Heritage buildings must be saved and used, not let go derelict – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD
Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Gaeilge, Gaeltacht, Arts and Culture Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, today met with the Minister of State for Heritage, Malcolm Noonan, to discuss how to save and make use of our built heritage.
Teachta Ó Snodaigh, who was joined by Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó Broin TD, spokesperson for Housing and Heritage, and Senator Lynn Boylan, spokesperson on Climate Justice, said the meeting was “encouraging and productive”.
The Sinn Féin delegation raised the need to provide support to heritage sites that have seen incomes collapse due to the impact of Covid on footfall.
They also called for coordination with landowners and local communities to improve access and conservation of privately-owned national monuments.
The Minister promised to address the issue, with roughly half the build heritage in the State in private ownership.
An Teachta Ó Snodaigh said:
“I welcome the approach of Minister Noonan in agreeing to meet with us to discuss the dire need to protect and open up our heritage.
“In the context of the devastating demolition of the home of the O’Rahilly at 40 Herbert Park last year, and the ongoing threat to historic sites such as the battle site at Moore Street from destructive private development, we were particularly encouraged to hear that the long-awaited Monuments and Archaeological Heritage Bill is nearing pre-legislative scrutiny, and will aim to protect locations and sites where historic events took place.
This is something Sinn Féin has been calling for for years.
“We also welcomed the opportunity to raise examples of heritage sites in decay or left to go derelict across the country which were brought to our attention by Sinn Féin TDs and Senators, from Midleton Library in Cork to Dublin’s Georgian House Museum.
“One example we raised on behalf of Senator Paul Gavan is Castleconnell Railway Station in Limerick. The station has been left get into a state of disrepair, despite having been inhabited up to last year, because of a new policy by CIÉ not to rent out property it owns.
“The post office at the entrance to The Curragh Camp is another example of a building not being used that could be repurposed for community or residential use, or go some way to providing better accommodation for Defence Forces staff or families, rather than becoming more dilapidated, and more costly in the long run to salvage, due to years of neglect.
“At a time when people are crying out for housing, leaving habitable buildings or dwellings needing some minor repair work derelict is a criminal.
"Appropriate heritage buildings that form the focal point of many towns and villages across Ireland should be lived in where possible, especially those in state ownership.
“I will be writing to state bodies like CIÉ and An Post to demand they conduct an audit of their properties, to identify those which are unused or derelict properties that can be used as people’s homes.”