Thursday, 17 April 2014

Questions (149)

Bernard Durkan


149. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which he continues to monitor heritage buildings-sites deemed to be at risk throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18417/14]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

In relation to heritage buildings or sites deemed to be at risk, as referred to previously in my reply to Questions No. 111 and 112 of 29 January 2014, there are a number of ways in which my Department is made aware of possible risk, one of these being the receipt of applications for funding for the repair, conservation, preservation or safeguarding of protected structures, sites or monuments. In that regard, I recently approved in principle funding of almost €5 million under the Built Heritage Jobs Leverage Scheme for the repair and conservation of 618 structures protected under the Planning and Development Act 2000-2012. These structures were assessed by the local authorities based on criteria set out by my Department, including the significance of the structure, the employment benefits of the project, and the medium to long-term effectiveness of the proposed works in eliminating risks and preventing further deterioration of the structures. In addition, my Department often receives information relating to existing or potential risks to protected structures, sites and monuments from local authorities, the Heritage Council, heritage-based NGOs and members of the public.

Part IV of the Planning and Development Acts 2000-2012 provides for the protection of the architectural heritage. The Act gives primary responsibility to planning authorities to identify and protect the architectural heritage by including relevant structures on the 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.