Dáil Éireann - Volume 495 - 20 October, 1998

Written Answers. - Youth Hostels.

295. Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands the plans, if any, her Department has to purchase the An Óige Youth Hostel, Aughavannagh, County Wicklow; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20314/98]

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands (Miss de Valera): My Department has no plans to purchase the An Óige Youth Hostel at Aughavannagh, County Wicklow. Officials from Dúchas, the heritage service of my Department had a meeting with representatives of An Óige, [912] including their president, last May to discuss the resolution of their problems at Aughavannagh. It was explained to An Óige at the time that, because of the heavy burden of commitments which my Department already has to meet in the area of the protection, preservation and conservation of the built natural heritage throughout the State, it was not open to Dúchas to take on further responsibilities such as those raised by An Óige at Aughavannagh. Moreover, as my Department is not a grant-giving agency in such matters, there were no possibilities open to me to assist the organisation through these means.