Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
661. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the applications received for funding from Louth County Council or other public bodies including Fáilte Ireland in relation maintenance or other works to structures (details supplied) and the maintenance of Drogheda town walls and so on; the funds applied for; the status of such applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9595/19]
My role, as Minister, with regard to the protection and management of our built heritage is set out in the provisions of relevant legislation, including the National Monuments Acts and the Planning and Development Acts, as are the role of local authorities and the responsibilities of owners as regards heritage assets.
As Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, I am the owner or guardian of almost 1,000 national monuments right across the country, ranging from prehistoric burial monuments to medieval fortifications and religious sites, including one of the monuments referred to by the Deputy. The Office of Public Works is responsible for the conservation and maintenance of these monuments on a day-to-day basis in co-operation and consultation with my Department.
As in previous years, alongside its Office of Public Works and local authority partners, my Department’s National Monuments Service will make available such funding as may be required over the course of 2019 in relation to the discharge of my functions under the National Monuments Acts to support rescue excavations and post excavation research at archaeological sites where there is an urgent risk to such being irreparably lost or damaged.
My Department also provides financial support for the protection of heritage buildings and historic structures through grant schemes which are generally administered by the local authorities. In November 2018, I announced a total of €4.3 million in funding for the Built Heritage Investment Schemeand Historic Structures Fundfor 2019.
The Built Heritage Investment Scheme is a scheme for the repair and conservation of structures on the local authority Record of Protected Structures. It is designed to leverage private capital for investment in small scale conservation projects across the country and to support the employment of skilled conservation professionals, trades persons and craftsmen and women. The Historic Structures Fundis for conservation and enhancement to heritage structures, in both private and public ownership, for the benefit of communities and the public.
Both schemes were open for applications to local authorities until 31 January 2019; full details are available on my Department’s website and on each local authority website. While it would be premature to provide information on applications received at this point, I will be announcing the successful projects under these schemes in the coming weeks.
The Heritage Council, which my Department funds, also provides grants for the protection and preservation of the built heritage. It is primarily a matter for the Heritage Council to decide how its funding should be allocated across the range of research, education and conservation programmes it supports. Grant schemes are advertised by the Heritage Council on its website . Among the initiatives supported by the Heritage Council is The Irish Walled Towns Network, of which Drogheda is a member. I understand that some of the structures referred to by the Deputy have been in receipt of Heritage Council assistance, including financial, in the past.