Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Vincent Salafia: Cultural Heritage to Constitutional Protection of Heritage

In the last blog entry, Vincent had just described some of the positive aspects of the campaigns over preservation of heritage.

Question: Will cultural tourism catch on?

I think there will be more cultural tourism rather than straight economic tourism. I do see a lot of potential now in the people who have been turned on abroad and those here at home as well. I think the local population up in Meath realizes more now that they do have something of value that they didn’t fully appreciate before. I was talking to someone who loves fairies, like Tinkerbell. There is a Florida Fairy Festival every year. So I was thinking, why don’t they have a Fairy Festival on the Hill of Tara every year?  It would bring large crowds. People would have fun outside. People would bring their kids. I think you will see more utilization of these sites and the sites will come to life.

Question: Is changing the Constitution feasible in Ireland?

As to the Constitution, there is a Constitutional Convention set up to review the constitution. When the present government officials were running for office, their parties, Labor and Fine Gael came in and said there was going to be a Constitutional Convention. That process is beginning. The terms of reference are quite narrow and many are cynical about it. But none the less, there is a period over the next year to raise issues. There should be constitutional protections put in place to protect heritage and the environment, and for our culture, really.

People abroad have the right to have these things protected as part of their own culture. This would not just protect Irish citizens, but all people of Irish decent. That’s why it’s important for those of Irish decent to express those opinions, especially during the coming year.  I’ll try to get clear ideas and explanation up on the Internet and into print so that people can demand their constitutional and human rights.

“We the undersigned were outraged about what happened at Tara and what was proposed at Slane without due consideration. We want to be sure as Irish people that this is never going to happen again. Let’s put the necessary protections into the constitution, once and for all.”

Maybe a petition like that could happen in the coming months.

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