Dáil Éireann - Volume 553 - 26 June, 2002
Written Answers. - Conservation Grant Schemes.
Mr. Naughten Mr. Naughten
255. Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government his plans to reform the grant scheme for refurbishment of listed houses before such houses are closed up in view of the low level of grants available for refurbishment works on listed homes and the fact that many families cannot afford to carry out such works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14957/02]
Mr. Cullen Mr. Cullen
Minister for the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Cullen): The conservation grant scheme for protected structures was introduced in 1999.
 The standard grant is 50% of the approved cost of works subject to a maximum of €13,000. A local authority may, at its discretion, vary this amount downwards, or in exceptional circumstances upwards, subject to a maximum allowable grant of 75% of the cost of the approved cost of works or €25,000 whichever is the lesser. Accordingly, the scheme is not intended to meet the full cost but is designed to assist owners or occupiers of protected structures to undertake necessary works to secure their conservation.
The scheme is administered by local authorities and it is a matter for them to assess and prioritise applications and approve funding under the scheme. Local authorities are required to prioritise applications on the basis of a scheme of priorities adopted by it. This is a statement by the local authority on the criteria that will be used in prioritising grant applications and will assist them in identifying the most pressing needs, in terms of conservation of structures. Each local authority is allocated a fixed amount of funding for grant purposes in each calendar year.
There has been a pattern of under expenditure on this scheme since its inception. The allocation of €3 million for 2002 does not reflect any change in my Department's policy towards the conservation of our protected structures. While there are no proposals to alter the scheme, my Department will continue to monitor its operation closely.
Dáil Éireann 553 Written Answers. Conservation Grant Schemes.