My role, as Minister, with regard to the protection and management of our built and architectural heritage, is set out in the provisions of relevant legislation, as are the roles of local authorities and the responsibilities of owners as regards heritage assets.
The Historic Towns Initiative (HTI) is a joint undertaking between my Department and the Heritage Council. Capital funding totalling €1,000,000 was awarded to local authorities for six towns in 2019. The successful towns are Ballina, Boyle, Kilrush, Letterkenny, Navan and Nenagh. Matching funding of at least 20% of total project expenditure is required for each project funded. The relevant local authority has been awarded significant capital funding towards the project referred to by the deputy. Funding for current or operational expenditure is not, however, provided under the scheme.
The best advice for the group would be to contact the local authority directly; both the conservation officer and the heritage officer would be best placed to advise on the various types of additional funding that may be available. Alternatively, the Department of Rural and Community Development may be in a position to assist through some of their programmes including LEADER.
While there are no specific plans at present to revise the HTI, my Department recently engaged in a public consultation process on Heritage Ireland 2030, the Government’s commitment to a revitalised and refreshed National Heritage Plan. Any revision or extension of this particular initiative will be informed by this process.