Council Welcomes Inclusion Of Valentia Transatlantic Cable On World Heritage Tentative List

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Valentia Transatlantic Cable Station

KERRY County Council has warmly welcomes the announcement by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien that the Valentia Trans-Atlantic Cable Ensemble is to be included on the new Irish Tentative List of World Heritage Properties to be progressed for World Heritage inscription.

This has been a long-term objective of Kerry County Council since it was initiated by the Valentia Island Development Company in 2012 and has since been strongly supported by the Council, Government Departments and other public and private partners in Ireland and abroad.

Welcoming the announcement, the Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr John Francis Flynn, paid tribute to all involved in the project in bringing it to this stage.

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“I want to thank Kerry County Council for lending this important project its full support from the outset. I also want to salute Micheál Lyne and the members of the Valentia Island Development Company for their ambition and persistence in pursuing this for over a decade.

“A key private partner has been the Valentia Trans-Atlantic Cable Foundation, led by Leonard Hobbs, who has played a key role in fundraising and promotion of the project and Dr. Donard Cogan, Chairman of the Valentia-Hearts Content Technical Group, all who have given their time on the voluntary basis.

“I want to remember the late Anthony O’Connell of VIDCO who had spearheaded the project until his death in March 2019. This project has enjoyed cross-party support within Kerry County Council,” he said.

The World Heritage Site Tentative List is an inventory of natural and cultural heritage sites that may have potential to demonstrate Outstanding Universal Value and therefore considered suitable for nomination to the World Heritage List.

It is a pre-condition for nomination that a site must be on the Tentative List for at least one year before work can formally begin on a nomination dossier.

It is important to note that the nomination process does not necessarily result in the inscription of a site on the World Heritage List.

A site can be inscribed on the World Heritage List only if the World Heritage Committee determines it is of Outstanding Universal Value for all of humanity.

The Valentia Trans-Atlantic Cable Ensemble is one of three projects to make it onto the new Irish Tentative List which was last announced in 2010.

The focus now is to complete the works on the Cable Station and progress the application to the next stage which will involve further consultation with the local community, completion of the socio-economic plan, preparation of the joint management plan with Newfoundland/Canada and on the World Heritage nomination dossier, with the Department’s World Heritage Unit, for consideration by UNESCO in Paris.  This may take at least five years to complete.

Placing the Valentia Trans-Atlantic Cable Ensemble on the Irish Tentative List for Word Heritage, following independent evaluation, signals that the project has outstanding universal value – the key UNESCO requirement – and merits consideration by UNESCO for World Heritage inscription.

Unlike Ireland’s other two World Heritage sites at Skellig Michael and Brú na Boinne, this is an industrial heritage site where people live and work and will continue to do so.

It will also be Ireland’s first trans-national World Heritage application and the Kerry team has been working for several years with its Canadian partners in Hearts Content and Newfoundland, at the western end of the cable, to progress the joint application.  Hearts Content is already on the Canadian Tentative List.

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