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For Written Answer on : 05/03/2024
Question Number(s): 395 Question Reference(s): 10101/24
Department: Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
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QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Housing; Local Government and Heritage the supports made available by his Department for thatched properties; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY


My Department’s grant scheme for the renewal or repair of a thatched roof provides funding of up to €6,350 or up to 80% of the approved cost, whichever is the lesser, in respect of necessary works to renew or repair the thatched roofs of private houses situated on the mainland where the private owner holds a medical card. A higher level of assistance of up to €8,252 is available for houses on specified offshore islands, where the owner holds a medical card. In the case of private owners without a medical card, funding of up to €3,810 or two thirds of the approved cost, whichever is the lesser, may be payable in respect of necessary works to renew or repair the thatched roofs of private houses situated on the mainland, rising to €5,714 where the house is situated on a specified off-shore island. Details in relation to this grant scheme is available at the following link: gov – Thatching Grant (www.gov.ie)

My Department also oversees a number of schemes to assist in the conservation of protected structures, which may include repairs to historic roofing. These schemes are the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) and the Historic Structures Fund, under which a combined total of €9 million is available for 2024. This year, as in 2023, a dedicated €500,000 has been ring-fenced under the BHIS for conservation repairs to historic thatched structures. This aims to maximise the availability of financial assistance to owners of such properties, helping them offset other costs. These schemes are administered through the local authorities and details are available at the following link:  https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/32ae3-financial-assistance-for-architectural-heritage/ 

My Department recently issued guidelines for safeguarding thatched houses against fire which is available at the following link: Fire-Safety-in-Thatched-Properties.pdf (buildingsofireland.ie)

To assist with the implementation of this fire safety guidance, my Department is running a pilot scheme where thatch owners and occupiers can request a visit to their property by a Housing Inspector from my Department. The inspector will assess the fire risks in each individual property and will make building-specific recommendations to improve fire safety based on the published guidance.

My Department has also been engaging closely with the Department of Finance and the insurance sector to identify potential providers and improve the situation for owners of thatch properties.