóite agus raidió, ag cur fógraí faoi bhráid an phobail de réir an Achta seo, bheadh treoirlínte d’úinéirí talún ag a bhfuil séadchomhartha faoina gcúram, agus bheadh tiomantas don díchoilíniú trí dhualgas a chur ar an Stát tacú le haisdúichiú ar oidhreacht ar le tíortha eile é agus abhaile go hÉireann i gcás ár n-oidhreacht atá thar lear de thairbhe slad agus goid coilíneach.

“Bun agus barr an cur chuige ag Sinn Féin ná aitheantas a thabhairt do cheart oidhreachta an duine, ceart ar mian linn a chosaint sa dlí ionas gur féidir é a sheachadadh do na glúnta inár ndiaidh, anuas ar forálacha chun rochtain agus dáileadh réigiúnach cothrom a chinntiú ar ár n-oidhreacht ársa agus cultúrtha. Bheadh Rialtas Shinn Féin dáiríre faoi chosaint ár n-oidhreacht.”

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