Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Dáil Issues, Local Issues

To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if funds will be made available to save St. Columba’s church in Swords, in view of its important history to the area and nationally.
– Clare Daly.

For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 11th June, 2014.

Ref No: 24280/14 Lottery: 16 Proof: 16

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Mr Jimmy Deenihan, T.D.):

Grant funding for the protection of built heritage is provided by my Department via a number of schemes, which are either directly administered or delivered through local authorities and agencies.

I recently gave approval in principle for the allocation of €15,000 to St. Columba’s Church in Swords under the Built Heritage Jobs Leverage Scheme. My Department made available a fund of €5 million under this scheme for the repair and conservation of protected structures under the Planning and Development Acts 2000-2012. This fund will support a significant number of projects across the country and employment in the conservation and construction industries. The scheme will operate throughout 2014 and is administered by the local authorities.

I understand that in 2005 St Columba’s Church was also awarded €25,000 for roof repairs from the Local Authority Conservation Grants Scheme, which operated at that time.

The conservation officer in the local authority will generally be able to advise of funding available for conservation works to protected structures in the area in question and it is advisable for interested parties to remain in contact with their local authority on an on-going basis.

The Heritage Council, which my Department funds, also operates a community grants scheme. It is primarily a matter for the Heritage Council to allocate its funding appropriately, given competing priorities within the heritage sector. I understand that in 2014 the Council is not providing direct grant aid for protected structures, due to the availability of funding from the Built Heritage Jobs Leverage Scheme. However, the church vestry in question should contact the Heritage Council directly to ascertain if the church is eligible for funding under any of the Heritage Council’s programmes now, or in the future.