Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Questions (310)

Ruth Coppinger


310. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if a building (details supplied) will be protected in view of the fact that the building is of historical interest and part of the heritage in the area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7699/18]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

I am aware of concerns locally about the condition of the building in question, which I understand is in private ownership.

My role as Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, in relation to the protection and management of our architectural heritage, is set out in the provisions of relevant legislation as are the role of local authorities and the responsibilities of owners as regards heritage assets.

The main mechanism for the protection of our architectural heritage is inclusion on the Record of Protected Structures (RPS), which is a reserved function of the relevant planning authority. The recording of buildings in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH), which is maintained by my Department, forms the basis of recommendations to local authorities for inclusion of structures on their RPS.

The building mentioned by the Deputy is rated in the NIAH as being of Regional significance. It was recommended for inclusion in the RPS, and has been added to the RPS by the planning authority.  As such, the building is a protected structure within the meaning of the Planning and Development Acts.

Inclusion on the RPS places a duty of care on the owners and occupiers of protected structures. They are legally required to make sure that the structure does not become endangered through neglect, decay, damage or harm.

Inclusion on the RPS also gives planning authorities a number of powers to deal with such structures and safeguard their future. If a protected structure is endangered, the planning authority can serve a notice on the owner or occupier, requiring them to carry out any work that it considers necessary to protect it.

Financial support is provided by my Department through a number of schemes for the conservation and protection of heritage buildings. These schemes are administered via the local authorities and include the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Structures at Risk Fund. Details of the schemes are available on all local authority websites and on my Department’s website.