Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (208)

Michael Harty


208. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the Office of Public Works will consider floodlighting Clare Abbey (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21451/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

There are a number of aesthetic and practical considerations involved in deciding whether floodlighting of particular sites is either feasible or appropriate.  The nearby availability of a power source, cost, rural light pollution and the appropriateness of floodlighting isolated sites must all be taken into account.

 The general policy of the Office of Public Works, guided by principles from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, is not to floodlight National Monuments in rural settings, for several reasons, among them;

1) Energy conservation - The benefits of floodlighting any Monument must be balanced against energy conservation policy and sustainable development principles.

2) Light pollution - Light pollution is causing a general diminution in the quality of views of the sky at night and is adding to global warming.

3) Impact on fauna and flora - Strong lights on a building at night can encourage excessive growth of invasive and opportunistic plant growth which, as well as creating additional maintenance work may also damage a Monument.  Nocturnal animals, birds, insects and moths can be disturbed by bright lights.

4) Possibility of anti-social behaviour - In a site such as Clare Abbey, the introduction of floodlighting can attract unwanted visitors. The potential for litter, graffiti and vandalism is increased if a Monument is floodlit.

For these reasons, and also current budgetary constraints, the Office of Public Works does not consider that  floodlighting of Clare Abbey should be installed.