I thank the Senator for raising the matter. I am sorry to hear of the concerns over the Big Tom statue because I know it was only recently installed in Castleblayney. I saw the television footage of the crowd and of the President attending its unveiling.
The Market House at Castleblayney is a well-known building in Castleblayney's historic town centre which will be familiar to many people. The building is in the ownership and management of Monaghan County Council. It was recorded in my Department's national inventory of architectural heritage and is rated there as of regional importance. As such, it was recommended to Monaghan County Council for inclusion in its record of protected structures and it is a protected structure within the meaning of the Planning and Development Acts.
The role of the Minister 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. Part IV of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, gives primary responsibility to planning authorities to identify and protect the architectural heritage by including particular structures on their record of protected structures. Inclusion on the record of protected structures places a duty of care on the owners and occupiers of protected structures and also gives planning authorities powers to deal with development proposals affecting them and to seek to safeguard their future.
Under section 59 of the Planning and Development Acts, the Minister has no power to serve endangerment notices on protected structures as this is a reserved function of the local authority. As the owner of this protected structure, Monaghan County Council has a duty under section 58 of the Acts to ensure the structure does not become endangered. I am informed there is considerable work under way by the county council to identify a course of action that would see the Market House saved and protected into the future. I understand this will require a very significant investment.
In terms of the support the Minister can offer, her role in regard to protected structures is mainly advisory. The national inventory of architectural heritage in my Department identifies, records and evaluates the post-1700 architectural heritage of Ireland as an aid to its protection and conservation. The Minister recommends structures rated as being of regional importance or above to the planning authorities for inclusion on their record of protected structures. However, the making of an addition to, or a deletion from, a record of protected structures remains a reserved function of the relevant planning authority.
My Department's architectural heritage advisory unit provides advice and support to owners dealing with protected structures and, as in the past, this service remains always available to Monaghan County Council should it find it would be of assistance. My Department also provides financial support for the protection of heritage buildings and historic structures through the historic structures fund and the built heritage investment scheme, which are administered by local authorities. This year, I have allocated €4.3 million in total to these schemes. I understand the scale of investment needed for the Market House would mean that the levels of grant funding available under these schemes might not be sufficient and that the local authority intends to seek funding from other sources.
The Minister provided funding of €1 million in 2018 and again in 2019 for the historic towns initiative, which is a joint initiative of my Department and the Heritage Council. The historic towns initiative supported six historic towns in 2018 in carrying out significant heritage regeneration projects. I understand that Monaghan County Council applied for and was granted €140,000 in funding under the historic towns initiative in 2018 for works to the Market House in Castleblayney to commence the process of stabilising the building, but the application was later withdrawn by the local authority because of its growing appreciation of the scale of the works needed to this building and the likelihood, therefore, that the funding awarded would not have made a significant difference to the future of the building, which needs a much larger scale intervention.
In terms of future funding, Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018-2027 represents a major capital investment scheme of €1.2 billion over the next ten years, which will include increased investment in protecting and celebrating our built heritage across the country. More details on the commencement and completion dates for projects and programmes, as well as the timing of the expenditure in regard to them, will emerge as we go through the process of appraisal and planning as required under the public spending code.
My Department is aware of the significance of this building and its position in the town of Castleblayney. My officials remain available to assist Monaghan County Council in any way possible with its efforts to manage the building and see it returned to a sustainable use that is consistent with its significant history and position in the town. It remains open to Monaghan County Council to apply for funding under any of the built heritage grant schemes that it would find suitable for supporting the various phases of the project, once a plan for the sustainable future of the building has been identified by the local authority.
With regard to Castleblayney, I also welcome the allocation to Monaghan County Council from the Department of Rural and Community Development, under Deputy Ring. That Department's rural regeneration development fund, category 1, grant for Castleblayney enterprise centre, comprises some €2.41 million for a disused site adjacent to Castleblayney town centre, given the great potential this brings to the town.
Perhaps Monaghan County Council has plans to seek funding under the rural scheme, which has a €1 billion fund over ten years. It is now in its second year. I am sure the Senator will liaise with his colleagues on the local authority to see whether Monaghan County Council would be interested in applying for the fund. I cannot pre-empt a grant of funding but making an application to the Department of Rural and Community Development may be a route the local authority could go down.