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Written Answers. - Architectural Heritage.

Wednesday, 27 March 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 551 No. 3

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 206. Mr. Aylward Information on Liam Aylward Zoom on Liam Aylward  asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht and the Islands Information on Síle de Valera Zoom on Síle de Valera  if finance will be made available towards the repair or restoration of the steeple of a church and the surrounding wall (details supplied) in County Carlow which is in a dangerous state at the present time; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10419/02]

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands (Miss de Valera): Information on Síle de Valera Zoom on Síle de Valera In general, my Department does not directly provide financial support for the restoration of buildings in private ownership and I am not therefore, in a position to provide assistance for the restoration or repair of the steeple of St. John's Church, Nurney, County Carlow. However, one source of public funds for such projects is the Heritage Council, which has the power 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 launched jointly by me and my colleague, the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, a grant scheme has been introduced for the conservation of protected buildings, which is being administered by local authorities. All enquiries relating to this scheme should be directed to the relevant local authority, in this instance Carlow County Council.

Finally, the owner or occupier of a building which is determined by the 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.

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