Letter: Filming On Skellig Michael

My letter to the Editor regarding how we treat heritage in Ireland, published July 30 2014.

Sir, – It is now more than 10 years since Martin Cullen TD abolished Dúchas, the Heritage Service. Our national and built monuments are not adequately protected. When I questioned the OPW decision to allow filming on Skellig Michael, a general response was “it’s about jobs”. In the deep recession of the ’80s the OPW partnered with private agencies and owners to train young people in heritage protection and craft skills (stonework, wood-carving and preservation). These were jobs and skills geared toward protecting and conserving our heritage.
In the 10 years since the abolition of Dúchas, 39 sites in Tara were demolished to facilitate the M3 toll road. There are robberies of stunning stonework and the job of Dúchas has been divided between the Department of the Environment and the OPW.
Heritage is not adequately protected. We are not training the young in conservation techniques and we have no statutory agency for protecting our natural and built heritage. There are jobs in protecting our fragile heritage infrastructure in the long-term: people require skills training.
The Hollywood machine is a temporary thing. Where is the long view on jobs, on awareness and on stewardship in Ireland?
It is the job of the Minister to propose a far-sighted agenda for the work of the divided heritage agency, and yet I have seen no comment or response to the OPW decision on Skellig from her office. We are used to disgraceful decisions affecting our environment in Ireland. Why should we be surprised now? – Yours, etc,
  1. A letter by C. Murray
  2. Filming of Scenes For Star Wars Movie begins on Skellig Michael

3 responses to “Letter: Filming On Skellig Michael”

  1. It’s not just (!) the physical surroundings they maraud – the thought of a star WARS film being shot on a place of spiritual retreat is absolute sacrilege. Sadly, in the West, the concept of ‘taboo’ has been diminished – it’s now mainly known as the name of a perfume. Some things/places are sacred. Trouble looms ahead.


  2. Was this letter published? I know someone else who wrote a really good letter also, but it never appeared. I think there was a sense of dragging of heels in the print media regarding this issue. How tasteless of us to be think there is more to life than ‘jobs’.


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