Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (326)

Cormac Devlin

Question:

326. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the status, location and condition of the various Second World War-era lookout posts along the east coast; the efforts being made to preserve these important local historical sites; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6955/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

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

With regard to the safeguarding of protected structures, Part IV of the Planning and Development Act 2000 gives primary responsibility to local authorities to identify and protect architectural heritage by including particular structures on their respective Records of Protected Structures (RPS). Inclusion on the RPS places a duty of care on the owners and occupiers of protected structures and also gives planning authorities powers to deal with any development proposals affecting them.

As Minister, I can make recommendations to planning authorities for buildings and structures to be included on the RPS. These recommendations arise from the survey of the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH), which is managed by my Department.

The NIAH completed the survey of the east coast of Ireland in 2010 with the publication of the Survey of County Wexford. No Lookout Posts (LOP) were recorded during the fieldwork and no LOPs are included on the Records of Protected Structures for counties Louth, Dublin, Wicklow or Wexford.

The NIAH intends to revisit counties Louth, Dublin, Wicklow and Wexford when the fieldwork for the first phase of the national survey has been completed with the publication of Dublin City and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown. The surviving LOPs are included among the structures to be surveyed and will be recorded as part of the second phase of the national survey.

My Department provides financial support for the protection of heritage buildings and historic structures through two grant schemes which are, in the main, administered by the local authorities. These are the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) and the Historic Structures Fund (HSF). Details are available on my Department’s website and on the website of each local authority.

While I do not have information on the location of the surviving LOPs, I understand that this information is available on the website of the Military Archives at https://www.militaryarchives.ie/en/collections/reading-room-collections/look-out-post-logbooks-september-1939-june-1945.