Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Ceisteanna (698)

Niamh Smyth


698. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans for the restoration of a building (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8334/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

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 role of local authorities and the responsibilities of owners.

The buildings referred to by the Deputy are in local authority ownership. In relation to the first building, I understand the local authority is working to assess the potential to redevelop and find a long term sustainable use for it. As part of this process I am informed that an appraisal of the building was carried out by consultants on behalf of the local authority, a public consultation was held and a report was presented to the local authority in April 2018.

My Department provides financial support for the protection of heritage buildings and historic structures through the Historical Structures Fund (HSF) and the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS), which are administered by local authorities. This year I have allocated €1.8m and €2.5m respectively to these schemes.

While the closing date for the 2019 schemes has now passed, my Department will remain in contact with local authorities throughout the year to ensure the best possible use of funding, including by reallocating funds when, for example, projects do not go ahead. Full details of both of the schemes are available on my Department’s website and on each local authority’s website. The building in question, a very fine one indeed, is in the ownership of the local authority and it is a matter for it in the first instance.

I provided funding of €1m in 2018, and again in 2019 for the Historic Towns Initiative (HTI), which is a joint initiative of my Department and the Heritage Council. The HTI supported six historic towns in 2018 in carrying out significant heritage regeneration projects. I understand that the local authority applied for and was awarded funding under the HTI 2018 for works to the one of the buildings mentioned by the Deputy, but the application was later withdrawn by the local authority pending their consideration of a long term plan for the future of the building.

In terms of future funding, Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018 – 2027 represents a major capital investment scheme of €1.2 billion over the next 10 years, which will include increased investment in protecting and celebrating our built heritage across the country. More details on the commencement and completion dates for projects and programmes, as well as the timing of the expenditure in relation to them, will emerge as we go through the process of appraisal and planning as required under the Public Spending Code.