Architectural Heritage

Questions (158)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

158. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will confirm if Kiltoghert Creamery, Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim which was established in 1901 is a protected building; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35639/13]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

Part IV of the Planning and Development Acts 2000, as amended, provides for the protection of architectural heritage and gives local planning authorities primary responsibility to identify and protect architectural heritage by including structures on the Record of Protected Structures. The making of an addition to, or a deletion from, the Record of Protected Structures is a reserved function of the relevant planning authorities.

Kiltoghert Creamery, Carrick-on-Shannon is not included on the Record of Protected Structures for County Leitrim and I refer the Deputy to Leitrim County Council as the appropriate body for further information in relation to this structure.

Heritage Council Funding

Questions (159)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

159. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the funding available to develop buildings of historical interest as a specialist museum and interpretive centre in rural areas. [35641/13]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

While there is no capital scheme targeted, per se, at this area, my Department operates an annual grant scheme targeted at regional museums, libraries and galleries. I announced a series of awards under that scheme for 2013 recently. Details of the scheme and the announcement of the awards can be found on www.ahg.gov.ie/cultures/schemes.

Special Areas of Conservation Appeals

Questions (160)

Denis Naughten

Question:

160. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht further to Parliamentary Question No. 348 of 30 April 2013, when the special area of conservation appeal will take place; the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35788/13]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

The appellant in question is one of a number for this Special Area of Conservation who opted for a Stage 2 formal hearing of their case before the Designated Areas Appeals Advisory Board. All of the outstanding objections on this site have now been processed through Stage 1 of the appeals process, and the Board is now in a position to commence the formal appeals process in relation to all Stage 2 appeals. In this context, I understand that the Board has recently written to the person concerned, along with all of the other remaining appellants on this Special Area of Conservation, outlining the procedures of the Board, and requesting the submission of detailed scientific reports in support of the appeals. The Board will also require detailed scientific reports from the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department. Scheduling of formal appeal hearings cannot be done until all of the required reports, etc., are received by the Board.

World Heritage Sites

Questions (161)

John Deasy

Question:

161. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the current status of the tentative list of seven candidate sites submitted to UNESCO for potential World Heritage Site status in March 2010. [35828/13]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

UNESCO sets out a formal process for State signatories to the World Heritage Convention for the purpose of nominating properties on their territory for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List. A particular criterion is for a site to be considered to be of outstanding universal value, defined by UNESCO as meaning of “cultural and or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity.”

The nomination process is initiated by the relevant State authorities drawing up a Tentative List of what they consider to be the most important heritage sites within their national boundaries. Following a public consultation process and consideration by an expert advisory group, a new Tentative List for Ireland was approved and submitted to UNESCO in March 2010 containing the following sites: the Burren; Céide Fields and North West Mayo Boglands; the Monastic City of Clonmacnoise and its Cultural Landscape; the Historic City of Dublin; early Medieval Monastic Sites (Clonmacnoise, Durrow, Glendalough, Inis Cealtra, Kells and Monasterboice); the Royal Sites of Ireland (Cashel, Dún Ailinne, Hill of Uisneach, Rathcroghan Complex, Tara Complex and potentially Navan Fort in Armagh); western Stone Forts (Aran Islands - 7 forts, Cahercommaun, The Burren, Caherconree, Staigue, Benagh and Dingle Peninsula.

The nomination of a property to the World Heritage List is a significant undertaking that requires the development of comprehensive nomination documentation, including a management plan for the property. Following submission of a nomination to UNESCO, it is evaluated by three advisory bodies: the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS); the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM). Once the site has been evaluated, the intergovernmental World Heritage Committee makes the final decision regarding the site’s inclusion on the World Heritage List.

I believe that there are significant economic and cultural benefits to be gained from having additional Irish sites added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list. I also share UNESCO’s view that the nomination process must be driven at a local level and enjoy strong support amongst the communities within the potential world heritage areas. Against that background, in order to further progress the nomination process for the sites on the current Tentative List, I have arranged a seminar in the Autumn for local authorities and relevant local/community groups from areas with sites on the Tentative List.

The objective of the seminar will be to guide and equip participants, in particular the local authorities, to produce the detailed material needed by my Department to support the preparation and submission of substantive applications to UNESCO for World Heritage inscription. The seminar will assemble relevant experts, local authorities and other groups and provide a forum where all elements of applying for and retaining World Heritage status will be explored and explained. My Department will provide all assistance possible to local authorities and communities wishing to progress a site from the Tentative List towards nomination. I expect that, following the Autumn seminar, there will be a substantive basis for advancing one or more sites from the current Tentative List with a view to inscription on the World Heritage list.

Departmental Staff Rehiring

Questions (162)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

162. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of retired civil or public servants who have been retained by his Department, since January 2013, on a short-term contract or consultancy basis where normal abatement rules do not apply. [35838/13]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

I wish to advise the Deputy that no retired civil or public servants have been retained in my Department since January 2013 on either a short term contract or on a consultancy basis where abatement rules do not apply.

Haddington Road Agreement Savings

Questions (163)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

163. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will provide a yearly detailed breakdown of the sectoral measures, and accompanying savings, for the duration of the Haddington Road agreement applicable in his Department and-or non-commercial State sponsored bodies under the aegis of his Department. [35855/13]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

The measures applying to my Department and agencies under the aegis of my Department are set out in the sectoral collective agreement under Haddington Road in respect of the Civil Service and Non-Commercial Semi-State Boards.

As stated by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the Haddington Road Agreement will facilitate a reduction of €1 billion in the public service pay and pensions bill by 2016. In relation to my Department, the savings arising under HRA have been incorporated in the Departments revised estimate for 2013 and further details for 2014 and 2015 will be incorporated in the vote allocation in the context of the overall estimates process.

Industrial Development

Questions (164)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

164. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the measures being taken to support the creative industries particularly in the north west to increase their export potential and grow employment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33519/13]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

In general, the creative industries are considered to encompass advertising, design, fashion, R&D, architecture, crafts, ICT, software, the audiovisual industry, publishing, music and games. The Minister with primary responsibility for the development of these areas is my colleague, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

The creative industries are frequently coupled with the cultural industries and collectively described as the "cultural and creative industries" or CCIs. The CCIs encompass the list above as well as the arts, film, culture and cultural heritage.

In my area of responsibility, funding is generally directed to support the cultural element of the CCIs. It is delivered directly from my Department to many of the national cultural institutions – the National Gallery, the National Museum, the National Archives, the National Concert Hall, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Crawford Gallery, the Chester Beatty Library and to other bodies through the Arts Council and the Irish Film Board. Details of allocations are available in the Annual Estimates Volume and through the websites of the Arts Council and the Irish Film Board www.artscouncil.ie and www.irishfilmboard.ie., respectively.

There are two EU programmes operating in these areas -the Media Programme and the Culture Programme. The Media Programme is the EU support programme for the European audiovisual industry (details available at www.mediadeskireland.ie). The Culture Programme is the EU support programme for organisations working in the field of culture (details available at www.ccp.ie).

A new framework programme for the sector - the Creative Europe Programme - will run from 2014 – 2020. The new programme will amalgamate the current Culture and MEDIA programmes under a common framework and will also create an entirely new facility to improve access to finance. The recent Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union finalised all the details of this new programme and it is expected to be passed into operation shortly.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (165, 166)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

165. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will set out, in tabular form, the expenditure by his Department under subheads A6 and A7 in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35936/13]

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Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

166. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will set out the following information, the name of the specific scheme if any under which each grant of or expenditure of money was made; the separate criteria of each such scheme in each instance; if he will provide this Deputy with a copy of the criteria of each scheme under which grants were made and moneys disbursed; if the criteria of any scheme relevant to expenditure by his Department under sub-head A.6 and A.7 in 2012 are on his Departments website and if in each case will he provide the Uniform Resource Locator address of the specific page on his website where they are available; if he will explain in relation to each scheme under which grants were made and money disbursed under sub-head A.6 and A.7 in 2012, the composition of the body of officials or other persons as well as their qualifications, who either took the funding decision or advised him on the relevant funding decision; if any persons from outside his Department was involved in the funding decisions or advised him on the relevant funding decision that were involved; the criteria by which the persons concerns were chosen and if there was any advertisement inviting persons to put themselves forward for selection to be included in such decision making processes; the appeals mechanism if any in relation to funding decisions under any scheme in operation for the grant and disbursement of moneys from his Department under sub-head A.6 and A.7 in 2012; the criteria for any such appeal; if he will make a copy of same available to this Deputy; if he will state if they are available on his departmental website and if he provide the Uniform Resource Locator address of the specific page on his website where they are available; the composition of the body of persons involved in adjudicating appeals against funding decision(s) or advising him regarding same from persons or organisations who unsuccessfully applied under advertised schemes for funds available from sub-head A.6 and A.7 in 2012; if any persons from outside his Department were involved in adjudicating appeals the funding decisions or advised him on the relevant funding decision were involved; the criteria by which the persons concerned were chosen; if there was any advertisement inviting persons to put themselves forward for selection to be included in such decision making processes; if he will answer separately each part of this question; if there is any reason why he either cannot or will not to provide a separate and distinct answer in relation to that part of the question explaining and setting out the reason that part of this question cannot or will not be answered separately; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35937/13]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 165 and 166 together.

As the Deputy is aware, my Department, which was established in June 2011, administers and delivers a wide range of programmes and measures, descriptions of which are all available on its website at http://www.ahg.gov.ie/.

In view of the wide range of my Department’s schemes and programmes, and the large volumes of payments and grants made on an ongoing basis, it is not possible to compile and collate the information sought by the Deputy in the time available.

However, if the Deputy has specific queries relating to a particular programme or grant, I would be glad to seek to provide him with relevant information in that regard. Similarly, if the Deputy would like specific information in relation to a particular scheme or project, I would be glad to arrange to have any such request from him examined. In the meantime, I have asked my officials to aggregate the information sought.

Fisheries Protection

Questions (167)

John Halligan

Question:

167. Deputy John Halligan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will acknowledge that the Irish inshore fishermen have suffered from restrictions imposed by regulations on the eel fishery industry; his views on whether the social, cultural and historic effects were not taken into consideration at the time of the ban; if he will further acknowledge that the EU Directive responsible for the imposed regulations was in fact initially intended to allow for a 40% escapement of adult silver eels to the sea to spawn and not intended to result in a total ban on eel fishing which was imposed here at the time; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the European Parliament's fisheries Committee has recently rejected a ban proposed by a Green Party activist calling for a complete ban on eel fishing similar to that currently imposed here; if his further attention has been drawn to the fact that the committee subsequently decided to place greater emphasis on using scientific evidence to address declining stocks and that it was agreed that any changes must involve consultations with fishing communities; if he will review the UK's policy to increase silver eel populations to 40% of historic pre 1980's levels with a view to potentially adopting this practice here; his views on whether the original proposals were far too restrictive and commit to considering re-opening the eel fishery here following on from the undertakings given at the time when it was closed to review the position; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35649/13]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I can inform the Deputy that this is a European wide shared eel stock where the sexually maturing eels leave European shores to spawn in the Saragossa Sea and the new generation return as glass eels to the European coastline. The International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) indicated that the European Eel stock is at an all-time historic low and continues to decline. The returning juvenile eels are at between 1-10% of the levels pre-1980.

The eel has a long life cycle - 18 years on average - and the legacy of poor recruitment still has to work through the system and the generations with further declines likely in the medium term. Consequently adequate stock recovery is a longer term goal.

The factors identified as being likely contributors to declining stocks include fisheries, turbine mortality, loss of habitat and also contaminants of eel and introduced parasites. The parasite (Anguillicola ) which infects the swim bladder was introduced into Europe in the late 1970s from Asia and was introduced into Ireland in the 1980s. I am advised that it is highly probable that the parasite will hinder recovery. Management measures will focus on reducing any further spread of the parasite and any stocking which may be considered should avoid as much as possible waters that contain the parasite.

Factors in the ocean may also be influencing the number and quality of spawners reaching the Sargasso Sea to breed and the numbers of glass eel subsequently returning to the coast of Europe.

The EC Regulation (Council Regulation 1100/2007) for the recovery of the European eel stock required Member States to establish Eel Management Plans (EMPs) for implementation in 2009. The objective of each EMP is to reduce anthropogenic mortalities so as to permit with high probability the escapement to the sea of at least 40 % of the silver eel biomass relative to the best estimate of escapement that would have existed if no anthropogenic influences had impacted the stock. The EMPs are required to be prepared with the purpose of achieving this objective.

Under the EC Regulation, Ireland is required to monitor the eel stock, evaluate current silver eel escapement and post-evaluate implemented management actions aimed at reducing eel mortality and increasing silver eel escapement. The Irish EMP, submitted to the EU in January 2009 and accepted by the EU in June 2009, outlined the main management actions aimed at reducing eel mortality and increasing silver eel escapement to the sea. The EMP included two cross-border agreements, with the Neagh Bann IRBD rivers flowing into Carlingford Lough from the Republic of Ireland and into Dundalk Bay being reported in a plan for the Eastern RBD (the Eastern Eel Management Unit) and one transboundary eel management plan in respect of the North Western IRBD and prepared by the then Northern Regional Fisheries Board, the Loughs Agency and Department of Culture Arts and Leisure (DCAL).

The four main management actions in the Irish Eel Management Plan were as follows; cessation of the commercial eel fishery and closure of the market mitigation of the impact of hydropower, including a comprehensive trap and transport plan to be funded by the ESB ensure upstream migration of juvenile eel at barriers, and improvement of water quality. The Irish EMP also outlined a national monitoring programme for sampling catch and surveys of local eel stocks. Appropriate scientific assessment monitors the implementation of the plans.

Given the implications of the scientific advice, the consideration of practical management implications and the conservation and recovery imperative (contingent upon commensurate actions across Europe), the precautionary approach was adopted in accordance with the recommendations of the National Eel Working Group and the eel fishery was ceased.

In 2012, a review of the management of Eel in Ireland was undertaken as required by the EU regulation, including full scientific evaluation and a public consultation conducted by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI). As part of this consultation many issues were raised and considered, full details of the outputs of the public consultation are available via the IFI website. The review of scientific and management advice and inputs from the public consultation resulted in a decision to continue with the cessation of the commercial eel fishery and closure of the market for the period from 2012 to 2015. Ireland’s eel management plan will be reviewed again in 2015.

In relation to the EU Parliament, I understand that Swedish Green MEP Isabella Lovin proposed amendments to the EU regulation. However, as there is a scheduled review of all Member States Management plans being undertaken by the EU Commission in collaboration with the ICES/EIFAAC Eel Working Group, the Parliament concluded that any changes should be based on the results of this review. This review will take into account the management actions proposed by Member States and the actions that were undertaking during the years 2009 to 2011. It is expected that a response from the Eel Working Group and the EU Commission will be available in 2014.

The UK Management plan contains a combination of stocking glass eels, reduced fishing seasons, reducing the effects of barriers by installing eel passes and the introduction of screenings at installations. The review by the EU Commission will evaluate the UK management plans. Advice from the ICES Eel Working Group 2012 report recommends an EU-wide approach to assessing stocking and determining the net benefit to the stock. Stocking is not included as a management action in Ireland’s eel management plan and surplus elver recruits were not identified in the 2009-2011 period to facilitate a stocking programme and it is not envisaged to purchase foreign glass eel during the next three years.