Commemorative Events

Ceisteanna (237)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Ceist:

237. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to mark the 100 year anniversary of female suffrage here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10268/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I marked the centenary of the passage of the Representation of the People Act 1918 on the afternoon of 6 February 2018 by launching the State programme to commemorate the introduction of voting rights for women and their right to stand in parliamentary elections.  The launch at Marlay House in Marlay Park was well attended and the programme well received. 

Later that evening I led statements in this House marking this important centenary.  I have sent a copy of the State Programme to every member of both the Dáil and the Seanad and the programme is available on my Department’s website and the dedicated Decade of Centenaries website. 

The State Programme outlines some of the key commemorative events which will be held during the year, and also includes reference to some of the events organised by the Houses of the Oireachtas which also has its origins in the general election of 1918. The State programme will complement the programme of events organised by the Houses of the Oireachtas as part of the Vótáil100 commemorative programme.

Departmental Meetings

Ceisteanna (238)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

238. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the newspapers her Department officials have engaged with in promoting or explaining Government business in her Department; when these meetings took place; if they are held on a regular basis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10289/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

In light of the range of enquires required to be made to gather the information requested by the Deputy, arrangements are being made for this information to be compiled and forwarded to the Deputy, in accordance with the timelines set out in Standing Orders.

Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (239)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

239. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht when compensation for the cessation of turf cutting for a person (details supplied) will commence; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10300/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

An application for compensation under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme has been received by my Department from the individual referred to in the Deputy’s Question. With respect to 36 raised bog natural heritage area sites, the qualifying criteria for the scheme are that:

The applicant must have had a legal interest (ownership or a turbary right (right to cut turf)) in one of these sites on 25 May 2010 and must have had the right to cut and remove turf from the property on that date;

The applicant must have been cutting turf on the land in question during the relevant five year period up to 14 January 2014;

The turf resource on the site has not been exhausted; and

No turf cutting or associated activity is ongoing on the property.

My Department is examining the application in view of the qualifying criteria for the scheme. I am advised that an inspection of the plot of bog in respect of which the applicant has applied for compensation is to be undertaken. My Department will be in a position to further process the application when this inspection has been completed.

Planning Issues

Ceisteanna (240)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

240. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of times since the introduction of the development application tracking system in the NPWS that planning permission has been granted to develop a built structure in an area which is a designated area. [10334/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The granting of planning permission in respect of developments is a matter for the relevant local authority or An Bord Pleanála. As I do not have the powers to grant planning permission, therefore the Deputy will appreciate that the question of providing the data requested is moot.

Planning authorities may of course refer planning applications to me for comment in my role as a prescribed body under Planning and Development law.

Arts Funding

Ceisteanna (241)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

241. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her views on whether it is necessary to put Aosdána on a statutory footing; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10346/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Aosdána is a unique initiative established by the Arts Council in 1981 to honour creative artists who have made a significant contribution to the arts in Ireland.  It is an Arts Council initiative and there are no proposals to place it on a statutory footing.  Under section 24(2) of the Arts Act 2003 the Council is independent of the Minister in its funding decisions. 

Following recommendations in the Value for Money Policy Review of the Arts Council - undertaken under the guidance of an expert Steering Committee chaired by Dr. John O’Hagan, Professor of Economics at Trinity College  as well as an internal audit of Aosdána, the Arts Council is reviewing all aspects of the administration and procedures of Aosdána.   This review will ensure the most appropriate governance and oversight arrangements are in place.  

There are currently some 250 members of Aosdána.  Members who are resident in Ireland and are full-time practising artists can qualify for an Arts Council means-tested payment known as the Cnuas.  Approximately two-thirds of Aosdána members qualify for the cnuas.  Along with all Arts Council grantees, recipients of the cnuas and amounts paid are published in the Arts Council annual Report available at

http://www.artscouncil.ie/uploadedFiles/Arts_Council_AR16_final_visual.pdf

National Monuments

Ceisteanna (242)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

242. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which adequate methods exist to protect historic sites throughout the country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10399/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

All monuments listed in the Record of Monuments and Places are protected under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2004. 

As Minister, I am the owner or guardian under the National Monuments Acts of approximately 1,000 national monuments located at approximately 750 sites.  Maintenance of such monuments is undertaken on my behalf by the Office of Public Works. The Acts allow me to make a preservation order where I consider a national monument to be at risk. Local authorities are responsible under the Acts for maintaining the national monuments of which they are owners or guardians. 

My Department records all reports of damage to recorded monuments. Such reports usually emanate from members of the public, local authorities or heritage-based NGOs. 

My Department also liaises regularly with the utility and infrastructure providers and has agreed codes of practice with a number of these agencies aimed at safeguarding archaeological sites and monuments. In addition, awareness programmes are in place with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Teagasc and farm organisations that are aimed at raising awareness in relation to farming and archaeology.

Notwithstanding the wide ranging legal provisions and other programmes in place, damage to archaeological sites and monuments does occur from time to time. Cases involving alleged wilful damage to monuments, such as occurred last year at a site in Co. Longford, are followed up in liaison with An Garda Síochána. 

Prosecutions in respect of damage to recorded monuments are initiated by my Department where warranted and there have been a number of convictions for such offences in recent years.

Heritage Sites

Ceisteanna (243, 245, 246, 251, 256)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

243. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which she expects Project Ireland 2040 to influence developments that fall under the responsibility of her Department with particular reference to preservation and or development of historical and cultural buildings and sites; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10400/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

245. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which she anticipates the future development of heritage sites for educational and tourism purposes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10402/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

246. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to identify cultural or heritage sites that might be at risk with a view to protection, preservation and utilisation for the benefit of tourism and education; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10403/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

251. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which particular historical sites or buildings in County Kildare are deemed to be at risk; the action taken or pending to address such issues; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10408/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

256. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which she continues to liaise with the Office of Public Works to ensure that heritage sites and buildings continue to be protected and if necessary sealed to prevent water damage; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10413/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 243, 245, 246, 251 and 256 together.

My role, as Minister, with regard to the protection and management of our 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. 

Part IV of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, provides for the protection of architectural heritage.  The Act gives primary responsibility to planning authorities to identify and protect the architectural heritage by including relevant structures on the Record of Protected Structures.  Inclusion on the Record of Protected Structures places a duty of care on the owners and occupiers of protected structures and also gives planning authorities powers to deal with development proposals affecting them and to seek to safeguard their future.

I also have a role, as Minister, in terms of being a prescribed body under the Planning and Development Regulations 2001-2015, whereby development proposals that may impact on our built heritage are referred by planning authorities to my Department so that recommendations can be made as appropriate to avoid or mitigate any such impacts.

My Department has a number of measures at its disposal to facilitate the maintenance and restoration of historical or cultural sites.  As Minister, I am the owner or guardian under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2014 of approximately 1,000 national monuments located at approximately 750 sites and in such cases there is a statutory duty to maintain the national monument.  Such maintenance is undertaken by the Office of Public Works (OPW).  Local authorities are responsible under the National Monuments Acts for maintaining the national monuments of which they are owners or guardians. 

My Department is also providing €350,000 of funding to the OPW in 2018 to assist in the conservation and presentation of historic buildings and national monuments in State ownership.  My Department’s National Monuments Service works in close collaboration with the OPW on survey, excavation and research work to optimise the protection, management, interpretation and presentation of national monuments in State care.

Under the provisions of the National Monuments Acts, my Department has established and maintains the Record of Monuments and Places, which affords legal protection to all recorded archaeological sites and monuments in the State.  Anyone proposing works to, at or in the vicinity of a monument that is included in the Record of Monument and Places must give my Department two months prior notice before works can start.

The Built Heritage Investment Scheme is a scheme for the repair and conservation of protected structures (i.e. structures on the local authority Record of Protected Structures). The scheme supports heritage projects across the country and creates employment in the conservation and construction industries, while helping to regenerate urban and rural areas, and is co-ordinated by each local authority.   My Department has allocated €2m under the Built Heritage Investment Scheme 2018, of which €50,000 is the indicative amount for County Kildare.

The Structures at Risk Fund enables conservation works to heritage structures in both private and public ownership, which are protected under the Planning and Development Acts and are deemed to be at significant risk of deterioration.  Local authorities have submitted applications to my Department and they will shortly be assessed by an expert panel. Successful applicants will be notified by their local authority shortly thereafter. My Department has allocated €1,324,000 under the Structures at Risk Fund 2018. While there is no specific allocation for each local authority, I can confirm that applications have been received in respect of County Kildare.

Receipt of applications for both the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and Structures at Risk Fund are now closed, however on-going queries can be addressed to all respective local authorities who are implementing both schemes throughout 2018.

The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage is a state initiative to identify, record, and evaluate the post-1700 built heritage of Ireland, uniformly and consistently as an aid to its protection and conservation. The NIAH building surveys provide the basis for my recommendations, as Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, to the planning authorities for the inclusion of particular structures in their Record of Protected Structures. The published surveys are a source of information on the selected structures for relevant planning authorities.  They are also a research and educational resource.

Through the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), my Department manages a property portfolio in respect of national parks and reserves of approximately 87,000 hectares. While the existing National Parks are managed from a conservation perspective, it is also recognised that they are ‘core assets’ which play a very important role in Ireland’s tourism industry.

My Department has entered into a Strategic Partnership with Fáilte Ireland and is finalising a Tourism Interpretation Masterplan; “Experiencing the Wild Heart of Ireland”. This plan sets out projects that could be developed in the National Parks to enhance their tourism offering in a managed and sustainable way.

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar T.D., recently launched the National Planning Framework and the National Development Plan – Ireland 2040.  The Framework and Plan recognise the value and importance of our culture, language and heritage as an integral part of Irish life and have built in significant support for these areas into both the plan and framework.  Further details on my Department’s investment programme will be provided in the Department’s sectorial plan – Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage – which will be launched on 1 March 2018.

Cultural Policy

Questions Nos. 245 and 246 answered with Question No. 243.

Ceisteanna (244)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

244. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to create a greater awareness of culture and heritage among young persons through schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10401/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Creative Youth was launched on 7th December 2017. It sets out measures to deliver on one of the key goals of the Creative Ireland Programme, to ensure that every child in Ireland has practical access to tuition, experience and participation in music, drama, art and coding by 2022.

Underpinning the vision behind Creative Youth are four long-term strategic objectives: Supporting collaboration between Formal and Non-Formal approaches to Creativity in Education: Extending the Range of Creative Activities for our Young People; Embedding the Creative Process by developing programmes that will enable teachers to help young people learn and apply creative skills and capacities; Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for teachers working in Early Years, Primary and Post Primary Schools.

The first stage of implementation of Creative Youth, which is a five-year Programme, involves 18 actions to be progressed in 2018-2019. Actions in the Plan include:

Scoileanna Ildánacha/Creative Schools initiative, bringing artists into the classroom, will be piloted. This has been launched and activated by the Arts Council.

A Creative Clusters School Scheme to generate creative cultural and artistic projects will be piloted.

Creativity programmes for young people in disadvantaged communities will be developed.

An Early Years CPD Project will be developed and existing Primary Schools and Post-Primary Schools CPD Projects will be mainstreamed.

Increased opportunities for students to learn coding and computational thinking will be introduced.

Opportunities to participate in drama/theatre outside of school will be expanded.

A strategy to develop and extend choral singing will be developed.

Cruinniú (formerly Cruinniú na Cásca)will be redesigned and developed as a national creativity day for children and young people in consultation with the local authorities;

Local Creative Youth Partnerships will be established on a pilot basis.

Implementation of additional elements of the Arts in Education Charter will be supported.

Music Generation Programme will now be extended countrywide as soon as possible, and certainly by 2022.

In addition to this, the Heritage Council also have an extensive schools Programme which aims to bring an appreciation and connection with our heritage to children and young people.

Questions Nos. 245 and 246 answered with Question No. 243.

Film Industry Development

Ceisteanna (247)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

247. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which her Department continues to support and encourage the film industry, including the use of Ireland as a film location; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10404/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The Irish Film Board is the national development agency for the Irish film, TV Drama and the animation industry.  Its statutory remit is to assist and encourage the making of film in the State and the development of the industry in Ireland.  In 2018, I allocated an increase of €1.55 million to the Irish Film Board increasing its annual budget by 9.3% to €18 million, 29% more than it was in 2014.

The Film Board also supports the Irish screen industries at major international markets and festivals, promotes inward investment, the use of Ireland as a location for international production and provides support for companies filming in Ireland. The Board liaises with IDA Ireland and Tourism Ireland to maximise opportunities for the promotion of Ireland as a location for film productions. Information on its funding scheme is available on the Irish Film Board website at www.irishfilmboard.ie.

The Government also supports the film industry through the film tax relief scheme -   Section 481 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997.  The twin approach of direct funding and tax expenditure measures maximises the benefits of the Government’s support to the audiovisual industry.

In partnership with the Departments of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and Business, Enterprise and Innovation, my Department commissioned an economic analysis of our screen based creative industries.  This Report which is now complete, will provide an input for the development of an industry-wide long term plan for Ireland as a global hub for the production of Film, TV Drama and Animation under Pillar 4 of the Creative Ireland Programme.

Heritage Sites

Ceisteanna (248)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

248. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the degree to which excavations are planned or in progress at various historical sites throughout the country, with particular reference to the need to maintain the integrity of the sites while maximising the educational and tourism potential; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10405/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The role of the National Monuments Service of my Department is to preserve, protect and promote Ireland’s unique archaeological heritage. It fulfils this role through a variety of measures, one of which includes the regulation of archaeological excavations in the State.

All archaeological excavations are undertaken under licences issued by the Minister in accordance with S.26 of the National Monuments Act 1930. Such licences are only issued to suitably qualified archaeologists who submit proposals with a sound rationale and methodologies that comply with standards of best practice. Excavations may be carried out at national monuments in my ownership or guardianship to facilitate conservation works and to improve presentation for educational and tourism purposes.  Recent excavations carried out for such purposes have included St. John’s Castle, Carlingford, Co. Louth,  Glendalough, Co. Wicklow and at the Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary.

My Department also supports a programme of research excavations through the Standing Committee for Archaeology in the Royal Irish Academy and current projects include excavations at Caherconnell in the Burren, Co. Clare, which has become a busy tourist attraction and at Ballynamintra Cave, Co. Waterford.

A number of other research excavations, predominantly organised by the academic sector, were licensed last year at sites in counties Clare, Cork, Galway, Kerry, Mayo and Sligo.

Arts Promotion

Ceisteanna (249)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

249. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which her support for the arts sector continues to result in continued activity and employment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10406/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The nature of employment within the arts sector encompasses a wide range of activities, from theatre and music to architecture and sculpture as well as encompassing the industrial creative sectors and audiovisual production. My primary role is to support artists and the creative industries in Ireland using the mechanisms available to me. The Arts Council is the primary mechanism through which the Government channels funding to the Arts. Over the past 2 years my Department's allocation to Arts Council has increased by €8m which is a significant support to the arts sector.

In addition, the Creative Ireland Programme is an all-of-government high level, high ambition initiative which aims to place creativity at the centre of public policy. The Programme encourages and supports active participation in creative activity, particularly but not exclusively through the arts and culture based on the belief that nurturing the creative imagination is crucially important for individual well-being, social cohesion and economic success. The Programme is delivered primarily through existing structures – the Arts Council, the 31 local authorities, the Film Board, and relevant Government Departments, including my own Department.

This Government recently launched Project Ireland 2040; a comprehensive national planning framework and associated 10-year National Development Plan. Project Ireland 2040 explicitly recognises that our culture, language and heritage are an essential part of the sustainable development of the country.

This acknowledgement of the centrality of culture and creativity to our national development is unprecedented in this type of statutory planning framework, as is the commitment to investment in excess of €1 billion in our culture and heritage over the next 10 years. Of this investment some €725 million will be invested directly in our cultural infrastructure, in our creative industries and in enhancing cultural experience for our citizens.

All of this represents real and substantial funding increases across the cultural areas of my Department, which will lead to greater employment in these areas.

Arts Funding

Question No. 251 answered with Question No. 243.

Ceisteanna (250)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

250. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which the arts sector continues to attract support from philanthropists; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10407/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Private support for the arts is an important funding source and the Government continues to support this through tax incentives and other initiatives.  The Programme for a Partnership Government contains a commitment to encourage strong, mutually beneficial links between the business community and the arts community to assist arts organisations to capitalise on sponsorship opportunities and to develop business partnerships and fundraising skills.  In this regard, I recognise the important work carried out by Business to Arts for which my Department provides some assistance.

In addition, the Arts Council operates the RAISE programme, which seeks to enhance fund-raising skills in arts organisations with a view to diversifying the sector's sources of funding.  It is designed to assist the sector in securing philanthropic contributions to the arts in Ireland.    

In terms of other capital investment requiring co-funding, I have announced my Department has announced investment of over €10m for arts and cultural centres, focussed on upgrading the existing stock of such centres around the country.  The funding is dependent on matching funding being secured by project promoters and will therefore provide an opportunity for philanthropists to involve themselves in the arts.

My Department's capital plan for investment in our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018 - 2027 will also provide opportunities for philanthropic support of the sector.

Question No. 251 answered with Question No. 243.

Arts Promotion

Ceisteanna (252, 253)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

252. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to enhance the promotion and development of an awareness of the arts and culture with a view to maximising economic benefit in the future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10409/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

253. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to maximise the economic benefit from investment in the arts; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10410/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 252 and 253 together.

The Creative Ireland Programme is a cross-Government initiative to mainstream culture and creativity in the life of the nation and to promote individual, community and national well-being.

The Programme embraces the whole cultural sector, bringing together all those involved in the arts, film, broadcasting, visual arts, cultural heritage, the Irish language and Gaeltacht, with Government Departments and State agencies. Implementation of the Programme is underpinned by three essential operating principles - collaboration and communication, community empowerment and internationalisation.

The programme is based on five pillars which are: enabling the creative potential of every child, enabling creativity in every community, investing in our creative and cultural infrastructure, establishing Ireland as a centre of excellence in media production and unifying our global reputation. Implementation of the Programme, while under the aegis of my Department, will, where the opportunity arises, primarily be through, and in collaboration with existing agencies, local authorities, cultural institutions, State bodies and other cultural partners.  Pillars 2, 3 and 4 of the Programme are of particular relevance to the economic development of communities.

My Department, together with its other partners, is now in the process of finalising plans to further the implementation of the Creative Ireland Programme for the coming years in respect of the five pillars of the programme, working collaboratively with colleagues across Government and in the sector.

Waterways Ireland

Ceisteanna (254)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

254. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which outstanding matters relating to the use of the canals by traditional canal dwellers or other users have been resolved; the degree to which conflict between Waterways Ireland and other such users have been resolved amicably; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10411/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Our inland waterways are host to a myriad of user communities, and, as Minister, I need to be mindful of all of their needs. As does Waterways Ireland.

Waterways Ireland continues to work closely with boat owners using the canals, adjacent land owners, representative groups and committees.  Meetings are held with the key stakeholder interest groups, the Royal Canal Amenity Group, Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI) and the Heritage Boat Association (HBA).  

In addition, Waterways Ireland works alongside the Friends of the Grand Canal and Royal Canal Clean-Up Group in Dublin and the newly established Grand Canal Dock Group, which, like many of the communities throughout the waterways, support the maintenance and operation of the canals. 

Waterways Ireland staff meet canal users on a daily basis and provide a wide range of services as well as managing boat use on the canals in accordance with the 1988 Canal Bye-laws.  In this regard, Waterways Ireland continues to concentrate on boats which consistently remain in breach of the Bye-laws.  Where a boat owner fails to respond to requests to comply, after notification by letters, telephone calls and formal notice, a programme of boat removal continues. 

In Grand Canal Dock, where boat owners have refused to move and are seeking to permanently reside on their vessels in breach of the Bye-laws, regulation of use of these prime location berths is being taken forward under the 1988 Canal Bye-laws to protect these public amenities.  A group of Heritage Boat Association vessels are using the newly secured and serviced moorings in Grand Canal Outer Dock over the winter of 2017/18, before moving to Athlone in September 2018 for the World Canal Conference, which is once again to be held in Ireland (last hosted here in 2002).

Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme

Question No. 256 answered with Question No. 243.

Ceisteanna (255)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

255. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which all outstanding issues affecting persons cutting turf arising from the habitats directive have been resolved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10412/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Ireland, like all EU Member States, is bound by the requirements of the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive. These Directives aim to ensure the protection of habitats and species which have been selected for conservation within special areas of conservation and special protection areas.

Significant efforts have been made by the State to resolve the issue of the protection of Ireland’s raised bog special areas of conservation within the framework of the Habitats Directive. This has included intense and on-going engagement with turf cutting interests, the farming community, non-governmental organisations and with the European Commission, as well as the establishment of a long-term compensation scheme, including relocation where feasible, for affected turf cutters.

13,446 annual payments and 994 deliveries of turf have been made in respect of applications received under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme for raised bog special areas of conservation. 737 annual payments and a delivery of turf have been made to applicants from raised bog natural heritage areas under the scheme. In addition, 1,824 once-off incentive payments of €500 have been made, of which 42 relate to natural heritage areas.

Relocation of turf cutters to non-designated bogs is a complex process. Notwithstanding this, progress in relocation has been achieved in a number of cases. In addition, my

Department is moving forward in the relocation process for 8 relocation sites.

The National Raised Bog Special Areas of Conservation Management Plan 2017-2022, published in December 2017, sets out how the raised bog special areas of conservation are to be managed, conserved and restored and how the needs of turf cutters are to be addressed, including exploring the options in terms of certain provisions of article 6 of the Habitats Directive.

Final resolution of all issues in relation to the protection of Ireland’s protected raised bogs will only be brought about by everyone working together, within the law, with my Department and with the Peatlands Council, which was established for the purpose of ensuring the input from all stakeholders.

Question No. 256 answered with Question No. 243.