Wednesday, 6 November 2019
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
234. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which reinstatement or preservation works are proposed or are in hand in respect of buildings of cultural or historical significance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45787/19]
My role with regard to the protection and management of our architectural heritage is set out in the provisions of relevant legislation, as are the roles of local authorities and the responsibilities of owners.
In this instance I understand that the Deputy is asking primarily about supports provided by my Department for buildings of historical significance. My Department provides financial support for the protection of heritage buildings and historic structures through the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) and the Historic Structures Fund (HSF), administered by the local authorities. This year, my Department awarded €2.5 million to 408 projects under the BHIS and €1.824 million to 70 projects under the HSF.
I will shortly be announcing details of the Historic Structures Fund 2020 and the Built Heritage Investment Scheme 2020.
Details of these schemes, including the amounts being allocated to each local authority are published on my Department’s website and on local authority websites.
In 2019, my Department has provided €350,000 of funding to the OPW to assist in the conservation and presentation of historic buildings and national monuments in State ownership. My Department’s National Monuments Service works in close collaboration with the OPW on survey, excavation and research work to optimise the protection, management, interpretation and presentation of national monuments in State care.
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 annually, having regard to competing priorities for limited resources. Grant schemes are advertised by the Heritage Council on its website, www.heritagecouncil.ie.
235. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of round towers in existence nationally; if each is in good or restorable condition; her plans to address issues arising; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45788/19]
Details of eighty six round towers are included in the records maintained by my Department under the National Monuments Acts. Those that form part of national monuments in my ownership or guardianship, as Minister, are conserved and managed on a day-to-day basis by the Office of Public Works which ensures their long-term preservation and protection. Round towers that comprise national monuments in the ownership of local authorities are the responsibility of the relevant local authority. Works at or in their vicinity of any national monument may only be conducted with the formal consent of the Minister under section 14 of the National Monuments Act 1930 (as amended).
Other round towers may also be in local authority ownership, or may be in the ownership of other organisations or individuals. The upkeep of such structures is the responsibility of the relevant owners and anyone proposing works to them must give my Department two months' notice prior to commencement. 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. The Heritage Council, which my Department funds, also provides grants for the protection and preservation of our architectural heritage.
As they are a distinctively and primarily Irish monument type, round towers have attracted study and care from antiquarian times. I am advised that, because of this longterm interest in and commitment to their conservation, the condition of round towers generally is amongst the best of all monument types.