Wednesday, 28 January 2004

Questions (205)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

324 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the grants available for a club based in Carlow town (details supplied). [2405/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

My Department does not directly provide financial support for the restoration of buildings in private ownership. However, the Heritage Council may deploy some of its resources for this purpose. Although my Department funds the Heritage Council, it is an independent statutory body established under the Heritage Act 1995 and I have no function in relation to any decisions by it regarding the disbursal of grants.

The conservation grant scheme for protected structures was introduced in 1999 to assist owners or occupiers of protected structures to undertake necessary works to secure their conservation. The scheme is administered by local authorities, which are allocated a fixed amount of funding for grant purposes in each calendar year. Authorities are required to prioritise applications for assistance on the basis of a scheme of priorities drawn up by them.

Annual allocations for conservation grant schemes are determined having regard to the wider budgetary situation. My Department will continue to monitor the operation and effectiveness of these schemes.

Finally, the owner or occupier of a building which is determined by me to be a building which is intrinsically of significant scientific, historical, architectural or aesthetic interest, and which is determined by the Revenue Commissioners to be a building to which reasonable access is afforded to the public, can apply under section 482 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 for relief in respect of expenditure incurred in the repair, maintenance or restoration of the building. Ultimately, the decision to allow tax relief in respect of an approved building is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners.