Wednesday, 21 February 2001
Dáil Eireann Debate
New heritage centres planned or proposed by my Department include a visitor centre for the Mayo National Park, a visitor/study centre for Clara Bog, County Offaly, and a visitor reception facility at Quin Abbey, County Clare.
I am also considering options for the provision of appropriate visitor facilities for the Burren National Park, County Clare. My officials met officials of Clare County Council before Christmas when it was agreed that ongoing contacts and co-operation will be maintained between the two sides in exploring all the options  that may exist throughout the north Clare area for visitor access to the national park and for appropriate control of that access. A complete and careful assessment of the available options will now be made, having specific regard to the issues raised and the concerns expressed in the inspector's report on the Mullaghmore proposal. I have decided, following the meeting of my officials with Clare County Council to which I referred, to appoint external professional consultants to examine all possible sites.
An inter-departmental committee is currently considering the nature of visitor facilities to be developed at the site of the Battle of the Boyne, County Meath. Work is in progress at present to provide new visitor facilities at Maynooth Castle, County Kildare, Ferns Castle, County Wexford, Dungarvan Castle, County Waterford, Lough Hyne, County Cork, the Mainguard, Clonmel, the Warhouse, County Tipperary, and Dunmore Cave, County Kilkenny. As I stated when I recently announced details of the built heritage elements of the national development plan, the emphasis in this regard during the period of the plan, 2000-06, will be on the conservation of heritage properties together with the upgrading of exhibitions and displays at heritage sites.
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