12 Laois projects will share in €72,000 in funding from the Built Heritage Investment Scheme.
These are from 477 heritage projects across every county in the country that will benefit from a total of €3m under this year’s allocation.
The Old Bank House in Mountmellick tops the list with €10,000 to be spent on roof repair, structures and coverings including leadwork.
Stradbally Hall in Stradbally comes next with €8,500 going towards rainwater goods repair and replacement.
€4,000 is to be spent on St Paul’s French Church in Portarlington for historic window glass conservation and protection.
While a property at the Forum in Mountmellick will have €4,000 allocated on external joinery repair.
And a property in Jamestown will have €3,500 spent on roof repair, structures and coverings including leadwork.
The remaining funds are to spent on a range of different thatched properties around the county.
These are located in Durrow, Fisherstown, Rathleague, Clonaghadoo, Graiguecullen, Ballacolla (All €7,000) and Ballybodin (€1,000).
In addition to supporting owners and custodians of historic and protected structures to safeguard and maintain their properties, this funding will also provide a welcome boost to local construction and heritage trades by facilitating works with a total value of over €15.5m and leveraging an estimated 19,000 days’ labour.
The announcement follows the decision by Cabinet earlier this week to implement a limited, phased easing of restrictions from April until a substantial level of vaccination has been achieved, in the hope that a full re-opening of construction activity can be considered in early May.
Today’s announcement allows owners and custodians to begin to plan for the months ahead. All work must, of course, be carried out in full compliance with Government/HSE guidance on Covid-19.
The BHIS is one of two built heritage funding schemes run by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in association with the 31 Local Authorities.
Through grants of up to €15,000, the BHIS assists owners of heritage structures – including those on the local authorities’ Record of Protected Structures and those in Architectural Conservation Areas – to meet their obligations to care for their properties.
Welcoming the news, local Green Party Minister Pippa Hackett said: “Preserving our built heritage gives us a sense of our past and adds to the enhancement of our physical environment for the future.
“It’s great to see that owners of heritage properties are apply for and receiving grants to maintain them. Laois is receiving €72,000 primarily for the preservation of our lovely thatched houses.
“Many of the grants are for historic windows, lime rendering and roof repairs.”