OWNERSHIP of Derry’s walls will require “cross-party political support”.
And the body which placed the walls into state guardianship has also said that would require a change to the law.
The Honourable The Irish Society was responding after Sinn Féin Foyle MP Elisha McCallion said she was pursuing a move to see ownership transferred to Derry City and Strabane District Council.
The 17th century walls are the largest state-owned monument in the North of Ireland.
The Honourable The Irish Society was created in 1613 to undertake the Plantation in the north-west and built Derry’s Walls between 1613 and 1618 as defences for settlers.
It placed the walls into formal government guardianship in 1955.
Stormont’s Department for Communities is currently responsible for the walls’ management and conservation, working closely with Derry City and Strabane District Council and other public bodies.
In a statement to the BBC, The Honourable The Irish Society said: “The only way in law by which the 1955 management arrangement can be altered is by mutual agreement of the department and the Irish Society.
“The Irish Society would only approach the department in the circumstances whereby it was satisfied that such a move had full local and regional cross-party political support.”
Ms McCallion said the walls are one of the city’s best and most recognisable assets.
But she said too many groups are currently involved in their management, maintenance and promotion.
“I have been meeting regularly with The Honourable the Irish Society in London to discuss the possibility of transferring ownership and guardianship of the walls to a body in the city,” Ms McCallion said.
“We agreed that Derry City and Strabane District Council could be ideally placed for such a role.”
Derry’s 17th century fortifications were never breached, withstanding several sieges including one in 1689 which lasted 105 days, hence the city’s nickname, the Maiden City.
As the last walled city to be built in Europe, many argue the barricades are the most complete and spectacular.
An inter-agency management group for the walls was set up in 2009.
A spokeswoman for Derry and Strabane District Council said the local authority is “happy to work with stakeholders in order to look at possible future models for the management of the city walls”.
The council has been running an exhibition in the city celebrating 400 years of Derry’s Walls.