Tuesday, 9 November 2004

Ceisteanna (326)

Seamus Healy

Ceist:

386 Mr. Healy asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position regarding the reappointment of county heritage officers; if the heritage officer scheme set up by the Heritage Council will continue; if not, if alternative additional funding will be provided; and the way in which he proposes to ensure that local authorities have sufficient resources to protect heritage and fulfil obligations under section 6 of the Heritage Act 1995. [27954/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

In 1998, the Heritage Council developed a pilot scheme for the placement of heritage officers, dedicated to the conservation and promotion of heritage, within local authorities. This pilot scheme involved a partnership agreement with local authorities for the appointment of heritage officers. The council co-funds the appointments with local authorities, on a declining scale, over a five-year period. The pilot scheme has since been mainstreamed in many local authorities and to date, 24 heritage officers have been employed.

The heritage officer scheme has operated well and has been very successful in raising heritage awareness at a local level, consistently with my Department's overall heritage objectives. I would expect that local authorities would favourably consider the continuation of heritage officer appointments in the context of allocating resources and within the overall framework of Government policy on public sector numbers.