Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Doherty welcomes commitment from Minister Hayes of €350k investment in heritage sites

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has today (Wednesday) welcomed a commitment from the Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW, Brian Hayes, that €348,000 is to be reinvested in heritage sites. Minister Hayes made his comments at a meeting of the Select Sub Committee on Public Expenditure and Reform.

“This money was generated by Heritage Services last year, but rather than allow it to be swallowed up in the OPW’s general budget, Minister Hayes has promised that it will be invested back into heritage sites in 2014, which is a very welcome commitment. 

“The investment of this €348,000 will create a strong incentive to increase activity at heritage sites and improve business opportunities for locations around the country. With regards to my own constituency, I raised the issue of the visitor centre at the Hill of Tara directly with the Minister. 

“The Tara visitor centre is closed more weeks than it is open due to staffing problems, and I am pleased to have received a commitment from the Minister that he will look at the situation in a bid to ensure that it could be open year round. The opportunity to improve access to Tara must be taken now, at a time when an increased national investment is being made in heritage sites. 

“I also raised the prospect of private sector involvement in heritage sites, which I believe could pump some life back into some of the struggling sites across Meath. Minister Hayes was open to the idea, and I intend to pursue this matter with him further. 

“The Minister also confirmed at the Finance Committee that after an absence of a number of years, the OPW is to reintroduce its apprenticeship programme. This will result in 20 places being offered on the apprenticeship programme in areas such as stonemasonry and craft carpentry.”

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