The level of funding allocated from my Department’s vote to the Heritage Council will be set out in the revised estimate volume which is due to be published shortly. I also hope to be in a position to provide some funding to the Council from my Department's share of the Environment Fund. It will be a matter for the Council to decide how its funding should be allocated across the range of research, education and conservation programmes it supports in 2013 and future years having regard to competing priorities for limited resources.
The scope to provide additional funding for the protection, conservation and development of the State’s heritage is constrained by the current national economic difficulties and the significant reduction in the public finances. Between 2008 and 2011 the level of funding from voted expenditure to the Heritage Council was reduced by 55%. However, my Department will continue to provide funding for the protection, conservation and development of our built and natural heritage, in so far as resources allow. The allocation to the Heritage Council in 2014 will be subject to the normal budgetary processes.