Written Answers. - Architectural Heritage.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

497 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht and the Islands the restoration works undertaken to Castletown House, Celbridge, County Kildare, to date; the cost of same; the remaining works to be undertaken to the House; the estimated cost of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7967/01]

Phase I of restoration works to the main block of Castletown House was completed in 1995 and involved replacing the entire roof and rebuilding the chimney and parapet. Phase II, which involved mechanical, electrical, fire prevention and security works and structural repairs to secure the fabric of the house, began in January 1997 and was completed in November 1998. Phase III, consisting primarily of structural works, site services and finishes in key areas, was completed prior to the re-opening of the house to the public in April 1999. Phase IV was substantially undertaken last year and included reroofing the colonnades and repairing the front and rear steps, using stone from an Edenderry quarry which was specially reopened to match the existing stonework. In addition a fire main was installed. The west wing of the house is currently being reroofed (Phase V) and is due for completion by the summer of this year. The total cost of these five phases amounts to £7.9 million.

A considerable programme of works remains to be done on a continuing phased basis including interior restoration, improved visitor facilities, parking and works to outbuildings and grounds. In this regard, I am pleased to inform the Deputy that, notwithstanding the substantial funding which I have already allocated to this project to date, I propose to make significant additional funding available to proceed with this programme of works from the funds allocated to me under the National Development Plan 2000-2006. As planning for the programme is done on a phased basis and bearing in mind that the works will take a considerable period of time to accomplish, my Department is not in a position to furnish estimates for completion of the programme at this stage. I can inform the Deputy, however, that the next major project on the agenda is the provision of visitor facilities, which should greatly enhance the attraction of this historic property as a tourist destination of significant importance.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

498 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht and the Islands if all the legal formalities transferring ownership of the relevant portions of Lucan Demesne, County Dublin, to each of the local authorities concerned have now been completed; her views on the delay in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7968/01]

As I have advised previously on several occasions, the position remains that only one of the three local authorities involved, South Dublin County Council, has completed the legal formalities in this case. The delay in completing the process is attributable primarily to concerns of Fingal County Council and to a lesser extent of Kildare County Council. Although these concerns have long since been addressed neither Fingal council nor Kildare County Council has yet completed the transfer documents.

Since acquiring the property in August 1996 both my Department and the Chief State Solicitor's office have done everything in their power to ensure that the transfer of the property is completed as expeditiously as possible.

While my Department has been given to understand that Fingal council and Kildare County Council are now agreeable to completing the legal formalities, it is a matter in the final analysis for both authorities to deliver in this regard and honour the commitments entered into by them in 1996.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

499 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht and the Islands if Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the project for the restoration of Maynooth Castle, Maynooth, County Kildare, were always intended to be separate projects, with Phase 2 only being a possibility; if there were adequate visitor numbers and facilities following Phase 1 of the project; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7969/01]

Initially, restoration of Maynooth Castle was viewed by my Department as a single project. However, resource availability constraints obliged me to take a phased view of the project. Accordingly, in 1999 I approved a first phase of the Maynooth Castle restoration project. As stated in my recent replies to Parliamentary Questions of 7 December 2000 and 6 February 2001, once the castle is open to the public in the second half of 2001 my Department will then be in a position to assess the needs of the site in terms of visitor numbers and facilities and make a determination as to the level, if any, of additional works required to ensure its successful operation. This remains the position.