Kildare could have its own version of the blue plaques in the UK should an idea by Cllr Kevin Duffy grow legs.
The Monasterevin native brought a motion to November’s meeting of Kildare Co Council looking for the development of a county-wide blue plaque scheme protocol to commemorate the link between historical Kildare people and places and pilot its implementation in towns or villages along the Barrow Blueway to ‘enhance the tourism vision.’
He was informed, by way of a written report, that the Blue Plaque is something generally run by Civic Trusts, not necessarily local authorities. The council does have its own Civic Memorial Policy and is aware that Dublin City Council has a Commemorative Plaques Scheme ‘that is intended to facilitate the formal commemoration of people, organisations, and events that have made a unique and significant contribution to the life or history of Dublin through outstanding achievement, distinctive service or significant community contribution.
‘Although these plaques are distinctive with Council’s blue brand, they do not conform with the standard ‘blue plaque’ that originated in the UK and is run by English Heritage. Dublin City Council’s scheme has a clear set of protocols and its own application form for individuals or groups to make proposals… the development of a protocol would be relatively straightforward, and could be referred to the Planning and Economic SPC [Strategic Policy Committee] to review however, identifying a budget and determining who administers such a scheme would need further consideration.’
On the piloting of a Blue Plaque initiative in towns and villages along the Barrow Blueway, Cllr Duffy was told there is currently no funding available for this. However, a Branding and Interpretation Plan of the Barrow Blueway story has been tendered as part of the delivery of the Blueway through Kildare and ‘if adequate resources could be identified, then those towns along the Barrow Blueway could certainly be considered as part of a pilot.’
Cllr Duffy told the meeting that there’s an opportunity here to develop a scheme to support and enhance tourism. He later said that heritage groups and community groups could feed into this scheme.
Cllr Suzanne Doyle said if it’s going to SPC, it might be worth engaging with the likes of the OPW.
The meeting heard the topic will go to SPC level.