Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (3000)

Tony McLoughlin


3000. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if the OPW will conduct investigations into the recent decline of a church (details supplied); the action she will take to stop its demise; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31789/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

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

The monument in question is recorded under section 12 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994. As a result, any works at or in its vicinity may only be carried out following the submission of formal notice and detailed particulars of the works to my Department’s National Monuments Service. However, the monument is not in my ownership or care, as Minister, and responsibility for its maintenance and upkeep is therefore a matter for the owner.

In the context of a historic structure of this nature, the best course generally is to direct enquiries in the first instance to the local authority Heritage Officer or Architectural Conservation Officer who is well placed to advise on the supports available to assist with conservation or other safeguarding initiatives.

My Department provides financial assistance towards 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. This year I have allocated €1.824m and €2.5m respectively to these schemes. Details of the projects and funding approved and the criteria by which they are assessed, are available on my Department's and on local authority websites.

I can confirm that no application for this monument was received under either of the grant schemes referred to. However, while the closing dates for applications has 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.