Dáil Éireann - Volume 502 - 23 March, 1999

Written Answers. - Architectural Heritage.

490. Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands the grants, if any, she will make available to people who have houses of notable vintage, for example, Georgian houses at least 200 years old (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7877/99]

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands (Miss de Valera): In general, my Department does not directly provide financial support for heritage buildings throughout the country. A new grant-aid scheme has been established for approved conservation works to buildings listed for protection. This scheme, which will commence shortly, will be administered by the local authorities, will have funding of approximately £4 million per annum, and will be operated in accordance with national criteria and standards currently being drawn up by an advisory group made up of representatives of my Department, the Department of Environment and Local Government and the Heritage Council. This scheme should be of assistance to owners of houses of notable vintage, such as Georgian houses, which are listed for protection in local authority development plans.

A further source of public funds for projects relating to heritage buildings is the Heritage Council, which is a statutory, autonomous body. The council has powers to provide advice and assistance, including financial assistance, in relation to the protection, preservation and promotion of the physical heritage. It should be noted that, although my Department funds the Heritage Council, I have no function in relation to decisions by it on the disbursal of grants.