My Department provides financial support for the protection of heritage buildings and historic structures through a number of schemes which are generally administered by local authorities.
In November 2018, I announced €4.3 million in funding for the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) and the Historic Structures Fund (HSF) 2019. The BHIS is a scheme for the repair and conservation of structures on the local authority Record of Protected Structures. It is designed to leverage private capital for investment in small scale conservation projects across the country and to support the employment of skilled conservation professionals.
The Historic Structures Fund (HSF) (formerly the Structures at Risk Fund) is for conservation and enhancement to heritage structures, in both private and public ownership, for the benefit of communities and the public.
Both schemes are open for applications until 31 January 2019. Full details are available on my Department’s website and on each local authority’s website.
I approved a further €1m in funding nationally for the Historic Towns Initiative 2019, which is a joint initiative of my Department and the Heritage Council.
My Department is also providing funding to the OPW in 2019 to assist in the conservation and presentation of historic buildings and national monuments in State ownership. As in previous years, in cooperation with its Office of Public Works and local authority partners, my Department’s National Monuments Service will also make available such funding as may be required over the course of 2019 in relation to the discharge of my functions as Minister under the National Monuments Acts, 1930-2014 to support rescue excavations and post excavation research at archaeological sites where there is an urgent risk to such being irreparably lost or damaged.
My Department also provides for the maintenance, development, management and operation of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). This funding includes running costs of the six National Parks and 80 statutory Nature Reserves, development and improvement works for visitor facilities and other minor capital projects. It also includes funding for conservation-related research and surveys and compensatory measures for landowners’ costs and losses resulting from restrictions in managing their land in areas designated under the EU Habitats and Birds Directives.
In addition to these funding streams there are provisions for supporting small scale conservation and community education and awareness projects in areas affected by the cessation of domestic turf cutting on designated raised bogs, the operational costs of the Peatlands Council and also for the scanning costs of applications referred to the Minister in her role as a statutory consultee under the Planning Acts and from other consent authorities.
The Heritage Council, which my Department funds, also provides grants for the protection and preservation of our heritage. It is primarily a matter for the Heritage Council to decide how its funding should be allocated across the range of research, education and conservation programmes it supports. Grant schemes for 2019 will be advertised by the Heritage Council on its website www.heritagecouncil.ie.