Heritage Sites

Questions (149)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

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.

Departmental Funding

Questions Nos. 151 and 152 answered with Question No. 143.

Questions (150)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

150. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of applications for grant aid or other forms of financial support received by his Department or bodies under his aegis funded by his Department from applicants in County Kildare; the extent to which it has been found possible to respond positively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18418/14]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

As the Deputy will recall, my Department was established in June 2011. Details of the annual funding allocation to my Department at subhead level are published in the annual Revised Estimates Volume. Through these subheads, my Department administers and delivers a wide range of programmes and measures, descriptions of which are available on its website at http://www.ahg.gov.ie/.

Expenditure under these programme areas is recorded and accounted for on a national basis and it is not possible to give a regional or county-by-county breakdown of that expenditure. For example, a number of my Department’s programmes are delivered through agencies and other intermediary bodies that operate across county boundaries and in respect of which there is no detailed breakdown on a county basis held by my Department. Groups and organisations that receive grants directly from my Department are not typically constituted on a single-county basis.

In view of this and because of the wide range of my Department’s schemes and programmes, and the large volumes of payments and grants involved, it is not possible to provide the information sought. However, if the Deputy has specific queries relating to a particular programme or grant, I will endeavour to provide him with relevant information in that regard.

Questions Nos. 151 and 152 answered with Question No. 143.

National Monuments

Question No. 154 answered with Question No. 147.

Questions (153)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

153. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the potential for the sensitive excavation of collected historical and heritage sites with a view to using such locations as a means to promote interest in Irish history and culture at home and abroad, with specific reference to generating interest in our culture through the education and tourism sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18421/14]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

Funds are allocated each year within my Department’s capital budget for archaeological works arising out of Office of Public Works projects at national monuments in State care. In 2014, €46,000 has been allocated towards these projects to progress them towards report and/or publication stage. The information and knowledge gleaned from such activities makes a significant contribution to our understanding of some of our most important monuments and provides a valuable resource for the professional and educational sectors. In that regard, my Department and the Office of Public Works, which operates visitor services at certain national monuments around the country, are in ongoing contact with a view to keeping visitor service guides informed of the results of the latest research relevant to their particular site.

My Department also provides funding towards grant support for archaeological excavations, which contributes to the generation of knowledge relating to our national heritage that can then be utilised for tourism-related purposes. The Irish National Strategic Archaeological Research Programme is an archaeological research grant, administered by the Heritage Council which was established in 2008 to address a bottleneck in the collation, refinement and dissemination of the vast archaeological resource which had emerged over the previous 5-10 years. A subvention is also made annually to the Royal Irish Academy for excavation research and post excavation research projects, mainly by archaeologists and academics. It produces some very important results for prime tourism locations with Knowth and Newgrange among the excavations funded in past years.

Question No. 154 answered with Question No. 147.

Departmental Bodies

Questions (155, 156)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

155. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if Udarás na Gaeltachta publicly advertised Arramara Teoranta for sale by public tender; the criteria that was outlined for the sale of Arramara Teoranta; the number of bids that were received for the sale of Arramara Teoranta; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18433/14]

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Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

156. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if Údarás na Gaeltachta advertised Arramara Teoranta for sale by public tender; if it did not, the procedure followed in disposing of the company; if he is satisfied that Údarás na Gaeltachta followed the correct procedures in this sale; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18439/14]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 155 and 156 together.

I understand that Údarás na Gaeltachta considered that the most appropriate mechanism was to engage consultants to identify potential strategic partners from the seaweed industry for the future development of Arramara Teo. As a result, Údarás na Gaeltachta engaged consultants in July 2010 to assist in identifying a potential strategic partner for Arramara Teo. for the purpose of securing its future development. This identification process and the negotiations with the potential partners identified took place over the period from July 2010 to February 2013.

I understand from Údarás na Gaeltachta that the process took place in two phases and that the criteria used for selecting a strategic partner were as follows:

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Phase 1

No.

Minimum Requirements

1.

Financial stability supported by a strong balance sheet and capability to raise capital.

Capability to raise capital and ambition to develop and grow Arramara Teo. to its full potential.

2.

Ability, knowledge and experience to realise the potential of Arramara Teo. by enhancing existing product lines with new higher value added products, enhanced manufacturing processes, driving growth and profitability and other initiatives to grow the company.

3.

Ability to enhance and develop local expertise and intellectual property in the sector.

4.

Commitment to local employment and maintaining existing relationships with the community (i.e. employees, harvesters, haulage companies, fishing community, etc.)

5.

Compliance and sensitivity to environmental issues and assurance that any development does not impact negatively on the seaweed resource.

Phase 2

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1. Purchase Price for the Company and Enterprise Value

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2. Funding Capability

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3. Residual Shareholding

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4. Research & Development Capability and New Product Development Capability

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5. Stakeholders - Employees

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- Harvesters

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- Customers

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6. Plant – Remedial Works

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7. Plant – Upgrades/Improvements

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8. Sustainable Harvesting Plan

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9. Sales and Marketing Capability

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10. Engineering and Manufacturing Capability

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I have been informed by Údarás na Gaeltachta that six bids were received from nine potential partners and these were shortlisted to three from which one was chosen. I have also being informed that the board of Údarás was kept informed at every stage of the process from the request for approval to appoint consultants on 30 April 2010 to the request for approval for the sale of its shares in Arramara Teo. on 1 March 2013.

Postcode Implementation

Questions (157)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

157. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if An Post will use the proposed new Capita Ireland postcode; if so, whether it proposes to adjust its sorting technology to use postcodes; the amount this will cost and the person who will pay for it; and if An Post's costs are included in the Government's predicted cost of the postcode. [18281/14]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

An Post have been actively involved in the design process for the national postcode system and are committed to using the new postcode. The postcode will be fully integrated with An Post mails sortation systems and any integration costs will be part of An Post’s overall capital expenditure costs. An Post mails integration costs are not included in the predicted €26m Exchequer cost of introducing a National Postcode System.