Thursday 4 March 2021

 Malcolm Noonan, T.D, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, today launched the 2021 Community Monuments Fund which will invest €2 million in the protection and promotion of archaeological heritage during 2021.  The €2 million allocation is an increase of 75% on last year’s funding.

The grants available under the Community Monuments Fund will help custodians and owners of archaeological monuments to safeguard them into the future for the benefit of local communities and the visiting public. In addition they will provide support for heritage professions and job opportunities in building conservation and other traditional skills.

The Community Monuments Fund was first established as part of the 2020 July Jobs Stimulus introduced in response to the Covid emergency. In 2020, some 71 heritage projects were funded to the value of €1.15 million. It is anticipated that that the 2021 programme being run by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage’s National Monuments Service will support more than 120 projects across the country.

The core aims of the Community Monuments Fund are the conservation, maintenance, protection and promotion of archaeological monuments. Funding is available for:

  • conservation works to monuments which are deemed to be significant and in need of urgent support,
  • works to improve access to and presentation of monuments, and
  • building resilience into monuments to enable them to withstand the effects of climate change.

It is available in three streams.

Stream 1 of the Community Monuments Fund will support essential repairs and capital conservation works at archaeological monuments. Stream 2 will fund the development of Conservation Management Plans/Reports which will identify necessary conservation measures and any issues requiring future attention. A third stream offers grants for enhancement of access infrastructure and interpretation at archaeological monuments, including development of online interpretative material.

Speaking today, Minister Noonan said:

We have a responsibility towards our heritage and to those who care for it. When we established the Community Monuments Fund in 2020, we did so with the objective of supporting the heritage sector and providing an effective way of assisting Local Authorities and custodians in protecting Ireland’s remarkable yet vulnerable archaeological heritage.

With the excellent partnership between Local Authorities and our National Monuments Service, the 2020 Fund supported an extraordinary level of community engagement and public participation in heritage. It provided traditional skills opportunities and strengthened the role of heritage in communities across the country, highlighting the role of heritage in providing a strong sense of place and well-being. We are very pleased to be able to grow the fund significantly this year and hope to support over 120 projects which will provide a local economic boost with thousands of hours of employment for stone masons, conservation architects, archaeologists and others, in sustainable job opportunities in the care of our heritage.

Minister Noonan added:

In these times we must do what we can to support the protection of our vulnerable archaeological heritage, to celebrate it and make it accessible to all. We must also do all we can to nurture and support communities across the land who devote their time and energy to the protection of their local heritage.  This investment will help to ensure that our archaeological heritage across the nation continues to enrich all of our lives as we emerge from this crisis.

Commenting on today’s launch, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, said:

Our archaeological heritage lies at the very heart of communities across this country, an inheritance of monuments echoing a resilient past that we are all obliged to protect. With my colleague, Minister of State Malcolm Noonan, TD, I was very pleased to be able to secure significant funds in Budget 2021 to facilitate a continuation of the very popular and impactful Community Monuments Fund in preserving and conserving that heritage.

Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government and Planning Peter Burke TD said:

Care for heritage lies at the very heart of the work of the Local Authorities around the country and we are very grateful to our Local Authorities for all their assistance in administering this Fund in partnership with the Department.  This funding will assist them greatly in the maintenance of important archaeological monuments in their care and will support the many community heritage organisations and custodians of our heritage around the country.

Applications for grants can be made by Local Authorities for works to archaeological monuments in public ownership, where a clear heritage focus and community or public benefit has been demonstrated, and also projects proposed by Local Authorities on foot of applications from private applicants who are the owners or custodians of monuments.  In addition, eligible applications with a strong community benefit may be sent direct to the Department from State-funded organisations working in the heritage area.

The closing date for applications for the 2021 round of grants is Friday 30 April 2021.

Details of the Fund are available here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/39c6c-community-monuments-fund-2021-call-for-projects/