The public consultation period for the new County Donegal Heritage Plan has been extended.
People will now have until Tuesday, January 31 to make their suggestions to Donegal County Council and the County Donegal Heritage Forum as regards the priorities or actions that they would like to see addressed in the new five-year strategic plan.
There are a number of ways in which you can make your suggestions by filling in the on-line survey form at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/HeritagePubli, by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to the County Donegal Heritage Office.
“It’s very important that as many people as possible contribute to the public consultation process for the preparation of our new County Heritage Plan” said Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer.
“The extent of public engagement will give us an indication of the level of interest in the county’s built, archaeological, natural and cultural heritage and help us make a case for the allocation of additional resources to support our heritage and the work of heritage groups in the county.
“The new Heritage Plan will direct heritage priorities, resources and funding for heritage in the county over the lifetime of the plan. In partnership with the County Donegal Heritage Forum and The Heritage Council, the County Donegal Heritage Office is also meeting with key stakeholders to assist in the delivery of the new Heritage Plan.
“The focus of submissions to the County Donegal Heritage Plan should be on priorities or actions that can be taken over the next five years to identify, conserve, manage, promote and interpret County Donegal’s heritage.”
The new County Donegal Heritage Plan will include actions relating to our natural heritage (such as wildlife, habitats, flora, fauna and geology), our built heritage (such as historic buildings, landscapes, parks and gardens shaped by human design), our archaeology (such as monuments, ancient objects and shipwrecks) and our cultural inheritance (such as skills, folklore, traditions and archives).
The context in which the new County Donegal Heritage Plan is being prepared is dynamic and there are a number of policy initiatives at national and local level that will influence the preparation of the County Donegal Heritage Plan. The new National Heritage Plan – Heritage Ireland 2030 – was published in February 2022 and the new National Biodiversity Action Plan is in preparation by the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage.
The Heritage Council that provides annual match funding for the implementation of County Heritage Plan actions is also in the process of preparing the new Heritage Council Strategic Plan. Within Donegal County Council, the Culture Division (of which the County Donegal Heritage Office is part) is preparing a new Culture Division Strategic Plan as well.
The County Donegal Heritage Forum is a committee of Donegal County Council that provides advice on the preparation and implementation of the County Heritage Plan and is made up of representatives from local government, local development, state agencies, educational institutions, landowner/farming representatives, community/voluntary groups and heritage organisations and groups. Funded by The Heritage Council and Donegal County Council, consultant John O’Brien is working with the Heritage Forum, key stakeholders and members of the public to draft the new County Donegal Heritage Plan. Workshops have already taken place with heritage groups in the county and with the County Donegal Heritage Forum. A draft of the new County Donegal Heritage Plan will be ready in spring and brought to the Elected Members of Donegal County Council for adoption by summer 2023. The new County Donegal Heritage Plan will be published and launched in autumn 2023.
The new plan will be the third Heritage Plan for County Donegal. A review of the implementation of the second County Heritage Plan has demonstrated that Donegal County Council, The Heritage Council, the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage, Heritage Forum partners and other funding agencies invested over €930,000 since 2014 in the implementation of over 50 Heritage Plan actions. At present, annual core funding for the implementation of County Heritage Plans is provided by The Heritage Council.
In order to access this funding, the County Donegal Heritage Office and County Donegal Heritage Forum apply to The Heritage Council every year for priority actions identified in the County Heritage Plan. This funding is matched by funding from Donegal County Council, other County Heritage Forum partners and heritage organisations and groups in the county.
Further details on the preparation of the new County Donegal Heritage Plan are available from the County Donegal Heritage Office, Donegal County Council, Station Island, Lifford on (074) 917 2576 or on the County Donegal Heritage Office website at www.donegalcoco.ie/heritage
Pictured above at the recent County Donegal Heritage Plan workshop held in Letterkenny and led by consultant John O’Brien are representatives from heritage groups, heritage organisations, historical societies, museums, heritage centres, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), environmental groups and community groups from across the county. Donegal County Council has started the process of preparing its third County Heritage Plan.