Minister Noonan Announces €9m in Funding for Built Heritage Projects

• Applications are now open for the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund

• Funding increased by 12.5%

• It will support the owners and custodians of protected structures in every local authority area across the country

• Funding targets traditional structures and shopfronts in the Irish language

• Works under scheme could create up to 50,000 days of employment in traditional building skills

The Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan TD, has today (Wednesday 16 November) launched the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) and the Historic Structures Fund (HSF) for 2023.

With combined funding of €9m, the 2023 schemes represent a significant investment in the preservation of Ireland’s built heritage. It is expected the BHIS and HSF will support hundreds of projects and create over 50,000 days of employment for skilled conservation professionals and craftspeople.

Announcing the 2023 schemes, Minister of State Noonan said:

“Supporting our communities in their efforts to repair, preserve and restore our built heritage takes significant time, care, expertise, and investment. I am therefore delighted to announce that applications are now open for both the Built Heritage Investment Scheme and Historic Structures Fund for 2023, with combined funding of €9m. This 12.5% increase on last year underlines this Government’s commitment to the continuing protection and preservation of our built environment, in line with the goals set out in Heritage Ireland 2030, the new national heritage plan, which I launched earlier this year.”

The Built Heritage Investment Scheme and the Historic Structures Fund will support owners and custodians of protected structures in every local authority area across the country. Together, the schemes will assist hundreds of small-scale, labour-intensive projects as well as larger-scale projects to repair and conserve our historic built environment. These projects will also give significant support to local jobs in conservation and traditional skills.

The funding announced by Minister Noonan includes a total of €4.5 million for the Built Heritage Investment Scheme, and €4.5 million for the Historic Structures Fund.

The 2023 Historic Structures Fund will include two streams first introduced in 2021: one for vernacular structures and another for historic shopfronts.

The vernacular stream will provide total funding of €150,000 for conservation repairs and small capital works to eligible vernacular structures – structures built through traditional local methods (see note below) – that are not listed in local authority Records of Protected Structures or otherwise legally protected.

The shopfront stream, which runs in conjunction with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, includes shared funding of €50,000 for the conservation of shopfronts in the Irish language.

The 2023 Built Heritage Investment Scheme will include ring-fenced funding of €500,000 for conservation repairs to eligible historic thatched structures to maximise the availability of financial assistance to such owners, helping them offset other costs.

In 2022, 594 projects were funded by the two schemes, ranging from minor essential repairs of rainwater goods to large-scale roof repairs. One such project, which was funded over two years, was the repair and conservation of 62 windows at Strokestown House, Roscommon. This project was recently featured on an episode of Great Irish Interiors on RTE.

Applications are now open and will run until 31 January 2023. Details of the schemes and how to apply are available on all local authority websites and the Department’s website.

Commenting on today’s launch, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, TD, said:

“The importance of our historic built environment cannot be overstated: it is an integral part of our culture and sense of place and is of huge importance to our local economies. It is our shared responsibility to ensure that this heritage is passed on to future generations. Along with my colleague, Minister of State Malcolm Noonan, TD, I was delighted to secure an increase in Budget 2023 to facilitate the next round of investment in preserving and conserving our built heritage. This funding will allow new and exciting conservation projects to be undertaken in the coming year.”

Adding to Minister O’Brien’s comments, Minister of State for Local Government, Peter Burke TD, said:

“It is great to see the continued cooperation of central and local government in working together with owners to progress built heritage projects across the country, ensuring that our heritage is protected as a community asset. Thanks to the work of the Department and local authorities, these schemes protect our heritage and strengthen our shared identity as members of local communities.”