Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (482)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl


482. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if any State funding is available for the replacement of the roof of a church (details supplied) whose main building is 150 years old and whose bell tower is 200 years old in view of the importance of the building to Ireland's built heritage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22988/14]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

Grant funding for the protection of built heritage is provided by my Department via a number of schemes, which are either directly administered or delivered through local authorities and agencies. My Department recently made available a fund of €5 million under the Built Heritage Jobs Leverage Scheme for the repair and conservation of protected structures under the Planning and Development Acts 2000-2012. This fund will support a significant number of projects across the country and employment in the conservation and construction industries. The scheme will operate throughout 2014 and is administered by the local authorities. Although the deadline for applications to the scheme has passed, I would refer the Deputy to the local county council, which will be able to clarify if the church in question might be added to the council’s reserve list of applicants, or if other sources of funding for conservation are available from the council itself. The conservation officer in the county council will generally be able to advise of funding available for conservation works to protected structures in the area in question and it is advisable for interested parties to remain in contact with the council on an ongoing basis.

The Heritage Council, which my Department funds, also operates a community grants scheme. It is primarily a matter for the Heritage Council to allocate its funding appropriately, given competing priorities within the heritage sector. I understand that in 2014 the Council is not providing direct grant aid for protected structures, due to the availability of funding from the Built Heritage Jobs Leverage Scheme. However, the church vestry in question should contact the Heritage Council directly to ascertain if the church is eligible for funding under any of the Heritage Council’s programmes now, or in the future.