Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Questions (369)

Eamon Scanlon


369. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the financial support available to Sligo County Council in 2019-2020 for the conservation and protection of a location (details supplied) in County Sligo; if her Department provides funding for the commissioning of conservation reports; the estimated cost on the local authority of assessing such a structure as the location for the purpose of submitting an application to the structures at risk fund; the criteria used to assess the eligibility of a structure under the fund; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28456/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

My role, as Minister, with regard to the protection and management of our built heritage is set out in the provisions of relevant legislation, including the Planning Acts and the National Monuments Acts, as are the role of local authorities and the responsibilities of owners.

I understand that the structure in question is in the ownership of the local authority, which is, therefore, responsible for its upkeep and maintenance. They would be in the best position to advise on the estimated cost of any assessment or conservation report.

My Department provides financial support for the protection of heritage buildings and historic structures through the Historic Structures Fund (HSF), formerly the Structures at Risk Fund and the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS), which are administered by local authorities. This year I have allocated €1.824m and €2.5m respectively to these schemes. Details of these projects and funding, and the criteria by which they are assessed, are available on my Department's website and local authority websites. Sligo County Council was allocated €30,000 under the HSF and €60,000 under the BHIS. 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, including by reallocating funds where certain projects do not proceed within agreed timeframes.

In the context of a particular building or historic structure, the best advice is generally to contact the Heritage Officer or Architectural Conservation Officer in the local authority who is well placed to advise on the various types of funding available to assist with its renovation or conservation.  The structure in question is also recorded on the Record of Monuments and Places (RMP) for County Sligo and my Department’s National Monuments Service would be happy to provide any archaeological advice or guidance that might be of assistance.