The VIDC Ltd. with the support of Professor Al Gillespie, a former Rapporteur of the World Heritage Committee at UNESCO, Stefanie Buffum, the wife of Cyrus Field IV, the Institute of Technology, Tralee and Kerry County Council are currently investigating the potential for Valentia Island to be recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its important role in communications technology and the Transatlantic Cable Story. To be accepted by UNESCO as a World Heritage site is a long and onerous process. To date, two papers outlining the historical significance of the area together with a Technical Evaluation and Management Plan will be presented to the Department of Arts, Heritage & The Gaeltacht who can then consider including the project on the Irish Tentative List, which reopens for new submissions in 2018. A project must be on the Irish Tentative List for one year before a decision to apply to UNESCO for World Heritage status.
Professor Al Gillespie was appointed to undertake the research and has already completed the first paper which was launched in New York in 2014. The paper concluded that the project was indeed factual and authentic. The costs for developing the first paper was kindly financed by the Institute of Technology, Tralee and Kerry County Council. The second paper which has now being completed will demonstrate the Outstanding Universal Value of the Transatlantic Cable. This report will be launched at a public meeting during the festival in July.
Central to the UNESCO application is the restoration of the Cable Station building, which the current owner Mrs Pollmeier is willing to donate back to the community for a nominal fee. The restored building will house a cable museum and the enterprise centre will be located on the upper floor. The VIDC Ltd is currently investigating funding to support this initiative and a Foundation Board under the chairmanship of Leonard Hobbs, Director of Global Public Affairs at Intel Ireland has been established. The Board includes Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA; Moira Morrell, CEO, Kerry County Council; Denis Jennings, Knous Consultancy Service Ltd; and Anthony O’Connell and Micheal Lyne, VIDC Ltd.