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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1053 - 1065
 Header Item National Parks Projects
 Header Item Heritage Projects
 Header Item Heritage Projects
 Header Item Heritage Fund
 Header Item Seirbhísí Eitilte
 Header Item Ministerial Travel
 Header Item Arts Council Grants
 Header Item Commemorative Events
 Header Item Beit Collection
 Header Item Departmental Staff Recruitment
 Header Item Departmental Staff Redeployment
 Header Item Departmental Staff Retirements

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 879 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 108 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 1053 - 1065

National Parks Projects

 1053. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys her views on a matter (details supplied) regarding the Killarney National Park, County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20197/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys My Department has yet to receive a formal proposal on the matter referred to by the Deputy. However, I understand that there has been some discussion between Killarney National Park management and other parties about the viability and practicality of the proposal referred to.

In the event that such a proposal is received, it will be considered within the context of my Department’s management priorities for Killarney National Park and, in particular, its obligations to safeguard the integrity and security of this very important designated natural heritage property.

Heritage Projects

 1054. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the position regarding a Heritage Council grant in respect of a project (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20529/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys It is primarily a matter for the Heritage Council to decide how its funding should be allocated across its range of programmes, given competing priorities within the heritage sector.

  The Heritage Council’s Grants Programme is administered and assessed independently by the Council and, as Minister, I have no role in that regard.

Heritage Projects

 1055. Deputy Seán Conlan Information on Sean Conlan Zoom on Sean Conlan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the steps Monaghan County Council would have to take to apply for funding to carry out restoration works to the court house-market house, Castleblayney, County Monaghan; the criteria that must be complied with in submitting an application for funding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20831/15]

 1056. Deputy Seán Conlan Information on Sean Conlan Zoom on Sean Conlan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the funding that is currently available from her Department to carry out emergency works on the court house-market house, Castleblayney, County Monaghan, which is in the ownership of Monaghan County Council, is a building of architectural heritage and is on the list of protected structures; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20832/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I propose to take Questions Nos. 1055 and 1056 together.

  Recently I announced the awarding of €624,000 in funding under the Structures at Risk Fund 2015 to enable conservation works to 28 heritage structures throughout the country, in both private and public ownership, deemed to be at significant risk of deterioration and which are protected under the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended. This Fund, which is being administered through the local authorities, encourages the regeneration and reuse of heritage properties and helps to secure the preservation of protected structures, which might otherwise be lost. The Fund was open to 2 applications per local authority, of which 1 application may be in respect of a privately-owned building. The deadline for applications to this Fund for the current year has now passed and my Department did not receive any formal application for funding from Monaghan County Council for funding conservation works to the Court House/Market House in Castleblaney.

  The Heritage Council, which my Department funds, also provides grants for the protection and preservation of the built heritage. The Council recently announced funding for 197 heritage projects for its 2015 Community-based Heritage Grants Scheme totalling €547,000. The scheme, which supports the continuing conservation and development of Irish heritage through local community based groups, is expected to generate total investment of more than €1 million. Monaghan County Council may wish to contact the Heritage Council at www.heritagecouncil.ie regarding the issue of eligibility for funding for any future Council schemes.

  Officials in my Department are available to advise local authorities on the conservation, reuse and regeneration of historic structures, where applicable.

Heritage Fund

 1057. Deputy Sandra McLellan Information on Sandra McLellan Zoom on Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if grants are available for trusts (details supplied) to carry out upgrading and maintenance works on their properties; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19992/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Funding for the protection of built heritage will continue to be provided by my Department in 2015 via a number of schemes, which will be either directly administered or delivered through local authorities and agencies.

  Recently I announced the awarding of €624,000 in funding under the Structures at Risk Fund 2015, to enable conservation works to twenty-eight heritage structures throughout the country, in both private and public ownership, deemed to be at significant risk of deterioration and which are protected under the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended. This Fund, which is being administered through the local authorities, encourages the regeneration and reuse of heritage properties and helps to secure the preservation of protected structures, which might otherwise be lost. The Fund was open to two applications per local authority, of which one application may be in respect of a privately-owned building. The amount of funding available per project was subject to a minimum level of €15,000 and a maximum level of €60,000. Since 2011, approximately 130 structures have been safeguarded for the future as a result of the Structures at Risk Fund. My Department did not receive any formal application for funding under the Structures at Risk Fund 2015 from the Trust referred to by the Deputy.

  The remainder of my Department’s built heritage capital budget for 2015 will be focused on the conservation and presentation of the State's heritage portfolio, which is managed by the Office of Public Works.

  The Heritage Council, which my Department funds, recently announced funding for 197 heritage projects under its 2015 Community-based Heritage Grants Scheme totalling €547,000. The scheme, which supports the continuing conservation and development of Irish heritage through local community based groups, is expected to generate total investment of more than €1 million. I would advise that the Trust in question contact the Heritage Council to see whether it would be eligible to apply for funding for any future Council schemes. The Heritage Council can be contacted at www.heritagecouncil.ie.

Seirbhísí Eitilte

 1058. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys cén uair a bhfuil súil aici go ndéanfar cinneadh maidir leis na hiarratais ar an tseirbhís aeir go hÁrainn; an bhfuil sí ar an eolas faoin imní atá ar phobal Oileáin Árann faoi na tairiscintí atá á lorg; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh.  [20112/15]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh Mar is eol don Teachta, tá an fógra ag lorg tairiscintí do sheirbhís aeir Oileáin Árann don tréimhse ón 1 Deireadh Fómhair 2015 go dtí an 30 Meán Fómhair 2019 foilsithe. Ar chúinsí teicniúla, tá síneadh suas go dtí an 22 Meitheamh 2015 curtha leis an spriocdháta lena nglacfar le tairiscintí. Tosófar ar an bpróiseas measúnaithe ina dhiaidh sin. Faoi Rialacháin an Aontais Eorpaigh, is gá go mbeidh an cinneadh déanta dhá mhí roimh thús an chonartha.

Ós rud é gur próiseas beo tairisceana atá i gceist anseo, ní fheictear dom go mbeadh sé cuí a thuilleadh a rá mar gheall air ag an bpointe seo.

Ministerial Travel

 1059. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will provide details of all official foreign trips she and Ministers of State in her Department plan to take between now and the end of 2015; if she will provide details of whom she and the Ministers of State in her Department will be meeting on these trips; the purpose of these trips; the duration of these trips; her plans to use all of these trips to promote Ireland as a good place for doing business and as a destination for foreign direct investment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20435/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I, and the Ministers of State at my Department, undertake foreign trips from time to time in order to fulfil official duties. Every effort is made to maximise the opportunities that such trips present to promote Ireland and, in that regard, full itineraries are planned in conjunction with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. At this time, four foreign visits are confirmed for the remainder of 2015.

In July next, I will attend a number of events to mark the 99th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, with particular emphasis on the Irish men and women who suffered and died at that time. The trip will take place over 2 days.

I will also be attending the International Famine Commemoration in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, in October. The International Famine Commemoration is an annual event that recalls the experiences of Irish emigrants who fled the terrible events of the Great Famine. It is also an opportunity to build connections with Irish people living abroad and people of Irish descent and to explore cultural and business links with the host communities. The trip will last approximately 5 days and during this time I expect to meet the Irish Canadian Cultural Association of New Brunswick, community groups and business interests.

In August, Minister of State Joe McHugh will attend the Comhdháil Cois Locha, a gathering of North American teachers and enthusiasts of the Irish language, which is taking place in conjunction with the Milwaukee Irish Fest in Wisconsin, USA. He will also visit the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. The trip will last approximately 5 days and the Minister of State expects to meet members of the Fulbright Commission and the Board of Directors of the Milwaukee Irish Fest.

Also in August, Minister of State Aodhán Ó Ríordáin will attend the Edinburgh International Arts Festival, a prestigious event showcasing arts and culture from across the world. The event is supported by the Culture Ireland division of my Department and will be used to promote the work of Irish artists. The trip will run over 2 days and the Minister of State will attend Irish productions at the Festival and liaise with international arts promoters.

Arts Council Grants

 1060. Deputy Ciara Conway Information on Ciara Conway Zoom on Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will investigate the circumstances in which the Waterford Imagine Arts Festival had all of its Arts Council funding cut without any prior warning despite it receiving funding for the past 13 years; the reason for the cut; if she will commit to helping to reinstate the funding, which was less that €11,000 annually, particularly in the context of the negative impact the cut will have among the community arts sector locally in County Waterford; if the Waterford Imagine Arts Festival team will be allowed to appeal the decision; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [20568/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The Arts Council operates under the provisions of the Arts Act 2003, which provides, inter alia, that the Council is independent in the performance of its functions in funding the Arts. As Minister, I am precluded by law from interfering with or reviewing any decisions of the Council in relation to funding.

It may be noted that the Arts Council operates an appeals and complaints procedure, and, like other agencies under the aegis of my Department, is subject to the Ombudsman (Amendment) Act 2012.

Commemorative Events

 1061. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the provision that has been made to commemorate the 70 persons from the Foxford area of County Mayo who fought and survived or died with the allied forces during World War 1; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20686/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I refer the Deputy to my reply to Questions Nos. 553, 554, 555 and 556 of 19 May 2015 in relation to my Department’s approach to commemorative events.

Beit Collection

 1062. Deputy Anne Ferris Information on Anne Ferris Zoom on Anne Ferris asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys notwithstanding the fact that the administration of the Beit Foundation, which owns and operates Russborough House, is a matter for the trustees and that her Department has no role in the direct administration of the trust, her views on whether she has, in fact, a role in the arts education of the beneficiaries of the trust, namely, the citizens of Ireland; in view of the fact that the stated charitable intention of this significant bequest is to further the education of fine arts, her views on the clear impact on the role of her Department of the loss to this country of significant assets from the Beit bequest; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [20695/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys As I stated in my reply to the Deputy's Question No 549 of 19 May 2015, the administration of the Beit Foundation, which owns and operates Russborough House, is a matter for the trustees and my Department has no role in the matter.

Departmental Staff Recruitment

 1063. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the number of public and civil servants who were recruited under the aegis of her Department in 2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21102/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys There were a total of 4 appointments to permanent civil service positions in my Department during 2014. A further 26 staff were appointed to public service positions in those bodies under the aegis of my Department in 2014.

Departmental Staff Redeployment

 1064. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the number of public and civil servants under the aegis of her Department who were seconded abroad or to another Department in 2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21117/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys A total of 16 staff were on secondment from my Department to other Government Departments or public service organisations in 2014. In addition, one member of my Department's staff was assigned to Ireland's Permanent Representation in Brussels.

  A total of 5 public servants were seconded to other organisations from the bodies under the aegis of my Department in 2014.

Departmental Staff Retirements

 1065. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the number of public servants under the aegis of her Department who retired in 2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21138/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I am advised that a total of 31 public servants retired from those bodies under the aegis of my Department in 2014.


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