Thatching Grants Eligibility

Ceisteanna (687)

James Browne

Ceist:

687. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if the built heritage investment scheme or the historic structures fund covers the replacement of thatched roofs on private homes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51129/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

My Department provides financial support for the protection of heritage buildings and historic structures through 2 grant schemes which are generally administered by local authorities.

I launched these schemes, the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund, on the 14 November, with funding of €2.5m and €1.8m, respectively, for projects taking place during 2020. Both schemes are administered by the local authorities and are open for applications until 31 January 2020. These schemes are available to private homes in certain circumstance and full details of eligibility for the schemes as well as how to apply are available on my Department’s website, www.chg.gov.ie, and on all local authority websites.

Both the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund may be used for financing repairs to thatched buildings, including roofs. A number of such buildings have been financed under both schemes in previous years, including in the Deputy’s own constituency. A list of all projects funded in 2019 is available on my Department’s website.

In the context of a particular building or historic structure, the best advice is generally to contact the Heritage Officer or Architectural Conservation Officer in the local authority who is well placed to advise on the various types of funding available to assist with its renovation or conservation.

The Heritage Council, which my Department funds, also provides grants for the protection and preservation of our built heritage, which may include grants for thatching. The announcement of any proposed grant schemes can be found on their website at www.heritagecouncil.ie.

While my Department does not run a funding scheme specifically for thatched structures, I am aware that my colleague, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government administers a grant scheme for the renewal or repair of thatched roofs of owner-occupied houses. Full details are available from their website at www.housing.gov.ie/housing/grantsfinancial-assistance/thatching-grant/thatching-grants.

Departmental Legal Cases

Ceisteanna (688)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

688. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if the counsel of her Department has ceased agreeing to the series of adjournments made in the case of a review (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51220/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

As this matter is currently before the Courts, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on same.

Departmental Advertising Campaigns

Ceisteanna (689)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

689. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the advertising campaigns, promotional events and launches planned by her Department for the first six months of 2020; the budgeted costs of these campaigns; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51406/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I am advised that a number of events and launches are currently planned by my Department for the first six months of 2020. The budgeted costs for these events are not yet finalised and an indicative list of the currently planned events and launches includes:

- National Policy on Architecture Public Consultation workshops/meetings

- Historic Towns Initiative - announcement of successful towns

- Built Heritage Investment Scheme / Historic Structures Fund - announcement of successful projects

- Heritage Ireland 2030 - official launch/national heritage forum

- Announcement of the Review of the Language Assistants Scheme

- Culture 2025

Data Sharing Arrangements

Ceisteanna (690)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

690. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the data sharing agreements her Department has in place with organisations that are not other Departments or State agencies; the purpose of these data sharing agreements; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51423/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Details of the Data Sharing Agreements my Department has in place with organisations other than Departments or State Agencies are summarised in the following table.

Department Business Unit

Recipients of Data under Sharing Agreement

Type of information

Purpose of Sharing Agreement

National Parks and Wildlife Service

RPS Ireland Ltd

Bog Relocation Sites records (Personal Information of Landowners regarding peatland compensation or purchase schemes, or granting of Activities Requiring Consent (ARCs), restoration and drainage Plans etc.)

To facilitate provision of expert scientific and technical services regarding the conservation, management and restoration of raised bog Special Areas of Conservation and Natural Heritage Areas, as well as planning advice and support regarding the development of non-designated and designated bogs as required.

National Parks and Wildlife Service

Bord na Móna

Bog Relocation Site records, Applications for Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme and Voluntary Bog Purchase Scheme

To assist in the completion of purchases of Bord na Móna owned lands, to provide expertise in the context of the relocation of turf cutters from raised bog Special Areas of Conservation and Natural Heritage Areas, as well as expertise on management of the raised bog network

National Parks and Wildlife Service

Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland

Vascular Plant Records identifying locations of legally protected species as well as other species that indicate important habitats for protection.

To protect legally protected and other species of plants

National Parks and Wildlife Service

Hen Harrier Project*

Hen Harrier Survey data within six Special Protection Areas designated for that species

To facilitate species protection. The hen harrier dataset holds nest locations of breeding birds, which need to be protected from disturbing activities.

National Archives

Axiell

Personal Information and deposit or donation agreement details of Donors or Depositors of Archives; titles of individual records (files) withheld from public inspection

Hosting of National Archives accessioning and cataloguing information.

*The Hen Harrier Project is an EIP (European Innovation Partnership) Locally Led Scheme funded by the Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as part of Ireland's Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.

Freedom of Information Data

Ceisteanna (691)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

691. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of freedom of information requests in which her Department made a decision to deny; and the number in which the Information Commissioner overturned the decision of her Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019. [51457/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

With regard to the number of Freedom of Information requests that my Department has received since 2016 where access to information was denied, I would refer the Deputy to the reply given in response to Parliamentary Question 277 of 4th December last.

For the Deputy's information, the position is summarised in the table below. As reflected below there have been 11 appeals to the Information Commissioner during this period in respect of decisions made by the Department. In 5 cases the Department's decision was upheld while in a further 5 cases the Department's decision was overturned. The remaining case is ongoing.

Year

FOI Requests Received

Refused

Part Granted

Granted

Referred to OIC

Dept DecisionOverturned by OIC

2016

169

40

45

84

3

2

2017

158

28

74

56

3

2

2018

239

65

71

103

1

0

2019

219

40

57

122

4

1

Departmental Agencies Data

Ceisteanna (692)

James Browne

Ceist:

692. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the agencies or organisations under the remit of her Department; the number that have boards; the number of positions on each board; the number of vacant positions; and the agencies or organisations that have boards whose members have an obligation to appear before committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas. [51491/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

There are currently fourteen State Agencies under the remit of my Department. Of these thirteen have Boards and one, the National Archives of Ireland, has an Advisory Council. Waterways Ireland is a North /South body under the remit of my Department which does not have a board.

The detail requested by the Deputy in relation to the Boards is laid out in the following table. For completeness, the detail of the National Archives Advisory Council is included.

A process is currently under way with the Public Appointments Commission to identify suitably qualified members of the public who are interested in serving on Boards of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the National Concert Hall and the National Museum of Ireland.

I have been advised that since the introduction of the Department of Public Expenditure & Reforms Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards in 2011, there is an obligation on the Chair designate to appear before the relevant Joint Oireachtas Committee.

State Agency

No. Positions on Board

Current Membership of Board

Current Vacancies on Board

Chair Appeared Before Joint Oireachtas Committee

Arts Council

13

13

0

Yes - 12/06/2019

Crawford Art Gallery

12

12

0

Yes – 26/04/2017

Foras na Gaeilge1

16

13

3

North/South Body not required to appear before Joint Oireachtas Committee

Heritage Council

11

11

0

Yes – 20/09/2018

Irish Manuscripts Commission

20

20

Yes – 20/09/2018

Irish Museum of Modern Art

12

11

1

Yes – 10 November 2015

National Archives of Ireland

12

12

0

N/a - NAAC is not a State Board, It is an Council which advises the Minister

National Concert Hall

9

8

1

Yes – 28/09/2016

National Gallery of Ireland

17

17

0

No - Appointment as Chair Prior to June 2011

National Library of Ireland

12

12

0

Yes – 20/10/2015

National Museum of Ireland

16

14

2

Yes – 28/09/2016

Screen Ireland

7

7

0

Yes – 28/09/2016

Údarás Na Gaeltachta

12

12

0

Yes - 27/11/2012

Ulster Scots Agency

8

8

0

N/a

Totals

177

169

8

1. Appointments to boards of North/South bodies are made by the North-South Ministerial Council arising from nominations on a 50:50 basis by each jurisdiction. Current vacancies are in respect of the North.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (693)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

693. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the budget and number of staff working in her Department in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51562/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table. For completeness, I am informed that my Department recruits approximately 70 additional seasonal staff annually to cover busy periods in the National Parks.

Year

Departmental Budget €million

Staff Number

2014

263,896*

567

2015

277,434

579

2016

315,430/382,649**

639 ( inclusive of 40 Regional and Rural staff)

2017

368,422/288,408***

649 (exclusive of 62 Regional and Rural staff).

2018

302,959

643

2019

338,959

692

*This figure excludes funding for the National Gallery of Ireland, which was a separate Vote in 2014.

** Further Revised Estimate following transfer in of functions relating to Regional and Rural staff.

*** Further Revised Estimate following transfer out of functions relating to Regional and Rural staff.

The transfer of regional and rural affairs functions from the former Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to the newly formed Department of Rural and Community Development came into effect from 27 July 2017. The Department was re-named the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht with effect from 1 August 2017. Accordingly, the figures for 2016 and 2017 represent further Revised Estimates following the transfer in and out of functions relating to Regional and Rural Staff in the years in question.

Hare Coursing Regulation

Ceisteanna (694)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

694. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the regulated coursing matches approved by the fixtures committee at a club (details supplied) for the 2019-2020 season; and the basis on which other coursing matches can take place. [51721/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I suspended the licences issued to the Club in question on 9 August this year to capture and tag hares for the 2019/20 hare coursing- until a clearer understanding of the extent, spread and implications of the RHD2 virus emerges.

I issued revised licences last month to allow the netting and tagging of hares but there are specific restrictions and conditions explicitly attached to the issue of those licences. The capturing of hares and coursing activity is prohibited in areas within a 25-kilometre radius of where wild rabbits or hares have tested positive for the virus. New zones will be added on an ongoing basis if further positive tests arise and, in these new zones, the capturing of hares will have to cease immediately and coursing will only be possible with already captured hares, where the hares are certified in writing by a veterinary surgeon as being healthy, and such hares will only be released on foot of such certification. This has already impacted on some coursing events.

The club referred to by the Deputy publishes its 2019/20 fixture list of coursing meetings on its website and it is my understanding that this list is amended from time to time to take account of the impact of the RHD2 virus on coursing events.

Film Industry Development

Ceisteanna (695)

Pat Deering

Ceist:

695. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the progress made on making Ireland a global hub for film, television drama and animation since the launch of the audiovisual action plan in 2018 with a particular reference to the growing animation sector in counties Carlow and Kilkenny; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51769/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

The Audiovisual Action Plan, launched in June 2018, is an industry-wide, 10 year plan, under the Creative Ireland Programme, developed to support the Government’s ambition to enable Ireland to become a global hub for the production of film, TV drama and animation. It is intended to drive both increased investment and production across the sector by implementing policy recommendations in 8 key areas. Implementation of the Plan is overseen by a high level Steering Group comprising representatives from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Screen Ireland, the Department of Finance, the Department of Education and Skills, Revenue Commissioners, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland.

I am pleased to report that on 1 December 2019, the First Progress Report on Implementation of the Audiovisual Action Plan was published. It provides a detailed description of the achievements under the Plan to date. Key highlights are:

- Clear ownership of the Implementation Plan with cross-departmental and agency engagement;

- Extension of the Section 481 tax credit to 2024;

- Revision of section 481 Regulations;

- Increase in funding to Screen Ireland which has led to increased investment in TV drama, skills development, support to visit markets and establishing ways to provide a stronger presence in key markets such as Los Angeles;

- Signing of the revised Council of Europe Convention on Cinematographic Co-production;

- Developments relating to reform of the TV Licence fee model;

- Introduction of the Regional Film Development Uplift;

- Development of new skills development courses and enhanced training and skills development opportunities as part of section 481 revisions.

This Government highly values the cultural, creative and economic potential of Ireland’s audiovisual industry and the growing animation sector is an intrinsic part of that industry. Government policy supports the audiovisual sector through inter alia the section 481 tax relief, international film co-production treaties and through funding provided to Screen Ireland, which is the development agency for the Irish Film industry. On 10 April 2018, my Department published ‘Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018-2027’, as part of Project Ireland 2040. As part of a commitment of close to €1.2 billion in capital funding for culture and creativity over ten-year period, the Department allocated a €200 million investment in media production and the audio-visual industry within same the period. This funding, is being delivered through Screen Ireland whose change of name from the Irish Film Board in early 2018, acknowledges the widened remit of the agency to develop talent throughout all stages of the film making process, in film, television and animation. Within Screen Ireland, Screen Skills Ireland is responsible for investing in people and skills development for the screen sectors in Ireland. Screen Skills Ireland designs, develops and delivers industry-focused skills development initiatives, encompassing film, TV, animation, games and visual effects, for all roles from new entrants to company leaders. The continuing growth of the audiovisual industry in Ireland relies in part on the continued development of skills and the provision of training to workers in the sector. With its new role in relation to skills development as part of the section 481 application process, Screen Skills Ireland is working closely with companies right across Ireland, including in counties Carlow and Kilkenny to deliver on that objective.

The Report is available on my Department’s website at

https://www.chg.gov.ie/app/uploads/2019/11/first-progress-report-on-implementation-of-the-audio-visual-action-plan.pdf