Irish national report on Benchmarks for Archaeology and Heritage Protection 2024 – 2029

In advance of the upcoming European Parliament elections in June, the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) together with its expert Communities, Advisory Committees and partner organisations compiled “Benchmarks for Archaeology and Heritage Protection”. This list comprises the five most pressing topics that fall into the remit of the European Parliament. These topics were:
  • Addressing climate change challenges for cultural heritage
  • Protecting the historic environment in planning
  • Addressing the trade in archaeological material
  • Facilitating mobility of labour across borders
  • Free use of images related to cultural heritage.
Political parties running in the EU elections in 2024 were asked to clarify their position and plan of action regarding these topics to help voters to make an informed decision about whom to vote for. In Ireland, the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland (IAI), coordinated the communication with the national political parties. This work was undertaken by IAI Chair Ros Ó Maoldúin and IAI member Emmet Byrnes who is the EAA Political Strategies Committee (PSC) Benchmarks Co-ordinator for Ireland and member of the EAA & EAC Community on Farming, Forestry and Rural Land Management.
It is the first occasion Ireland has been included in the EAA Benchmarks for Archaeology and Heritage Protection for the European Parliament Elections Project, with the IAI taking the lead as the national partner for the EAA Political Strategies Committee. All eight registered political parties in Ireland with elected representatives in Dáil Éireann and which had already nominated or indicated an intention to nominate candidates to run in the elections for the European Parliament were engaged with. The Irish national report which classifies the responses form the Irish political parties is now published and available to read here:

There is also a separate page for the overarching European level evaluation by Sophie Hüglin, linked from the main Benchmark page.

Notwithstanding the variability in the engagement with the Benchmarks questions by the six Irish political parties that did respond with a written position, overall the outcome should be seen as very positive and setting a new baseline for future engagement. It has raised awareness with the Irish political parties of the role the EU and EU law plays directly and indirectly in archaeology and heritage protection and re-enforced the position of the IAI and the EAA as bodies with expertise and key stakeholders in the sphere nationally and at EU level respectively.

While we hope you take the time to read the entirety of the Irish National Report, below is a ‘traffic light’ system summary of each party’s response to the benchmarks: Red is for where a party has indicated it supports the status quo or would take actions contrary to the EAA positions. Yellow is for a party that supports the EAA position but did not propose any tangible action on its own part. Green is for a party that has proposed some tangible action on its own part or supports action at EU level in line with the EAA positions.
Trafficlight summary for Irish Political parties response to the EAA Benchmarks.png