Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Questions (624)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

624. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to save a building (details supplied) from destruction. [15329/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

The building mentioned by the Deputy is in the ownership and management of the local authority, and is, in the first instance a matter for it. It is recorded in my Department’s National Inventory of Architectural Heritage and is rated there as of Regional Importance. As such it was recommended to the local authority for inclusion in its Record of Protected Structures and it is a protected structure within the meaning of the Planning and Development Acts.

My role with regard to the protection and management of our architectural heritage is set out in the provisions of relevant legislation, as are the roles of local authorities and the responsibilities of owners.

Part IV of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, gives primary responsibility to planning authorities (i.e. local authorities) to identify and protect the architectural heritage by including particular structures on their 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.

Under Section 59 of the Planning and Development Acts, the serving of endangerment notices on protected structures is a reserved function of the local authority. As the owner of this protected structure, the local authority has a duty under Section 58 of the Acts to ensure the structure does not become endangered. I am informed that there is considerable work underway by the County Council to identify a course of action that would see this element of the town’s history saved and protected into the future. I understand that this will require a significant investment.

In terms of the support that my Department can offer, my role in relation to protected structures is mainly advisory. The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage identifies, records, and evaluates the post-1700 architectural heritage of Ireland, as an aid to its protection and conservation. As Minister, I recommend structures rated as being of regional importance or above to the planning authorities for inclusion on their Record of Protected Structures. However, the making of an addition to, or a deletion from, a Record of Protected Structures remains a reserved function of the relevant planning authority.

My Department also provides financial support for the protection of heritage buildings and historic structures through the Historic Structures Fund (HSF) and the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS), which are administered by local authorities. On Thursday 28 March, I announced funding of €4.3m for 478 projects under these schemes in 2019. Details of these projects and the funding are available on my Department's website and local authority websites.