The Heritage Act 1995 established An Chomhairle Oidhreachta, the Heritage
Council, as an independent statutory body with responsibility to propose policies
and priorities for the identification, protection, preservation and enhancement
of the Irish national heritage. The Heritage Act defined heritage as
including: monuments, archaeological objects, heritage objects, architectural
heritage, flora, fauna, wildlife habitats, landscapes, seascapes, wrecks, geology,
heritage gardens and parks and inland waterways.
The Heritage Council's function is to promote interest, education, knowledge
and pride in, and facilitate the appreciation and enjoyment of the national
heritage, co-operate with public authorities, educational bodies and other organisations
and persons in the promotion of the functions of the Council, and promote the
co-ordination of all activities relating to the functions of the Council. The
Heritage Council may make recommendations to the Minister for Arts, Heritage,
the Gaeltacht and the Islands on any matter relating to the Council's functions,
and the Minister shall respond within six months.