My functions, with regard to the protection of our architectural heritage, are set out in the Planning and Development Acts, as are the responsibilities of local authorities and owners.
In relation to the building mentioned by the Deputy, I am aware of the decision by the Office of Public Works (OPW) to dispose of the building. While the sale is a matter for the OPW, and I have no function as Minister, I do understand and appreciate the value such a building would have, particularly to those for whom it has an historic association.
The Planning and Development Acts give primary responsibility to local authorities to identify and protect our architectural heritage by including particular structures on their Record of Protected Structures (RPS). Inclusion on the RPS 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. As the Deputy may be aware, the building mentioned is not on the RPS. Ultimately, the decision as to inclusion of a building or structure on the RPS remains a reserved function of the planning authority, in this case Dublin City Council.
The primary function of the National Monuments Acts is to record and protect ancient sites and features. The focus of the Acts is on archaeological remains and traces and does not generally extend to more modern buildings and structures. Accordingly, while the Model School is undoubtedly of local interest and importance, it is not included in, nor would it be appropriate for inclusion in, the statutory Record of Monuments and Places maintained by my Department.