Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (3017)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

3017. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the expenditure incurred in external information technology costs in each year since March 2011, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32295/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I am advised that my Department makes use of external IT services only when required to augment existing in-house expertise or resources. These services are sourced in accordance with public procurement procedures and minimising cost is an important consideration when awarding contracts. The information sought by the Deputy in respect of the use of such services in the specified period is set out in the following table.

Year - Expenditure on External IT Services

2011

€1,241,207

2012

€981,434

2013

€1,984,176

2014

€1,207,730

2015

€1,888,425

2016

€1,588,064

2017

€1,961,360

2018

€1,907,391

2019 (to date)

€1,214,561

Protected Disclosures Data

Questions Nos. 3019 and 3020 answered with Question No. 3009.

Question No. 3021 answered with Question No. 3011.

Question No. 3022 answered with Question No. 3009.

Ceisteanna (3018)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

3018. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of protected disclosures for which she has engaged an external consultancy and or legal firm since 2014 to date; the name of the firms engaged; the year and the costs associated with engaging the consultancy and or legal firms in respect of protected disclosures; the way in which persons are protected in cases in which an external consultancy firm is engaged in respect of protected disclosures; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32395/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department has not engaged the services of an external consultancy or legal firm in the manner described by the Deputy since 2014.

My Department's policy on Disclosure of Wrongdoing in the workplace is available on my Department's website, as are the annual reports published by my Department in accordance with Section 22 of the Protected Disclosures Act.

Questions Nos. 3019 and 3020 answered with Question No. 3009.
Question No. 3021 answered with Question No. 3011.
Question No. 3022 answered with Question No. 3009.

Commemorative Events

Question No. 3024 answered with Question No. 3009.

Question No. 3025 answered with Question No. 3023.

Ceisteanna (3023, 3025)

John Lahart

Ceist:

3023. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the progress being made to fix a date for the national famine commemoration and to link such a fixed date with an international famine commemoration day in which the Irish diaspora can participate and commemorate this national event. [32644/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

3025. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she has made a decision on a fixed date for the national famine memorial day to be included in the national calendar; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32685/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 3023 and 3025 together.

As I have previously informed the House in May 2018 and in my reply to Parliamentary Question No 2584 of 24 July 2018, the Government, on 1st May 2018 approved the designation of the third Sunday of May each year as the national Famine commemoration day, with the arrangements for the holding a of State commemoration on this day or the preceding Saturday to be decided each year following consultation with the relevant local authority and host community.

The 2019 National Famine Commemoration took place on 19th May in Sligo in the presence of An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD.

As I announced on 21st July 2019, the International Famine Commemoration will take place in Phoenix, Arizona on 3rd November next. This will be the fifth occasion that the international commemoration has been held in the Unites States. There have been ten international commemorations of the Great Irish Famine to date. Since the first international commemoration in Toronto and Quebec in 2009, events have also been held in Australia, Canada and the UK.

Question No. 3024 answered with Question No. 3009.
Question No. 3025 answered with Question No. 3023.

Hen Harriers Threat Response Plan

Ceisteanna (3026)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

3026. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht further to Parliamentary Question No. 884 of 9 July 2019, the month or quarter in 2019 the draft will be finalised and published further to the confirmation that the threat response plan for hen harrier areas is nearing completion and in view of the fact that drafting of the plan commenced in 2015; the costs incurred for drafting the plan to date; and the final costs forecasted. [32855/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The draft Hen Harrier Threat Response Plan (HHTRP) is nearing completion and is currently being refined and updated as necessary by my Department in consultation with stakeholders. It is necessary to consider the draft Plan in light of the Government's recent Climate Action Plan and I intend to have the draft HHTRP ready for consultation in Q4 2019. The draft Plan, when published, will require Strategic Environmental Assessment to be carried out before a final version of the Plan is made available.

The total cost incurred so far in preparing the Plan has been €94,300. This figure does not include my Department's staff time.

The final cost , including Strategic Environmental Assessment, will depend on the cost of that Assessment which has not yet been procured and is therefore not available at this time.

Departmental Surveys

Ceisteanna (3027)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

3027. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of feasibility studies conducted by her Department in County Galway in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; the names of each project being studied; the amount allocated and drawn down for each study; the person or body that sought each study; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32938/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The information requested by the Deputy in respect of feasibility studies conducted by my Department in County Galway during the specified period are set out in the following table.

Name of Project

Year

Amount Allocated

Amount Drawn-down

Initiated by:

Feasibility and Scoping Assessment Of Possible Links Between Connemara National Park and Kylemore Abbey.

2017

€50,000

€42,856

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Feasibility exercise to determine the viability of the development of a number of walking and cycling trails through Cloonmoylan Bog and Barroughter Bog Special Areas of Conservation, Co. Galway

2018

€25,000

€0 - payment not yet drawn down

Looscaun Shannonside Rural Development Group, Co. GalwayGrant funding approved under DCHGs Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme Pilot 2018

Feasibility study to design a series of looped walks and trails for the Glenamaddy Bogs and Turlough area in Lough Lurgeen Bog/Glenamaddy Turlough Special Area of Conservation, Co. Galway

2018

€12,500

€11,477

Glenamaddy Tidy Towns Group, Co. GalwayGrant funding approved under DCHGs Peatlands Community Engagement Scheme Pilot 2018

Arts Council Funding

Question No. 3029 answered with Question No. 3008.

Question No. 3030 answered with Question No. 3009.

Question No. 3031 answered with Question No. 3011.

Ceisteanna (3028)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

3028. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the way in which environmental awareness and sustainability are taken into account when arts organisations, artists and groups working with the arts are assessed by the Arts Council for funding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33133/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The Arts Council is the national agency for funding, developing and promoting the arts in Ireland.

Under Section 24 (2) of the Arts Act, the Council is independent in its funding decisions and its core functions are set out under the Arts Act 2003 and are listed as follows:

- stimulate public interest in the arts

- promote knowledge, appreciation and practice of the arts;

- assist in improving standards in the arts;

- advise the Minister and other public bodies on the arts.

In September 2015, the Arts Council published its ten-year strategy, Making Great Art Work , in which it sets out how it will lead the development of the arts in Ireland over the decade. The strategy has five priority areas: The Artist; Public Engagement; Investment Strategy; Spatial and Demographic Planning and Developing Capacity

Making Great Art Work is being implemented through a series of three three-year plans starting in 2017. The first of these, the Three-Year Plan 2017–2019 describes the investment strategies, projects and programmers that the Council prioritises during 2017–2019 and sets out the achievements and milestones over this period. I understand that the second three-year plan (2020- 2022) is in the course of preparation and should be published in due course.

Central to the ten year strategy and the three year plan are aims and objectives to ensure the future growth and sustainability of the arts sector. My Department is also working with the Arts Council to ensure that capital investment in arts infrastructure is strategic and sustainable.

Question No. 3029 answered with Question No. 3008.
Question No. 3030 answered with Question No. 3009.
Question No. 3031 answered with Question No. 3011.

Commemorative Events

Ceisteanna (3032)

Seán Crowe

Ceist:

3032. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to have the remains of persons (details supplied) exhumed and re-interred in Glasnevin Cemetery. [33287/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

As the Minister with responsibility for leading the Decade of Centenaries commemorative programme, my priority is to ensure that the Government's approach to the remembrance of the significant historical events and related themes is appropriate, measured, respectful, inclusive and sensitive to the different perspectives that exist on the events of this period.

I have no plans to have the remains of the persons referenced by the Deputy exhumed and re-interred in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Kilmainham Gaol is a national monument and, in accordance with Section 14 of the National Monuments Act 1930, any proposed exhumation at the monument would require an associated excavation licence. Currently there is no application for such a licence with my Department in this case.

Hedge Cutting Season

Ceisteanna (3033)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

3033. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if regulations to provide for managed hedge cutting on roadsides and burning of vegetation will not now be introduced; the groups she consulted before the decision was made; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33409/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The provisions under Section 7 of the Heritage Act 2018 allow for the making of Regulations relating to burning and cutting hedgerows.

Section 7(1) of the Heritage Act 2018 provides that I as Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, may make Regulations to allow the burning of vegetation during such periods in the month of March and in such parts of the country as specified in the Regulations.

I made a decision last February not to make Regulations to extend the season for the burning of vegetation into March 2019. This decision was taken as there would have been no basis for me to do so given the fact that the relatively dry weather during the six month period when the burning of vegetation could have been undertaken under the law (September to February inclusive) would not have precluded landowners from burning vegetation. Therefore, the existing provisions in the Wildlife Acts on burning remained in force for March 2019.

In relation to hedgerows, Section 7(2) of the Heritage Act 2018 includes power to make Regulations to allow the cutting of roadside hedges during the month of August subject to conditions.

I recently announced that I will not be proceeding with the making of such Regulations this year. This decision recognises the increasing threats to biodiversity nationally and globally and follows a number of Government initiatives to protect and nurture Ireland’s flora and fauna.

There has been extensive public debate and engagement by my Department and myself on this matter, especially in the context of the National Biodiversity Conference, the Seeds for Nature initiative, the public consultation on the Heritage Ireland 2030 Plan, the recent debates in the Dáil on biodiversity loss and the extensive engagement across Government on Climate Action, including by my Department.

Arts Council

Ceisteanna (3034)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

3034. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to meet the director general of the Arts Council in the coming weeks or months. [33996/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Both I and my Department officials are in regular contact the agencies under the aegis of the Department, including the Arts Council. I recently met with the new Chair of the Arts Council and I intend to follow up shortly with a further meeting with the Director and Chair.

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (3035)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

3035. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the status of capital projects within the remit of her Department; the amount spent on each project to date; and the anticipated completion date. [34198/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

My Department has been allocated nearly €1.2 billion in capital expenditure over the course of the National Development Plan, 2018-2027, as part of Project Ireland 2040. To direct this investment, my Department has developed a detailed sectorial investment plan, Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage, which sets the high-level, strategic capital priorities for the Department from 2018 to 2027. This plan involves three types of investment activity; capital investment and infrastructure programmes, capital grant schemes and major capital projects.

The plan provides for an allocation of:

- €725 million towards enhancing our cultural infrastructure, incorporating,

- A €460 million investment in our National Cultural Institutions and,

- €265 million for a national Culture and Creativity Investment Programme;

- €285 million towards a heritage investment programme; and,

- €178 million towards investment in our language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands.

Major capital projects under the National Cultural Institutions programme of the plan are appraised, planned, implemented and evaluated in line with the Public Spending Code and best practice guidance outlined in the Capital Works Management Framework published by the Office of Government Procurement.

While the majority of these capital projects are moving through the early appraisal stage, two major capital projects have already commenced: a four-year redevelopment of the National Library of Ireland involving the upgrading of the East and West Wings of the Library, and the provision of secure environmentally controlled archival repository at the National Archives. Both projects are being carried out in partnership with the Office of Public Works.

The first phase of the National Library of Ireland redevelopment project, comprising the development of a new book repository in the East Wing of the Library comprising 4,700 linear metres of storage and the movement of 350,000 volumes, was completed last month.

Enabling works to prepare for the construction work at the National Archives were completed last month. It is intended to undertake the tender for the National Archives Repository Redevelopment in the coming months.

The following table details the status, expenditure to date, and anticipated completion date of these major capital projects.

It should be noted that my Department is also progressing a range of other initiatives under the other two strands of investment activity (grant schemes and investment programmes) which are delivering improved cultural, heritage and linguistic infrastructure and investment to communities across Ireland. These other initiatives currently underway include the investment in new trails and way paths across our network of National Parks and Nature Reserves, delivery of local arts and cultural facility enhancements under the Arts and Culture Capital Scheme, and the upgrading of community and childcare facilities in Gaeltacht areas. Partnership and collaboration are core principles underpinning these and other initiatives under the programme, and the Department is currently working with the Heritage Council, Waterways Ireland, Screen Ireland, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Fáilte Ireland and local authorities to deliver on its investment programme.

Project

Status

Expenditure to date

Anticipated completion date

National Archives

Enabling Works complete. Tender process to commence in the coming months.

€0.309m

2022

National Library of Ireland

Phase 1: Book Repository completed. Tenders for the next phase to commence in the coming months.

€1.618m

2022

EU Directives

Ceisteanna (3036)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

3036. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her views on proposed EU legislation (details supplied); if she will enter into consultation on the proposals with farmer organisations and rural representative groups in view of the significant replacement costs that will be incurred to meet the new requirements; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34261/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) was developed under the UN Convention on Migratory Species. Ireland signed up to the Agreement in 2003. The agreement includes a commitment that “Parties shall endeavour to phase out the use of lead shot for hunting in wetlands as soon as possible in accordance with self-imposed and published timetables." My Department’s position is to support the AEWA commitment to phase out the use of lead shot over wetlands.

The European Commission have published an initial draft Regulation for consideration by Member States on the use of lead shot in wetlands following a report on the matter by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). It is my understanding that the proposal, should it ultimately progress into law, would make provision for a lead-in time to facilitate the making of arrangements to source alternatives to lead shot.

My Department has had discussions with hunting and farming bodies on this matter and contacts will continue as the situation evolves.

Heritage Sites

Ceisteanna (3037)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

3037. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if a building (details supplied) will be retained in public ownership due to its historical significance; if she will discuss the matter with the HSE; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34300/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

In the interests of the preservation, conservation, management and presentation of the built and archaeological heritage, my Department occasionally seeks to acquire certain heritage properties and monuments as resources and opportunities permit. From time to time such properties may come onto the open market, may be bequeathed to the State or may be offered to it free of cost. In addition, lands surrounding or in proximity to heritage properties or national monuments in State care (i.e. incorporating the setting of the structure) often reside in private ownership. In certain cases, improved protection of the property or monument, or access to same, would be possible if the State was to acquire such additional lands. In all cases the Department would need to examine the potential acquisition carefully, taking into account the conservation needs of the property and Value for Money principles.

My Department, in cooperation with the Office of Public Works, is, however, only in a position to acquire, maintain, conserve and present to the public a very limited number of properties and monuments such as that mentioned by the Deputy. While I am supportive of efforts to identify suitable future uses to safeguard historic buildings, crucial to their future is the identification of a viable use or uses with sufficient income to ensure their survival.

The national monuments in State care already number some one thousand sites at over 760 locations right across the country and these command considerable resource commitments in terms of both funding and personnel allocation. In addition, there are more than 45,000 protected structures spread across all 31 local authority areas in the country and in excess of 120,000 monuments listed in the Record of Monuments and Places that are not maintained by the State.

My Department does not comment on ongoing property sales processes, as it would be inappropriate to intervene publicly in individual cases.

Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Eligibility

Ceisteanna (3038)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

3038. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the person who can claim compensation on turbary rights; if it is only the landowner; and if it is a situation in which the bog was left to one son under the condition the other siblings had rights to cut turf on the bog. [34415/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme was established in 2011 for active turf cutters arising from the cessation of turf cutting on 53 raised bog special areas of conservation. This scheme is comprised of a payment of €1,500 per annum, index-linked, for 15 years, or relocation, where feasible, to a non-designated bog, together with a once off incentive payment of €500. In 2014, the scheme was extended to active turf cutters from 36 raised bog natural heritage areas. The qualifying criteria of 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 25 May 2010 in respect of the 29 raised bog special areas of conservation nominated for designation between 1997 and 1999, up to 31 December 2011 in respect of the 24 raised bog special areas of conservation nominated for designation in 2002 and up to 14 January 2014 in respect of the 36 raised bog natural heritage areas);

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

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

Where an applicant does not have the required legal interest or is not in a position to provide written evidence of such an interest, my Department will consider the application taking the circumstances of the case into account. Such an applicant must provide in writing specific details of his/her claim for compensation to the Department, for example, relationship with the individual with the legal interest, the number of years turf was cut for the applicant on the bog plot in question and the estimated quantity of turf cut for him/her on the bog plot per year.

The applicant should complete the application form for the scheme (available on request from the Department) and provide the specific details to the Department. All information provided will be assessed by the Department and a decision taken as to whether or not the applicant is considered eligible for compensation under the scheme.

Departmental Advertising Expenditure

Ceisteanna (3039)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

3039. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the expenditure by her Department on social media advertising and promotional material within the past year in tabular form. [34609/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The information requested by the Deputy in respect of expenditure by my Department on social media advertising and promotional material to date in 2019 is set out in the following table.

2019

Activity

Expenditure

Culture Ireland: social media content

€2,446

Creative Ireland: social media content

€35,978

Total

€38,424

In respect of expenditure in 2018 I would refer the Deputy to I would refer the Deputy to the reply given to Dáil Questions No 596 and 597 of 19th December 2018.

Value for money is always an important consideration for my Department when assessing expenditure of this nature.

Heritage Promotion

Ceisteanna (3040)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

3040. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the level of protection in place to protect heritage sites and buildings with a view to maximising economic opportunity arising there from in the future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34656/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Part IV of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, gives primary responsibility to planning authorities to identify and protect the architectural heritage by including particular structures on the Record of Protected Structures (RPS). Inclusion on the RPS 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.

As Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, I can make recommendations to planning authorities for buildings and structures to be included on the Record of Protected Structures. These recommendations arise from the survey of the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH), which is managed by my Department. The final decision as to inclusion of a building or structure on the RPS is a reserved function of the relevant planning authority.

As Minister, I am the owner or guardian of almost 1000 national monuments in State care right across the country, ranging from prehistoric burial monuments to medieval fortifications and religious sites. Sites in my ownership or guardianship are maintained by the Office of Public Works. Conservation matters in relation to these sites are managed through regular liaison between the OPW and the Department, identifying condition issues and proposing appropriate conservation actions, carried out under consent where relevant.

My Department also provides funding to the OPW to assist in the conservation and presentation of historic buildings and national monuments in State ownership.

The legislation protects our heritage for its intrinsic, rather than economic, value. I recognise, however, the additional value that the conservation of our historic sites and buildings can bring to communities as well as the value to be gained from the related promotion of traditional building skills. As such, my Department provides financial support for the protection of heritage buildings and historic structures through the Historic Structures Fund (HSF) and the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS), which are administered by local authorities.

The Historic Structures Fund (HSF) is for conservation and enhancement to heritage structures and historic buildings, in both private and public ownership, for the benefit of communities and the public. The primary focus of the Historic Structures Fund is on conservation and enhancement of historic structures and buildings for the benefit of communities and the public. The allocation for 2019 was €1.824 million and I announced the successful projects under this fund on 28 March 2019; a full list of the awards can be found on my Department’s website.

The Built Heritage Investment Scheme (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 fund is administered through the local authorities. The allocation for 2019 was €2.5 million and I announced the successful projects under this fund on 28 March 2019; a full list of the awards can be found on my Department’s website.

While the closing date for the 2019 schemes has now passed, my Department remains in contact with local authorities throughout the year to ensure the best use of funding, including by reallocating funding where, for example, projects do not go ahead.

Additionally, the Historic Towns Initiative is a joint undertaking between my Department and the Heritage Council, which my Department funds. It is a capital funding scheme to provide support to historic towns engaged in a programme of heritage-led regeneration. The HTI makes available capital funding – in 2019 this amounted to €1,000,000 –to local authorities. Local authorities must match any contribution awarded under the scheme.

The internationally recognised practice of heritage-led regeneration shows that heritage can be used to create a desirable place where people can live, visit and do business. Heritage-led regeneration brings economic benefits to enable our historic towns to prosper through increased visitor numbers and decreased numbers of vacant buildings and commercial premises. Each local authority is invited to apply in respect of one historic town with an indicative minimum population of 1,500 inhabitants. Priority is given to projects that are ‘plan-led’ and likely to make a meaningful contribution to the heritage-led regeneration of the town. In 2019 €1m was allocated between six towns: Kilrush, County Clare; Letterkenny, County Donegal; Ballina, County Mayo ; Navan, County Meath ; Boyle, County Roscommon ; Nenagh, County Tipperary.

Archaeological Sites

Ceisteanna (3041)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

3041. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of archaeological excavations in hand; the number proposed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34657/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

My function as Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in relation to archaeological excavation is to regulate this activity through the licensing system under section 26 of the National Monuments Act 1930, as amended. So far this year 610 such licences have been issued.

The majority of archaeological excavations are carried out by private sector archaeological consultants for the purpose of assessing the impact of proposed development on possible archaeological features or mitigating the impact of development on archaeological heritage. Others are undertaken for conservation or research purposes. In deciding whether to grant an archaeological excavation licence appropriate consideration is given to the need to maintain the integrity of affected archaeological sites.

All archaeological excavation licences are granted subject to conditions requiring reports on the results to be furnished to my Department's National Monuments Service. These reports are publicly available and provide valuable research data for the archaeological community as well as enhancing our knowledge and understanding of our archaeological heritage and contributing to its protection.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (3042)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

3042. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of persons working in her Department on a wage of less than €12.30 per hour; the number disaggregated by professional role; and the estimated cost of increasing the salaries of those on a wage of less than €12.30 per hour to a wage of €12.30 per hour. [34676/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I am informed that there are 115 persons working in my Department on a wage of less than €12.30 per hour. Of these, 58 are administrative civil servants, 15 are conservation rangers and 42 are visitor guides. I am further informed that the estimated annualised cost of increasing the pay of these employees to a rate of €12.30 per hour would be in the order of €325,000.