The 1995 Heritage Act defines 'Heritage' as monuments, archaeological objects, heritage objects, architectural heritage, flora, fauna, wildlife habitats, landscapes, seascapes, wrecks, geology, heritage gardens and parks, inland waterways.
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The Heritage Office was first established in November 2002. The current Heritage Officer, Melanie McQuade, was appointed in June 2017.
The Westmeath Heritage Forum has been active over the years, with working groups on archaeological heritage, architectural heritage, cultural heritage and natural heritage meeting regularly.
The Westmeath Heritage Office, along with the members of the Westmeath Heritage Forum, aims to 'work to increase awareness and appreciation of our manmade, cultural and natural heritage in the county, leading to actions which promote its protection, enhancement and vitality.'
The role of the Heritage Officer is to
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The Westmeath Heritage Forum is a key component in the Heritage Plan process. The Forum is a non-statutory group established by the Council which provides advice on the preparation and implementation of the County's Heritage Plan.
The Forum has members representing local and national Government, state agencies, local heritage, community groups, NGOs, local business and development, the farming sector and heritage professions. In addition the Forum can co-opt individuals or representatives of organisations with a particular expertise where this is deemed necessary.
The Heritage Council part-funds the network of 28 Heritage Officers employed in Local Authorities across the country. The Heritage Council’s vision is that the value of our heritage is enjoyed, managed and protected for the vital contribution that it makes to our identity, well-being and future. For more information on the work of the Heritage Council, please visit www.heritagecouncil.ie