Following contact from concerned Howth residents about the sale of the St Columbanus Hall, Deputy Broughan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development and the Minister for Culture; Heritage and the Gaeltacht about the type of protections and supports available to the local community which is anxious to preserve and continue to use this historic community building. In a very informative reply to the Parliamentary Question today, Deputy Broughan was told that St. Columbanus Hall is recorded in the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s “National Inventory of Architectural Heritage as being of Regional Importance, qualifying it for recommendation to the local authority for inclusion in its Record of Protected Structures”.
The PQ reply states: “Part IV of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, gives primary responsibility to planning authorities to identify and protect the architectural heritage by including particular structures on their Record of Protected Structures. Inclusion on the Record of Protected Structures places a duty of care on the owners and occupiers of protected structures and also gives planning authorities powers to deal with development proposals affecting them and to seek to safeguard their future.
The building in question is recorded in my Department’s National Inventory of Architectural Heritage as being of Regional Importance, qualifying it for recommendation to the local authority for inclusion in its Record of Protected Structures.
My Department provides financial support for the protection of heritage buildings and historic structures through the Historic Structures Fund (HSF), formerly the Structures at Risk Fund and the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS), which are administered by local authorities. This year I have allocated €1.824m and €2.5m respectively to these schemes. Details of these projects and funding, and the criteria by which they are assessed, are available on my Department’s website and local authority websites. While the closing dates for applications have now passed, my Department will remain in close contact with local authorities throughout the year to ensure the best possible use is made of all funds, including by reallocating funds where certain projects do not proceed within agreed timeframes.
In the context of a particular building or historic structure, the best advice is generally to contact the Heritage Officer or Architectural Conservation Officer in the local authority who is well placed to advise on the various types of funding available to assist with its renovation or conservation.”
Deputy Broughan says “I’m delighted to learn that St Columbanus Hall is on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage and I have contacted citizens campaigning to save St Columbanus Hall with this information, as well as contacting Fingal County Council directly. Hopefully the Council can invigilate any proposals from the Church to sell this historic building and ensure that the building is kept and protected as part of Howth’s community.”