4 January 2021
By Elaine Murphy
The author of ‘The Buildings of Ireland: Cork City and County’ has said he is disappointed that Cork receives less Funding for Protected Structures than any other County.
His impressive book was published in February 2020 (see our article here).
The state of Ireland has 26 Counties, which are managed locally by 31 Local Authorities.
In a statement today book author and conservation professional Frank Keohane said:
“Having studied and visited many of Cork’s finest buildings, I am passionate about caring for the architectural heritage of my native Cork and have the benefit of being able to split my time between Dublin and East Cork.I am however deeply concerned at the level of funding that County Cork receives through the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) operated by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing.On the basis of the size of its record of protected structures, of all the planning authorities in Ireland, Co. Cork receives the smallest allocation. In 2020 a total of €79,000 was allocated to a county with 2818 protected structures – an allowance of €28.03 per protected structure.By contrast on the same basis, Leitrim received €198.68 per protected structure, Donegal received €159.15 per protected structure, South Dublin received €140.19 per protected structure while Galway city received €123.79 per protected structure.In essence protected structures in Leitrim receive 7 times more funding than those in Co. Cork under the current scheme.The average national level of grant aid per protected structure is approximately €56.49 – twice the allocation that Co. Cork receives. I have included as an attachment, a table showing the grant allocations and also a link to the Department’s website where the grant allocations for 2020 can be found – https://www.gov.ie/en/
publication/32ae3-financial- assistance-for-architectural- heritage/As a conservation professional I am only too aware of the important role BHIS grant assistance plays in assisting building owners and communities in repairing protected structures and conserving them for the wider public and future generations. BHIS assistance can play an important part in enhancing our towns and villages as well as caring for landmark buildings in Cork’s countryside.It is to be welcomed that the level of BHIS funding has increased in recent years. Nevertheless anyone trying to care for a protected structure in County Cork is at an immediate disadvantage owing to the unfair and inconsistent manner in which BHIS funds are allocated at a national level. “
Book author and conservation professional Frank Keohane would like the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Minister Malcolm Noonan to ensure that future BHIS allowances for County Cork are substantially increased to reflect the number of its protected structures. “Ideally, Cork’s annual allocation would be at, or closer to, the average of €56.49 per protected structure – an allocation similar to that given to Cork City in 2020”, he concluded.