Thursday, 8 November 2001
Dáil Eireann Debate
38. Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht and the Islands if she has any plans to meet with the owners of Lismore Castle, with a view to discussing the restoration of the west wing of the castle, to bring it up to a standard which will enable it to be used for public viewing and as a major tourist attraction. [27221/01]
Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands (Miss de Valera): As I have already explained to the Deputy in my reply to Question No. 157 of 25 November 1998 my Department has no funds at its disposal for the restoration of properties other than those where I, as Minister, am the owner or guardian. As I am neither the owner nor guardian of Lismore Castle I am not in a position to fund the restoration of its west wing.
Some public funding is however available for heritage-related projects. One source of such funds is the Heritage Council, which 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, it is an independent statutory body established under the Heritage Act, 1995, and I have no function in relation to any decisions by it regarding the disbursal of grants.
In addition, the Deputy will be aware that as part of a package of measures jointly launched by me and my colleague, the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, in 1999 for the protection of the architecture heritage, a grants scheme was established for the conservation of protected buildings, which is being administered by local authorities with funding in the order of £4 million per annum. All inquiries relating to this scheme should be directed to the relevant local authority, Waterford County Council in this instance.
Finally, the owner or occupier of a building which is determined by me to be a building which is intrinsically of significant scientific, historical, architectural or aesthetic interest, and which is determined by the Revenue Commissioners to be a building to which reasonable access is afforded to the public, can apply under section 482 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, for relief in respect of expenditure incurred in the repair, maintenance or restoration of the building. Ultimately, the decision to allow tax relief in respect  of an approved building is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners.
|Last Updated: 10/09/2010 20:19:54||Page of 148|