Dáil Éireann - Volume 572 - 21 October, 2003
Written Answers. - Architectural Heritage.
Ms Hoctor Ms Hoctor
382. Ms Hoctor asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his Department's plans regarding the long-term future of Kilcooley Abbey (house) at Gortnahoe, Urlingford, County Tipperary; and if his attention has been drawn to the concerns and options outlined by a person (details supplied) in correspondence. [24290/03]
Mr. Cullen Mr. Cullen
 Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. Cullen): The protection of the architectural heritage is primarily a matter for the planning authorities to which my Department provides advice in the exercise of their functions in that regard under the Planning and Development Act 2000. Under the provisions of the Act, each planning authority is required, for the purpose of protecting structures or parts of structures which are of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest, to include in its development plan a record of protected structures within its functional area.
In this regard, I understand Kilcooly Abbey house is included in South Tipperary County Council's record of protected structures. It is, accordingly, a matter for the council, in the first instance, to take whatever action it considers appropriate, consistent with its powers, to protect the architectural integrity of the property, including its interiors. The Act also places a responsibility on the owners and occupiers of protected structures to ensure the structure or any part of it, which contributes to its special interest, is not endangered in any way.
The use of the Planning and Development Acts and the completion of surveys such as the national inventory of architectural heritage are the main methods of assisting in the protection of the architectural heritage in private ownership. Significant further extension of the existing State-owned portfolio of over 740 national monuments and historic properties that are in the care of my Department cannot realistically be contemplated in current budgetary circumstances. The resource implications of maintaining this portfolio are very significant and therefore innovative alternatives to State acquisition to ensure the protection of landmark heritage properties under threat need to be explored. In light of this, I recently initiated the first steps of an examination into the issue of facilitating the emergence of trust-type organisations which might, independently of Government and without State aid, acquire and manage such heritage properties.
Dáil Éireann 572 Written Answers. Architectural Heritage.