Planning Issues

Questions (244)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

244. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the way in which the planning guidelines and regulations for build to rent apartments and co-living developments differ from standard multi-unit apartment developments; and the guidance being given to local authorities and An Bord Pleanála on planning applications for built to rent and-or co-living developments. [24532/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

In 2018, I published updated Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments Guidelines for Planning Authorities under Section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended), to respond to the changing housing needs in light of demographics and the dynamics in the urban employment market.  An extensive public consultation process took place prior to finalisation of the guidelines, during which 63 submissions were made to my Department.  My Department also hosted a consultative workshop prior to finalisation of the guidelines. 

The guidelines are available on my Department’s website.  Circular Letters FPS 02-2017 and FPS 03-2018 to local authorities in relation to the publication and implementation of the draft and final guidelines respectively and these are also available on my Department's website at: www.housing.gov.ie.

Chapter 5 of the guidelines addresses the new and emerging 'build to rent' (BTR) and 'shared accommodation' (or 'co-living') sectors and sets out a number of key distinct characteristics of each type of accommodation and the planning requirements for both.  Specific Planning Policy Requirements (SPPR) are set out in relation to BTR (SPPR 8) and Shared Accommodation (SPPR 9) and specific technical specifications are set out in Appendix 1 to the guidelines. 

BTR projects are usually a single entity investment for long term rental undertaking, comprising individual residential units within the development that are not sold off separately for private ownership and/or subsequent sub-letting individually, which is a key difference from the traditional housing development model. The guidelines provide for planning permission for specific BTR developments to be sought from a planning authority. Where such a planning permission is sought the proposed development must also include the provision of dedicated amenities and facilities specifically for residents in terms of communal recreational space, work spaces and cooking/dining facilities as well as a range of other support services such as laundry facilities, concierge and management, or repair and maintenance.  BTR projects are subject to Part V obligations and developers must engage with the planning authorities to mutually agree on the best way to discharge this obligation.

Shared Accommodation projects are professionally managed rental accommodation arranged around individual rooms, rather than apartment units, within an overall development that includes access to shared or communal facilities and amenities dedicated for use by residents only. This distinct accommodation type can be compatible with the dynamics in the urban employment market – for example, their use by new employees arriving in urban areas and seeking short term accommodation during an establishment or local acclimatisation period that may be longer than a few weeks. Shared Accommodation may also be used innovatively to provide accommodation within protected structures in order to ensure their long term rehabilitation and to address sensitive architectural constraints of protected building.

Due to the distinct nature and features of Shared Accommodation type development, it is only appropriate where responding to an identified urban housing need at particular locations. In this regard the obligation is on the proposer of a shared accommodation scheme to demonstrate to the planning authority that their proposal is based on accommodation need and to provide a satisfactory evidential base accordingly.

Shared accommodation units are not normally  subject to Part V requirements because such developments would not be suitable for social housing given that they are not provided as individual self-contained residential units.

While I am satisfied that the Guidelines as issued are robust, given the relatively new nature of this form of accommodation, my Department will monitor this emerging sector and may issue further additional technical updates to this document as appropriate.

Home Loan Scheme

Questions (245)

Clare Daly

Question:

245. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the options available to a couple who apply for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme in circumstances in which one of the married persons is employed and earning a wage and therefore eligible to apply and the other is self-employed since May 2017 with tax returns completed, but not certified for a period of two years; if they can be approved for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme with particular reference to the fact that they can demonstrate that they have been paying a rent of over €1,700 a month for a period of two and a half years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24548/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan was made available from 1 February 2018.  The loan enables credit worthy first time buyers to access sustainable mortgage lending to purchase new or second-hand properties. The low rate of fixed interest associated with the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan provides first time buyers with access to mortgage finance that they may not otherwise have been able to afford at a higher interest rate.

As part of the eligibility criteria for a Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan applicants must:

- be in continuous employment for a minimum of two years, as the primary earner or be in continuous employment for a minimum of one year, as a secondary earner

- have an annual gross income of not more than €50,000 as a single applicant or not more than €75,000 combined as joint applicants

- submit two years certified accounts if self-employed

In terms of self-employed applicants, Section 3.3 of the credit policy, which underpins the scheme, states that income details provided by the applicants must be supported by the following:

- Minimum of two years accounts with an Accountant's or Auditor's Report (a qualified report is not acceptable) from a suitably qualified practitioner (ACCA/FCA/CPA/IPA) along with an up to date tax balancing statement for the company/business.

- Minimum of 12 months most recent personal current account bank statements and a minimum of 12 months most recent business current account statements verifying net income, and 12 months most recent statements verifying savings.

Decisions on individual loan applications are a matter for each local authority's Credit Committee.

Creative Ireland Programme

Questions (246)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

246. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the status of the Creative Ireland programme; her plans to extend the programme to include a broader range of traditional craft heritage; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24590/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

The Creative Ireland Programme is a five-year all-of-government, culture-based initiative, led by my Department, that emphasises the importance of human creativity for individual, community and societal wellbeing.  

The vision of the Creative Ireland Programme is to position creativity at the heart of public policy, to enable, encourage and enhance collaboration and innovation, and to create opportunities for all citizens to engage with all forms of creative activity.  In this regard, when we talk about "creativity", it is in its widest possible sense including traditional craft based activities.

In encouraging new ways and means to explore, express and engage with our natural creativity, the Creative Ireland Programme aims to give autonomy to partners (such as local authorities, community groups and schools) to decide on the creative activities that speak to their strengths, preferences and local traditions - including traditional and heritage crafts.

Under both Pillars 1 and 2 of the Programme, a full range of creative activities and pursuits are supported - whether that be in what can be considered traditional artforms (such as drama, music of the visual arts), through embracing new and innovate forms of creativity (such as coding) or through new ways to engage with and explore our traditional and heritage craft activities.  Indeed, many of the initiatives and events that have been developed and supported through the Creative Ireland Programme have embraced or been influenced by traditional crafts and local heritage.

The main source of funding for local community events and activities under the Creative Ireland Programme is Pillar 2 - 'Enabling Creativity in Every Community'.  In 2019, total funding of €3m has been allocated to all 31 local authorities (approximately €96,000 each) to enable them to support an extensive programme of activities, events and initiatives in each county.  Each local authority has established a Creative Ireland Co-ordinator and a local Culture Team to manage and allocate this funding in accordance with local needs and in line with their own, individual 5-year Culture and Creativity Strategy. The projects funded cover a broad range of topics including archaeology, architecture, biodiversity, crafts, heritage, drama, dance, literature, music, storytelling and the visual arts. 

In addition to this core funding, the Creative Ireland Programme has also allocated €15,000 to each local authority outside of Dublin and €75,000 each to the four local authorities in Dublin to develop a special programme of events for Cruinniú na nÓg – the national day of creativity for children and young people.  Cruinniú na nÓg is taking place on 15th June 2019 and includes a range of traditional heritage based activities for all ages and full details of the Programme can be found on the Creative Ireland Programme website.

Irish Language

Questions (247)

Hildegarde Naughton

Question:

247. Deputy Hildegarde Naughton asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the detail of the new scheme for funding third level students to visit the Gaeltacht to improve their Irish; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24209/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that I recently announced the establishment of a new fund worth €250,000, by which third-level students will be provided with the opportunity to live with Gaeltacht families for three months while attending a recognised third- level course for the duration of an entire semester.

Under the new fund, a subsidy worth €17 per day will be payable to Gaeltacht households who are registered under my Department’s Irish Language Learner’s Scheme (Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge). This subvention equates to an overall subsidy of approximately €1,428 per student per semester.

This measure which is being introduced with effect immediately is expected to accommodate up to 175 students per annum initially and represents significant progress in the implementation of measures 2.13, 2.15 and 2.19 of the Government’s Action Plan 2018-2022 for the Irish Language, which was launched in June 2018.

The fund also represents a practical step forward in seeking to further build capacity within the public service insofar as the provision of services through Irish are concerned.

The three-month language immersion period will be directed towards third-level students:

- who have Irish as a core subject in their university student programme (for example B.A. in Irish or B. Comm with Irish) or:

- for whom Irish is not a core subject but who require a high level of competency in Irish in order to work in professions in the public service, in particular in which engagement with the Irish speaking community through Irish is required.

I should also point out that my Department intends to ensure, insofar as is possible and practical, and in collaboration with prospective third-level institutes, that courses are organised having regard to an appropriate geographic spread across Gaeltacht regions.

Invasive Fish Species

Questions (248)

Tom Neville

Question:

248. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the steps she is taking to deal with the threat from invasive wildlife species including crayfish in the River Maigue near Adare, County Limerick. [24408/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

I take it that the question relates to the confirmation of crayfish plague disease in the River Maigue recently.

The White-clawed crayfish is considered a native freshwater species but is very vulnerable to infection by a fungus-like organism Aphanomyces astaci which  is microscopic and invisible to the naked eye and is only viable in water. It is completely harmless to people, pets, livestock and all other freshwater organisms.  It is however a threat to the White-clawed crayfish, and has decimated crayfish populations in 7 rivers in Ireland since 2015.

The disease is carried by American crayfish species which are now widespread in the UK and Europe but which to date have not been recorded in Ireland. The vector for the disease in Ireland is therefore unknown but is most likely to be transport of spores on fishing gear, recreational craft or equipment used by persons working in or using the rivers for recreation.

My Department is cooperating very closely with the Fish Health Unit in the Marine Institute to investigate all reports of the disease in crayfish and test rivers where crayfish occur. The Institute has the expertise to identify the disease and use DNA testing to determine the particular strain of the disease. We also work closely with the Local Authorities LAWPRO units, Inland Fisheries Ireland, OPW and other relevant bodies.

Our particular focus has been to request all users to observe strict biosecurity and to follow the "Check Clean Dry " protocols which prevent spore transfer.

However the high usage of rivers and "blueways" and the wide range of users, many of whom travel here from overseas, make it enormously difficult to prevent movement of spores.

My Department is considering the possibility of "ark sites" which would be self contained water bodies where all access could be strictly controlled but this consideration  is at an early stage.

Crayfish Plague

Creative Ireland Programme

Questions (249)

Tom Neville

Question:

249. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the details of the events planned for Cruinniú na nÓg 2019 in Limerick city and county. [24416/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

Cruinniú na nÓg is a flagship initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme’s Creative Youth plan to enable the creative potential of children and young people. Ireland is the first, and only, country in the world to have a national day of free creativity for children and young people under 18.

The inaugural Cruinniú na nÓg took place on 23rd June 2018 with over 500 events taking place in cities, towns and villages across the country.

This year’s event will take place on Saturday 15 June 2019.  Details of the almost 750 events are available on https://cruinniu.creativeireland.gov.ie/events/.  Events for Limerick City and County can be found by filtering for ‘Limerick’ in the ‘Select your Location’ section of the Events page.

Creative Ireland Programme

Questions (250)

Pat Deering

Question:

250. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the plans in place for children in counties Carlow and Kilkenny to participate in the 2019 Cruinniú na nÓg festival; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24516/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

Cruinniú na nÓg is a flagship initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme’s Creative Youth plan to enable the creative potential of children and young people. Ireland is the first, and only, country in the world to have a national day of free creativity for children and young people under 18.

The inaugural Cruinniú na nÓg took place on 23rd June 2018 with over 500 events taking place in cities, towns and villages across the country.

This year’s event will take place on Saturday 15th June 2019.  Details of the almost 750 events are available on https://cruinniu.creativeireland.gov.ie/events/.  Events for Carlow and Kilkenny can be found by filtering for ‘Carlow’ or ‘Kilkenny’ in the ‘Select your Location’ section of the Events page.

Departmental Funding

Questions (251)

Pat Deering

Question:

251. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the local festivals and summer schools her Department is supporting in counties Carlow and Kilkenny through the 2019 scheme. [24517/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

My Department ran a Small Scale Local Festivals and Summer Schools funding scheme, applications for which closed on 19th April 2019. €75,000 was allocated to this scheme with maximum funding of €5,000 available per applicant.  Grants are awarded on a competitive assessment basis.

There as unprecedented demand for this scheme in 2019 with 109 applications received (there were 71 in 2018 and 20 in 2017, the latter being the first year of the scheme).

It is my intention to announce the results of the 2019 Small Scale Local Festivals and Summer Schools Scheme in the coming week and details of allocations will be published thereafter on my Department's website at www.chg.gov.ie/arts/culture/grants-and-funding/small-scale-local-festivals-summer-schools/.

Heritage Projects

Questions (252)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

252. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which she expects to support community heritage groups at local level in the remainder of 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24549/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

My Department provides financial support for the protection of heritage buildings and historic structures through the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) and the Historic Structures Fund (HSF), formerly the Structures at Risk Fund (SRF), which are administered by local authorities.  On 28 March this year I announced funding of €4.3 million to 478 projects under these schemes. While the closing dates for applications have now passed, my Department will remain in close contact with local authorities throughout the year to ensure the best possible use is made of all funds.

My Department’s  Creative Ireland Programme is a five-year all-of-government, culture-based initiative, led by my Department, that emphasises the importance of human creativity for individual, community and societal wellbeing. The vision of the Creative Ireland Programme is to position creativity at the heart of public policy, to enable, encourage and enhance collaboration and innovation, and to create opportunities for all citizens to engage with all forms of creative activity.

In encouraging new ways and means to explore, express and engage with our natural creativity, the Creative Ireland Programme aims to give autonomy to partners (such as local authorities and community groups) to decide on the creative activities that speak to their strengths, preferences and local traditions.

The main source of support for community-based activities under the Creative Ireland Programme is Pillar 2 - 'Enabling Creativity in Every Community'.  In 2019, a total of €3m has been allocated to all 31 local authorities (€96,000 each approximately) to enable them to support an extensive programme of activities, events and initiatives in each county.  In 2018, over 1,200 events took place across all local authorities.  Each local authority has established a Creative Ireland Co-ordinator and a local Culture Team to manage and allocate this funding in accordance with local needs and in line with their individual 5-year Culture and Creativity Strategies.

Projects funded include arts projects, grant schemes, concerts, conferences, exhibitions, festivals, outreach projects, publications, research programmes, and workshops among other activities. They cover topics such as archaeology, architecture, biodiversity, crafts, heritage, dance, film, history, literature, music, photography, poetry, storytelling, theatre and the visual arts.

The Heritage Council, which my Department funds, also provides grants for the protection and preservation of the built heritage.  It is primarily a matter for the Heritage Council to decide how its funding should be allocated across the range of research, education and conservation programmes it supports annually, having regard to competing priorities for limited resources.  Grant schemes for 2019 are advertised by the Heritage Council on its website www.heritagecouncil.ie. 

The Historic Towns Initiative (HTI), additionally, is a joint undertaking between my Department and the Heritage Council. It is a capital funding scheme to provide support to historic towns engaged in a programme of heritage-led regeneration. Local authorities must match any contribution awarded under the scheme. Earlier this year, along with the Heritage Council, I announced funding of €1 million, to be shared by six towns under the 2019 programme. These towns are Kilrush, Letterkenny, Ballina, Navan, Boyle and Nenagh. 

Inland Waterways Maintenance

Questions (253)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

253. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which she continues to liaise with Waterways Ireland in order to address outstanding issues arising in respect of canal property and local interests; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24550/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

Representatives from my Department meet with Waterways Ireland on a regular basis through formal Monitoring Committee meetings which address set agenda items as well as any other business including issues relating to the canal network.  My Department also liaises with Waterways Ireland on an on-going basis outside of these meetings on other matters that arise. 

Waterways Ireland continues to work closely with boat owners using the canals, adjacent land owners and local committees.  Meetings are also held with the key stakeholder interest groups, the Royal Canal Amenity Group, Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) and the Heritage Boat Association (HBA).

Waterways Ireland Operational staff, lockkeepers and waterway patrollers meet canal users on a daily basis and provide a wide range of services to all our recreational users.

In addition, Waterways Ireland works alongside the Friends of the Grand Canal and Royal Canal Clean-Up Group in Dublin and the newly established Grand Canal Dock Group, who like many of the communities throughout the waterways support the maintenance of our waterways.

Heritage Sites

Questions (254, 257)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

254. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which her Department has monitored the number of semi-derelict or derelict castles or historical buildings in need of extra preservation nationally; her plans for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24551/19]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

257. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which she continues to liaise with the Office of Public Works to ensure that heritage sites and buildings continue to be protected and when necessary sealed to prevent water damage; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24554/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 254 and 257 together.

My role, as Minister, 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 of heritage assets.

Part IV of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, provides for the protection of architectural heritage. The Act gives primary responsibility to planning authorities to identify and protect the architectural heritage by including relevant structures on the 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.

I also have a role, as Minister, as a prescribed body under the Planning and Development Regulations 2001-2015 whereby development proposals that may impact on our built heritage are referred by planning authorities to my Department so that recommendations can be made, as appropriate, to avoid or mitigate any such impacts.

My Department has a number of measures at its disposal to facilitate the maintenance and restoration of historical or cultural sites. As Minister, I am the owner or guardian under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2014 of approximately 1,000 national monuments located at approximately 750 sites and in such cases there is a statutory duty to maintain the national monument. Such maintenance is undertaken by the Office of Public Works (OPW). Local authorities are responsible under the National Monuments Acts for maintaining the national monuments of which they are owners or guardians.

My Department’s National Monuments Service works in close collaboration with the OPW on survey, excavation and research work to optimise the protection, management, interpretation and presentation of national monuments in State care.

The National Monuments Service of my Department provides archaeological advice to the OPW on a routine basis and also with regard to the OPW Flood Relief Scheme, to ensure the appropriate protection of archaeology in the context of flood relief. All works at or in the vicinity of a national monument – to include any works to mitigate water damage - are required to be notified to the Department, which ensures that appropriate controls are put in place for the protection of the site.

Officials of my Department meet regularly with their OPW counterparts to devise and agree shared policy approaches to areas of mutual interest, to review operational priorities while also working closely together on a day-to-day basis in relation to individual projects.

Under the provisions of the National Monuments Acts, my Department has established and maintains the Record of Monuments and Places, which affords legal protection to all recorded archaeological sites and monuments in the State. Anyone proposing works to, at or in the vicinity of a monument that is included in the Record of Monument and Places must give the Department two months prior notice before works can start.

My Department also provides financial support for the protection of heritage buildings and historic structures through the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) and the Historic Structures Fund (HSF), both administered by local authorities.

The Built Heritage Investment Scheme is a scheme for the repair and conservation of structures that are on the local authority Record of Protected Structures. It is designed to leverage private capital for investment in small scale conservation projects across the country and to support the employment of skilled conservation professionals. The Historic Structures Fund 2019 is for conservation and enhancement to heritage structures and historic buildings, in both private and public ownership, for the benefit of communities and the public.

On 28 March, I announced funding of €4.3 million to 478 projects under these schemes, of which €104,000 was awarded to projects in County Kildare.

Receipt of applications for both the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund is now closed, however on-going queries can be addressed to all respective local authorities who implement both schemes.

The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage is a state initiative to identify, record, and evaluate the post-1700 built heritage of Ireland, uniformly and consistently as an aid to its protection and conservation. The NIAH building surveys provide the basis for my recommendations, as Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, to the planning authorities for the inclusion of particular structures in their Record of Protected Structures. The published surveys are a source of information on the selected structures for relevant planning authorities. They are also a research and educational resource.

Archaeological Sites

Questions (255)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

255. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans for archaeological excavation of historical sites that have not been investigated to date with particular reference to encouragement of local interest in such projects from both a tourism and archaeological point of view; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24552/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

My function as Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in relation to archaeological excavation is to regulate this activity through the licensing system under section 26 of the National Monuments Act 1930, as amended. So far this year over 500 such licences have been issued. The majority of archeological excavations are carried out by private sector archaeological consultants for the purpose of assessing the impact of proposed development on possible archaeological features or mitigating the impact of development on archaeological heritage.  Others are undertaken for conservation or research purposes.  

In deciding whether to grant an archaeological excavation licence, appropriate consideration is given by my Department to the need to maintain the integrity of affected archaeological sites.  All archaeological excavation licences are granted subject to conditions requiring the excavations to be conducted to an appropriate standard and that reports on the results are furnished to my Department's National Monuments Service. They are published by the Department on the archeology.ie website as a reference and resource for research and educational purposes.

Market research clearly demonstrates that culture and heritage form an increasing share of the reasons why tourists come to Ireland. This is also true of domestic tourism and is reflected in the increasing visitor numbers at all our publicly accessible heritage sites and facilities.

My Department fully supports the appropriate conservation of Ireland’s heritage sites, both as important assets in their own right and to optimise their contribution to economic development and tourism promotion.  The Department is in regular and ongoing contact with the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Fáilte Ireland to agree and devise shared priorities and policy approaches with respect to the management of these sites and their presentation to visitors.

The OPW is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of monuments in state care as well as any visitor services at these monuments. These services receive approximately 6 million visitors a year. In addition, my Department is providing €350,000 of funding to OPW in 2019 to assist in the conservation and presentation of historic buildings and national monuments in State ownership.  The Department’s National Monuments Service works in close collaboration with OPW on survey, excavation and research work to optimise the protection, management, interpretation and presentation of national monuments in State care.

My Department also supports a programme of research excavations through the Standing Committee for Archaeology in the Royal Irish Academy.

In terms of future funding, Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018 – 2027 represents a major capital investment scheme of €1.2 billion in funding over the next 10 years as part of Project Ireland 2040. This plan will see increased investment in protecting and celebrating our heritage across the country. More details on the commencement and completion dates for projects and programmes, as well as the timing of the expenditure in relation to them, will emerge as we go through the process of appraisal and planning as required under the Public Spending Code.

The vision for heritage is a simple one - that heritage is valued and protected. Heritage Ireland 2030 is built around that vision: that the way in which we identify and protect our heritage is the best it can be. Heritage Ireland 2030 will support local communities in caring for their heritage and will also recognise the increasingly important role that local authorities play in protecting and managing heritage for the enjoyment and benefit of all. It will help ensure Ireland's heritage management structures meet modern requirements and comply with EU and international obligations. It will promote greater appreciation and understanding of the immense intrinsic value of Ireland's rich heritage including its natural and built heritage resources and highlight heritage as a valuable amenity for communities, farming, business and tourism. It will aim to place heritage at the heart of decision making and integrate key heritage protection and management principles in the work of all Government Departments.

Cultural Policy

Question No. 257 answered with Question No. 254.

Questions (256)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

256. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which she continues to support various community based cultural activities nationally; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24553/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

The Creative Ireland Programme is a five-year all-of-government, culture-based initiative, led by my Department, that emphasises the importance of human creativity for individual, community and societal wellbeing. 

The vision of the Creative Ireland Programme is to position creativity at the heart of public policy, to enable, encourage and enhance collaboration and innovation, and to create opportunities for all citizens to engage with all forms of creative activity.

In encouraging new ways and means to explore, express and engage with our natural creativity, the Creative Ireland Programme aims to give autonomy to partners (such as local authorities and community groups) to decide on the creative activities that speak to their strengths, preferences and local traditions.

The main source of support for community-based activities under the Creative Ireland Programme is Pillar 2 - 'Enabling Creativity in Every Community'.  In 2019, a total of €3m has been allocated to all 31 local authorities (€96,000 each approximately) to enable them to support an extensive programme of activities, events and initiatives in each county.  In 2018, over 1,200 events took place across all local authorities.  Each local authority has established a Creative Ireland Co-ordinator and a local Culture Team to manage and allocate this funding in accordance with local needs and in line with their individual 5-year Culture and Creativity Strategies.

Projects funded include arts projects, grant schemes, concerts, conferences, exhibitions, festivals, outreach projects, publications, research programmes, and workshops among other activities. They cover topics such as archaeology, architecture, biodiversity, crafts, heritage, dance, film, history, literature, music, photography, poetry, storytelling, theatre and the visual arts.

Under Pillar 1 of the Programme, the Creative Youth Plan aims to enable the creative potential of every child and young person.  While the Creative Schools project is a flagship of this Pillar, the Creative Youth Plan also seeks to support a range of projects and initiatives that engage with children in a non-formal, community-based environment outside of school.

Question No. 257 answered with Question No. 254.

Performing Arts

Questions (258)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

258. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which her Department directly or through the aegis of bodies under the remit of her Department continue to assist community based groups and organisations involved in musical or theatrical productions nationally with a view to maximising interest in the arts at local level; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24555/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

The Creative Ireland Programme is a culture-based whole-of-Government programme led by my Department and designed to promote individual, community and national wellbeing. Its core proposition is that participation in cultural activity drives personal and collective creativity, with significant implications for individual and societal wellbeing and achievement.

 In 2018, under Creative Ireland Pillar II - 'Enabling Creativity in Every Community', my Department allocated a sum €2m while the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government allocated a sum of €1m to the 31 local authorities (€96,000 each approximately) to enable them support an extensive programme of activities, events and initiatives in each county.

 Last year, over 500 different initiatives around Ireland were funded under Pillar II. These included arts projects, grant schemes, concerts, conferences, exhibitions, festivals, outreach projects, publications, research programmes, and workshops among other activities. They cover topics such as archaeology, architecture, biodiversity, crafts, heritage, dance, film, history, literature, music, photography, poetry, storytelling, theatre and the visual arts.

 These activities form part of each local authority's five-year Culture & Creative Strategies which were launched by me, An Taoiseach and the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government on the 12 September 2018. I am delighted to report that funding under Pillar II has been approved this year again and that this level of funding has been maintained.

 Additional funding of approximately €650k was also allocated to the local authorities in 2018 to enable them to deliver Cruinniú na nÓg on 23 June 2018 which celebrated and encouraged children and young people’s participation in culture and creativity through performance, coding, theatre, art and music workshops, readings, screenings, special events and much more.

 Annual funding is provided to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ) for its work in the protection and promotion of Irish traditional music and culture. CCÉ provides weekly classes at community level in all traditional instruments, singing, and dance through its network of centres and branches all over the country.

 My Department also provides funding for the purchase of equipment under the Music Capital Scheme to performing groups and individual talented musicians nationwide. Support of €270,250 was recently under Scheme for 2018/19. The Scheme is managed by Music Network on behalf of my Department.

 The Arts Council which is funded by my department also has a number of schemes and initiatives around the support of music and drama. Details of these can be accessed on its website at the following link: www.artscouncil.ie. Funding for the Arts Council has increased in recent years and now stands at €75 million in 2019, an increase of €6.8m or 10% over 2018.

Creative Schools is a flagship initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme to enable the creative potential of every child. Creative Schools is led by the Arts Council in partnership with the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Creative Schools draws on the commitments set out in the Arts in Education Charter. Creative Schools will give expression to this goal as part of an integrated implementation plan for arts in education. Creative Schools aims to understand, develop and celebrate the arts, as a core aspect of school life, and to foster children and young people’s creativity and participation in the arts as an integral part of their education in Ireland. It will establish a range of collaborative opportunities for schools and will develop and strengthen the relationships between schools and the broader cultural and community infrastructure within which they operate. The long-term aim is for every school to be supported to fully embrace the arts and creativity, ensuring a positive experience and strong outcomes for children and young people.

 The Arts and Culture Capital Scheme 2016 - 2018 is focused on the refurbishment and enhancement of the existing stock of arts and culture facilities throughout the country. To date, funding of €10.214m has been allocated to 134 projects under three complementary grant streams. This is the most significant investment in cultural infrastructure in a decade with funding provided to a range of facilities, including arts centres, theatres, galleries and museums, as well as artists’ studios and creative spaces. The Arts and Culture Capital Scheme is making a huge difference to many individual organisations and my Department is already seeing good outcomes and receiving positive feedback. My Department is currently giving consideration to new round of grant funding for Arts and Cultural Capital to be announced in the near future.

Arts Funding

Questions (259)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

259. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which the arts sector continues to attract support from philanthropists; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24556/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

Private support for the arts is an important funding source and the Government continues to support this through tax incentives and other initiatives. While my Department does not have a breakdown of the total flows of philanthropic funding to the sector, the Programme for a Partnership Government does contain a commitment to encourage strong, mutually beneficial links between the business community and the arts community to assist arts organisations to capitalise on sponsorship opportunities and to develop business partnerships and fundraising skills.  In this regard, I recognise the important work carried out by Business to Arts for which my Department provides assistance.

In addition, the Arts Council, which is funded by my Department, operates the RAISE programme, which seeks to enhance fund-raising skills in arts organisations with a view to diversifying the sector's sources of funding.  It is designed to assist the sector in securing philanthropic contributions to the arts in Ireland.    

In terms of other capital investment requiring co-funding, a €10 million investment scheme for arts and cultural centres is in progress, focussed on upgrading the existing stock of such centres around the country.  The funding, which is being made available as part of the Capital Investment Framework 2016-2021, is dependent on matching funding being secured by project promoters and therefore provides an opportunity for philanthropic support.

In addition, Project Ireland 2040 provides for investment of €460m in a significant number of capital projects in our National Cultural Institutions over the next 10 years and states that individual cultural institutions will be raising their own contributions (typically around 10%-15% of project costs) through philanthropic effort.

Arts Funding

Questions (260)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

260. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which her support for the arts sector continues to result in continued activity and employment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24557/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

In 2019, funding of €339 million was allocated for developing culture, heritage and the Irish language. This is an increase of €36 million, or 12%, on that for the previous year.

Primary support for the Arts is delivered through the Arts Council, who’s funding has increased in recent years and now stands at €75 million in 2019, an increase of €6.8m or 10% over 2018.  The Arts Council, which is independent in its funding decisions under the Arts Act 2003, operates within a published 10 year strategic framework entitled Making Great Art Work.  This strategy prioritises support for artists throughout their careers, by the involvement of many agencies in cultural provision, by the impact of the arts on the creative economy, and by the depth and breadth of people's engagement with the arts.  The Arts Council now includes as an assessment criterion, the organisation’s policy on the remuneration of artists in an effort to ensure that organisations in receipt of Arts Council funding should offer fair and equitable remuneration to artists.

Project Ireland 2040 is the Government’s long-term overarching strategy to make Ireland a better country and supports business and communities across all of Ireland in realising their potential.  €1.2 billion of Project Ireland 2040 is allocated to the Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht sectors as follows:

- €460 million for our National Cultural Institutions.

- €265 million for cultural and creativity investment programme

- €285 million for natural and built heritage

- €178 million for the Gaeltacht. The Irish language and the islands.

 A Cultural and Creativity investment programme comprising €265 million will be closely aligned with the cultural infrastructure, creative communities and creative industries pillars of the Creative Ireland Programme.

- €200 million will be invested in our vibrant media production and audio visual industries which will have a positive impact right across the country

- A €40 million programme of investing in cultural infrastructure across all regions will see support for the maintenance and development of regional arts centres, theatres, regional museums,  galleries, archives, multi-use facilities, artist studios etc.

- A €10 million national digitisation investment programme will see national collections digitised over the course of the plan supporting the conservation, preservation and dissemination of the national collections;

- Galway as EU Capital of Culture will receive €15 million funding for its cultural programme under the Plan.

In relation to capital funding the plan includes a total of €40 million, or €4 million in each of the 10 years from 2018 to 2027 to secure existing investment in arts and culture infrastructure nationwide and ensure a regional balance.  A total of €3.9m was spent on arts and culture infrastructure in 2018.  This level of investment will ensure the upkeep of regional infrastructure right across the country.

The Arts and Culture Capital Scheme allocated €10.214m to 134 projects under three complementary grant streams for the refurbishment and enhancement of the existing arts and culture facilities throughout the country.  Over €1.5m of this was drawn down in 2018 and over €7.6m remains to be paid out over the coming years.  This is the most significant investment in cultural infrastructure in a decade with funding provided to arts centres, theatres, galleries and museums, artists’ studios and creative spaces. The list of these projects with the amounts of their allocations is available on my Department’s website.

The Arts and Culture Capital Scheme is making a huge difference to many individual organisations and my Department is already seeing good outcomes and receiving positive feedback. My Department is currently giving consideration to new round of grant funding for Arts and Cultural Capital to be announced later this year.

Film Industry Development

Questions (261)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

261. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which she continues to encourage internationally the use of Ireland as a film location with obvious beneficial economic implications; the difficulties encountered in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24558/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

As set out in the Government’s ‘Global Ireland 2025’ initiative, which launched last year, film is a high-impact way of promoting Ireland on the global stage. Screen Ireland is the national development agency for Irish film making and the Irish film, television and animation industry.  Its statutory remit is to assist and encourage the making of film in the State and the development of a film industry in Ireland.  Screen Ireland supports writers, directors and production companies across these sectors by providing investment loans for the development, production and distribution of film, television and animation projects. It has a vision for a vibrant, creative and sustainable Irish film, television and animation industry, with diverse voices, talent and opportunities which speaks to and connects Irish film culture with audiences at home and abroad.

Screen Ireland also works in conjunction with the enterprise agencies to support the development of the film sector to make a substantial contribution to inward investment. It promotes Ireland as a location for international production by providing advice and support for international companies seeking to locate production activity to Ireland, organising inward and outward trade missions on an annual basis and working in partnership with EU counterparts on co-productions.

Government policy also supports the sector through Section 481 tax relief, international film co-production treaties, an annual international programme of Irish film festivals, and through engaging high-profile talent to project a positive image of Ireland and reflect Ireland as a creative place.

In April 2018, I joined with the Taoiseach and Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, in launching my Department’s capital investment plan: 'Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018 – 2027’. This plan incorporated an amount of €200m to be invested in media production and the audiovisual industry over the next 10 years and represented a first step in the Government’s ambitions to enable Ireland to become a global hub for the production of film, TV drama and animation. The investment will be delivered through Screen Ireland.

The Audiovisual Action Plan under Pillar 4 of the Creative Ireland programme is designed to deliver on ambitions to make Ireland a leader in the audiovisual sector. It is underpinned by the Olsberg SPI with Nordicity Report which has set recommendations that will assist in attracting greater inward investment.  A number of important recommendations that will have benefits in terms of attracting international productions have already been delivered upon, including the announcement in the budget speech in October last that the Section 481 tax relief for the film industry would be extended beyond its 2020 deadline to 2024; the additional funding I secured for Screen Ireland in Budget 2019; and the signing of the revised European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production in May 2019 following the efforts of my Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.