Revised General Scheme for the Monuments and Archaeological Heritage Bill Approved by Cabinet

Date Released: Thursday, December 2, 2021

Minister Darragh O’Brien received approval from Cabinet earlier this week for the Revised General Scheme of the Monuments and Archaeological Heritage Bill. This important legislative proposal will repeal and replace, in a comprehensively modernised and revised form, the National Monuments Acts 1930 to 2014 and other related legislation, some going back to the 19th century.

The Revised General Scheme (which has been published on the Department’s websites and contains a range of proposals that seek to streamline and simplify existing systems and processes, and provides for the State to ratify some key international conventions in the area of heritage protection, should the Government decide to do so. There are also proposals for innovative measures, such as the 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 license applications.

The Cabinet approval also provides for the referral of the Revised General Scheme to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage for pre-legislative scrutiny.

Confirming approval of the Revised General Scheme Minister O’Brien said:

“The protection of monuments and archaeological heritage is an important role and responsibility. The approval of the Revised General Scheme is an important step towards the delivery of modernised, streamlined legislation that will help ensure our national heritage continues to be treasured by present and future generations.”

Minister of State with responsibility for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan added:

“I want to thank the Cabinet for their approval of the Revised General Scheme for the Monuments and Archaeological Heritage Bill. 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. The proposed Bill will see significant improvements to the existing regime and I welcome its advancement.”