Newfoundland Tourism Minister Visits Kerry

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Pictured at the  Government Offices in Killarney:  Moira Murrell, Chief Executive,, Kerry County Council, The Hon. Christopher Mitchelmore,  Minister of Tourism and Heritage, Government of Newfoundland Labrador,  Canada,  Minister of State, Brendan Griffin, TD, and John Griffin, Tourism Officer Kerry County Council.

NEWFOUNDLAND’S Tourism and Heritage Minister, Hon. Christopher Mitchelmore, was in Kerry this week for talks with MInister of State, Brendan Griffin TD and Moira Murrell, Chief Executive, Kerry County Council, in  relation to the Valentia Trans-Atlantic Cable Project and possible UNESCO World Heritage designation.

He later visited Valentia Island to meet members of the Valentia Island Development Company and view the cable sites at first hand.

Speaking in Valentia, the Minister said that Newfoundland and Ireland had a shared heritage with the trans-Atlantic telegraph cable which extended along the seabed from  Hearts Content, Newfoundland to Valentia for over a century.

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The laying of the undersea cable after several attempts in the mid 1860s was a global technological milestone and had reduced communications times between Europe and North America from weeks to mere minutes.  It heralded the beginning of globalisation.

Now 50 years after the closure of both cable stations it is proposed to mount a joint bid to UNESCO to have them listed as World Heritage sites.

Last December Canada placed the Hearts Content Cable Station on its UNESCO Tentative List – the first step in the designation process – and asked the Irish Government to do likewise for Valentia.

Minister Griffin said he fully supported the Valentia case and there was strong support within local and national Government for it.

In July, the Pollmeier family of Valentia Industries, donated the Cable Station building to the Valentia Island Development Company to facilitate its restoration.  From their experience in Newfoundland, the UNESCO process could last five years.

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