The difficulties with the expansion of Annaghdown Cemetery will be examined at a meeting between the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Departmental officials, Galway West Oireachtas members and representatives of the Cemetery committee.
The meeting has been arranged by Galway West/Mayo South Fine Gael TD Seán Kyne and will take place on Wednesday 22nd in the Minister’s office on Kildare Street in Dublin.
The meeting will explore the possibility of using part of the land surrounding Annaghdown Abbey which is adjacent to the Cemetery. Annaghdown Abbey – sometimes referred to as Annaghdown Priory – was built in the 12th century and along with Annaghdown Cathedral, which was built in the 15th century, are designated as national monuments.
Commented Deputy Kyne: “The issue of expanding Annaghdown Cemetery is complicated by the proximity of the national monument of Annaghdown Abbey. As a national monument the Abbey is governed by the National Monuments Acts of 1930 and 2004 for which the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is the relevant minister.
“Specifically, section 14 of the 2004 Act gives discretionary powers to the minister over national monuments. Such powers include disposal, selling or transferring of lands.
“I’m hopeful that the meeting with Minister Humphreys and her officials will help examine whether it is possible to use a portion of the nearby land for the expansion of the cemetery and provide clarity on this important issue for the communities.”
Section 5 of the National Monuments Amendment Act 2004 replaced Section 14 of the National Monuments Act 1930 as follows:
5.—The Principal Act is amended by substituting the following sections for section 14:
14.—(1) In respect of a national monument of which the Minister or a local authority are the owners or the guardians or in respect of which a preservation order is in force, it shall not be lawful for any person to do any of the following things in relation to such national monument:
(a) to demolish or remove it wholly or in part or to disfigure, deface, alter, or in any manner injure or interfere with it, or
(b) to excavate, dig, plough or otherwise disturb the ground within, around, or in proximity to it, or
(c) to renovate or restore it, or
(d) to sell it or any part of it for exportation or to export it or any part of it,
without the consent referred to in subsection (2) of this section or otherwise than in accordance with such consent.
(2) (a) In respect of a national monument to which subsection (1) relates and at the discretion of the Minister, the Minister may grant consent in writing to the doing to such monument of one or more of the matters specified in paragraphs (a) to (d) of subsection (1) of this section (in this subsection referred to as the ‘carrying out of works’).
(b) (i) The Minister shall consult in writing with the Director of the National Museum of Ireland before granting a consent under paragraph (a) of this subsection.
(ii) The period for consultation under subparagraph (i) of this paragraph shall be not more than 14 days from the day the consultative process was commenced by the Minister or such other period as may, in any particular case, be agreed to between the Minister and the Director of the National Museum of Ireland.
(c) A consent granted under paragraph (a) of this subsection to the carrying out of works shall be subject to such conditions and restrictions as the Minister may determine and specify in the consent.
(d) The Minister in exercising discretion under paragraph (a) of this subsection is not restricted to archaeological considerations but is entitled to consider the public interest in allowing the carrying out of works notwithstanding that such works may involve—
(i) injury to or interference with the national monument concerned, or
(ii) the destruction in whole or in part of the national monument concerned.