National Policy on Town Defences launched

The National Policy on Town Defences sets out “the national policy for the protection, preservation and conservation of historic urban defences in Ireland. The Policy is a further development in progressing the Walled Towns Initiative by providing succinct guidance to stakeholders to conserve these important and valuable monuments for the future.”

Urban defences are “monuments” under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2004 and also enjoy protection under the Planning and Development Act 2000. This new policy document is intended to supplement existing national town defences policy and further demonstrates the strong commitment of the Government toward the protection and conservation of our historic urban defences.

It is widely recognised that these old walls, towers and gates are an asset, a valuable part of the character of the towns they have shaped and protected for hundreds of years. The Minister cited this years successful Irish Walled Town’s day to illustrate this by pointing to an economic study undertaken by the Heritage Council showing that the day brought a large economic benefit to the towns involved through the associated influx of visitors.

€2m funding from the Built Heritage Capital Programme, via the Heritage Council, has been earmarked for the Irish Walled Towns Initiative to support conservation works for town defences in 2008 and a further €200K current funding was provided for various other projects under the Initiative including Irish Walled Towns Day and Irish Walled Towns Network photographic competition 2008.