Advocating for additional supports for the sector will be a key priority for 2020 and 2021.
In April this year the Heritage Council launched a survey into the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the heritage sector in Ireland.
510 individuals, businesses and agencies participated in the survey.
Like other sectors of society, the heritage sector has faced closures, job losses, delays and increased home working as a result of the covid-19 restrictions. Some heritage sites have seen increased pressure from visitor numbers and many organisations have been busy developing new online content for those engaged in home schooling or cocooned.
The purpose of this survey was to help us to understand the impact that the covid-19 crisis has on the heritage sector in Ireland so as to advise the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The findings were presented to the Minister of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The Heritage Council has proposed to Government a range of supports – including financial, capacity-building and advice – that can support the heritage sector in recovery.
Commenting on the findings, Chief Executive of the Heritage Council, Virginia Teehan said: “The social restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19 have had a silver lining - a reawakening of interest amongst Irish people in our local heritage. Throughout the 2km and 5km restrictions, we have seen individuals, families and communities the length and breadth of the country taking the time to really explore their local heritage, looking at the local monuments, historical sites, waterways, landscapes, plants, trees, birds and animals, and we believe this will engender a long-term interest in our built and natural heritage.”
She added: “However, we are concerned about the impact COVID-19 has had on the sustainability of the sector, as evidenced in our survey. We are very conscious about the impact issues such as loss of income and cashflow difficulties can have in the short- and medium-term.
“Ireland is known world-wide for its heritage, and the sector is invaluable, not just to tourism and the wider economy, but to the general well-being of the country. We will continue to collaborate with our partners and will consider what types of supports might be needed to ensure the sustainability of the sector, as the country reopens, to ensure, as far as possible, that the employment it supports and its work in preserving Ireland’s heritage is not lost during the post-lockdown recovery. Advocating for additional supports for the sector will be a key priority for 2020 and 2021.”