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 Header Item Knowledge Development Box (Certification of Inventions) 2016 [Seanad]: Report and Final Stages (Continued)
 Header Item Estimates for Public Services 2017: Message from Select Committee
 Header Item Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (Hague Convention) Bill 2016 [Seanad]: Second Stage (Resumed)

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 944 No. 3

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  10 o’clock

Estimates for Public Services 2017: Message from Select Committee

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher The Select Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport has completed its consideration of the following Revised Estimates for Public Services for the year ending 31 December 2017: Vote 31 - Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (Hague Convention) Bill 2016 [Seanad]: Second Stage (Resumed)

  Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

Deputy Darragh O'Brien: Information on Darragh O'Brien Zoom on Darragh O'Brien Fianna Fáil supports the package of this Bill and we welcome it. The purpose of the Bill is to enable the State to ratify the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

It is anticipated that this Bill will not result in any additional costs to the Exchequer. The convention, which has been ratified so far by only 69 countries, came about as a result of the massive destruction of cultural heritage during the Second Word War and is the first international treaty with a worldwide vocation focusing exclusively on the protection of cultural heritage in the event of armed conflict. If the Bill is passed, it will fulfil the State's obligation under the 1954 Hague Convention and the 1999 protocol to suppress, prosecute and penalise damage to cultural property during armed conflict.

As the Minister outlined during previous debate, the Bill provides for offences to protect cultural property in the event of armed conflict including the exporting, removing, attacking, stealing, pillaging, appropriating, vandalising or extensively destroying cultural property. Under the Bill, there are penalties for committing offences with harsher penalties for extensively destroying or appropriating cultural property or for attacking or using in support of military action any cultural property that is under enhanced protection. The Bill provides for criminal responsibility for commanders or superiors for offences against cultural property committed by persons under their command authority or control.

Cultural property is an important part of a State and a citizen's identity, history and culture. It has, however, been a primary target of war and used as a tactic that destroys the fabric of society. Its destruction causes harm on a physical, social and emotional level. The targeting, destruction and plundering of cultural property during armed conflict - either incidental to the exigencies of war or as a deliberate act in and of itself - needs to be legislated for and while Ireland is a militarily neutral country, we are not neutral morally. It is important that the necessary legislation is in place to prevent the destruction of cultural property.


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