Sunday 22 July 2007

Public consultation stage of draft management plan for Skellig Michael World Heritage Site

Mr. John Gormley T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, has announced the commencement of the public consultation process regarding the draft Management Plan for Skellig Michael World Heritage Site.

This property is owned by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, which has responsibility for policy relating to the built and natural heritage. The Office of Public Works has responsibility for the management of Skellig Michael.

In 1996, Skellig Michael was inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO - the body which selects World Heritage Sites as representing the best international examples of cultural and natural heritage. Referring to the renowned status of Skellig Michael, the Minister stated - "this is a spectacular medieval island monastic site, whose listing as a World Heritage site recognises the universal significance of this cultural landscape."

In relation to the proposed Management Plan, Minister Gormley said that the term of the plan will be for ten years from the date of its publication and added - "I consider that an updated expanded Management Plan is required for Skellig Michael, to ensure the protection, conservation and management of this important heritage site for the next ten years - to 2017."

The Minister explained that this draft plan is a comprehensive document, giving detailed information on the history of Skellig Michael, a description of the features of the site, the natural heritage elements of the island and the statutory protection measures which relate to the site.

He went on to say - "it documents the conservation works carried out to-date by the Office of Public Works, in accordance with best international practice to protect and conserve this World Heritage Site. It also details future proposed works including ongoing maintenance works, confirms current arrangements regarding visitor access and addresses other important management issues."

He continued by saying that - "in addition, the draft plan outlines the objectives of the Management Plan and the key actions which will be implemented during its ten-year lifetime. It also provides for a review of the key actions after five years."

The draft plan is being put out to public consultation with a period of six weeks for receipt of responses.

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