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Minister Humphreys publishes Action Plan for Historic Houses

Published: Wednesday, December 02, 2015

RIAI Action Plan 2015

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, has  launched an Action Plan for historic houses in private ownership. The plan contains nine actions aimed at securing these historic properties on a sustainable footing into the future.

The Action Plan focuses on ways to strengthen links with local communities and local authorities; the development of visitor programmes; boosting marketing and tourism opportunities and improving links between historic houses and the educational sector.

The Action Plan is the result of the work of the Irish Historic Houses Committee, which the Minister established in February of this year. The Committee included representatives from relevant Government Departments, the Irish Historic Houses Association, Fáilte Ireland, relevant non-governmental organisations and a number of individual house owners.

Speaking at the opening Minister Humphreys said: “My Department estimates that there are up to 2,000 historic houses across the country. These properties are not just historically significant, they are also important assets to local communities which can help to drive tourism and economic activity.

Due to the age and scale of these properties, owners and custodians face huge challenges meeting their upkeep. While it is not realistic or prudent for the Government to provide large amounts of financial support, I believe we must consider ways to better support historic houses so we can secure their viability into the future.

“This Action Plan sets out a number of practical steps which will help to safeguard the future of historic houses. Four of the nine actions contained in the Action Plan will now be treated as a priority:

  • The development of an Historic House-Living Museum programme, for private houses open to the public to help attract more visitors and tell the stories of these houses
  • The development of a specific visitor promotional programme
  • The establishment of a building conservation advisory service for owners of historic houses, to help advise them on the maintenance and upkeep of their properties
  • A review, in collaboration with the Department of Finance, of Section 482 of the Taxes Consolidated Act 1997;

“It is clear that without action, these heritage properties will fall into decline. This Action Plan should be seen as a first step; my Department will now set about implementing the priority actions and will work with local authorities, property owners and other agencies to provide better support and advice for historic houses across the country.”

Susan Kellett, Chairman of the Irish Historic Houses Association said: “I would like to thank the Minister for this welcome and far sighted initiative to assist and support the private owners of historic houses.  We now all have the task of ensuring that the Action Plan delivers for owners, their houses, for local communities and indeed for the country.”

The Action Plan for the Sustainable Future of the Irish Historic House is available for viewing HERE. 

Categories: Architecture

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