Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (273)

Seán Canney

Question:

273. Deputy Seán Canney asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the supports available for householders that live in thatched homes; if his attention has been drawn to the additional cost of the roofing and the additional insurance costs that accrue; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that only one insurance company offers insurance for these homes and many householders cannot afford this insurance; if his attention has been drawn to the importance of retaining this element of Ireland's built heritage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8160/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Under my Department’s renewal or repair of thatched roof grant scheme, in general a grant of up to €3,810, or two thirds of the approved cost, whichever is the lesser, may be payable in respect of necessary works to renew or repair the thatched roofs of houses. In the case of medical card holders however, a grant of up to €6,350, or up to 80% of the approved cost, may be payable in respect of houses situated on the mainland, rising to €8,252 where the house is situated on a specified off-shore island. Eligibility under the grant scheme is contingent on the house being occupied as a normal place of residence on completion of the approved works. Further details can be found at the following link: gov.ie - Thatching Grant (www.gov.ie). A total of 107 applications were processed in 2020 with associated funding of €490,360. A similar funding provision is in place for 2021.

My Department also oversees a number of schemes to assist in the conservation of protected structures such as thatched cottages. These schemes are the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund. They are administered through the local authorities and details are available at the following link: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/32ae3-financial-assistance-for-architectural-heritage/.

I am conscious of the importance of investment to ensure the preservation and continued use of thatched homes so that they remain a living part of our heritage and community life into the future.

In regard to the provision of insurance, the Central Bank of Ireland is responsible for the prudential supervision of such undertakings authorised in Ireland, and my Department has no function in this matter.