Minister Noonan announces €6m in funding for built heritage projects
Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, today (Wednesday 18 November) launched the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund for 2021. With €6m in funding across both schemes, they represent a significant boost to the preservation of Ireland’s built heritage. It is expected the schemes will support hundreds of projects while also creating over 30,000 days of employment.
Speaking today, the Minister said:
“Now, more than ever, our communities must be supported in their efforts to repair, preserve and restore our built heritage. The importance of our built environment cannot be overstated. It is an integral part of our culture, our sense of pride and is of huge importance to our local economies. I am therefore delighted to be able to announce an increase in investment for both the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures fund for 2021. The increase in funding to €6 million across both schemes underlines this Government’s commitment to the continuing protection and preservation of our built environment. This additional funding will not only benefit an increased number of structures in 2021 but will also significantly increase the number of days’ employment leveraged by the two schemes. Today’s announcement is an indication of the Government’s continued commitment to improving our built environment.”
The Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund will support the owners and custodians of protected structures in every local authority area across the country in 2021. Together, both schemes will assist hundreds of small-scale, labour- intensive projects as well as larger-scale projects to repair and conserve our historic built environment. The projects will also give significant support to local jobs in conservation, traditional skills and construction, providing a vital boost to local economies during challenging times a cumulative total of some 30,000 days of employment will be generated.
The 2021 Historic Structures Fund will also include two new pilot streams: one for vernacular structures and another for historic shopfronts.
“The vernacular structures stream will support what can be termed ‘informal’ traditional buildings that are a significant part of our intangible cultural heritage,” Minister Noonan outlined. “Historic shopfronts have always been eligible to apply for funding under the HSF; to incentivise such applications in 2021, Local Authorities will be allowed to shortlist an additional project if that project concerns the refurbishment and conservation of historic shop facades, windows and/or signs.”
In 2020, over 450 projects were funded by the two schemes, ranging from minor essential repairs of rainwater goods to large-scale roof repairs. One of the more unusual projects involved conservation works and a new coat of paint for the beloved Sligo landmark the Metal Man, at Rosses’ Point.
The funding announced by Minister Noonan includes a total of €3 million for the Built Heritage Investment Scheme - an increase of 20% from last year’s scheme - and €3 million for the Historic Structures Fund - which is an increase of over 75% from HSF 2020. Applications open from today until 29 January 2021. Details of the schemes and how to apply are available on all local authority websites and the Department’s website here.
Commenting on today’s launch, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, TD, said:
“Our built heritage is the signature that each generation has left on our communities. Those textured layers of physical history are part of our national DNA and I was delighted, with my colleague, Minister of State Malcolm Noonan, TD, to be able to secure significant funds in Budget 2021 to facilitate the next round of investment in preserving and conserving that heritage.”
Adding to Minister O’Brien’s comments, Minister of State for Local Government, Peter Burke TD, said:
“It is great to see central and local government working together with owners to progress built heritage projects across the country, ensuring that our heritage is protected as a community asset. COVID-19 has allowed many of us to spend more time in our local areas and schemes such as these help us to develop an increased feeling of identity as members of shared communities.”