The preservation of Ireland’s built heritage received a significant boost with the launch of the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) and the Historic Structures Fund (HSF) for 2023. With combined funding of €9m, the schemes represent a significant investment and a 12.5% increase in funding on last year. 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.
It is fantastic to see such support given to our built heritage, which is obviously an extremely important part of our history and identity. This investment is an excellent opportunity to boost the local economy in Laois and Offaly and, based on previous years will provide significant support to local jobs in conservation and traditional skills.
It is our responsibility to ensure that our heritage is preserved for future generations, so that they too can enjoy it. This funding has previously contributed to the preservation of buildings familiar to most of us like Birr Courthouse, Tullamore Gaol and Abbeyleix Old Church. I am delighted that Minister Noonan continues to include funding for vernacular buildings and traditional shopfronts: Such important parts of our heritage and once lost will be very difficult to replace.
Malcolm Noonan TD, Minister of State for Heritage 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 support the 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. It will also include funding for the conservation of shopfronts in the Irish language.
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. In 2022, 594 projects were funded by the two schemes, ranging from minor essential repairs of rainwater goods to large-scale roof repairs.
Applications open from 11 November, until 31 January 2023. Details of the schemes and how to apply are available on all local authority websites and the Department’s website www.housing.gov.ie