Delivering the opening address at a conference on the role of women in historic houses at Maynooth University today, the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, has said that she has set up a Steering Group, co-chaired by her Department and the Irish Historic Houses Association, to advise her on the issue of a sustainable future for Irish historic country houses. Speaking at the conference, Minister Humphreys said:
‘Irish historic houses are a significant element of the social and cultural heritage of rural Ireland. They conserve our cultural treasures and tell the story of the families who occupy them. In recognition of the important role played by historic houses, I have set up a Steering Group, co-chaired by my Department and the Irish Historic Houses Association, to advise me on how we can support the sustainable future of the Irish country house’.
‘It is my hope that we will be able to develop a model that will ensure the on-going sustainability of country houses into the future. I would like to thank the chair of the Irish Historic Houses Association, Susan Kellett, for helping my Department in this regard. The challenges facing historic houses are well documented. The Group will consider if existing supports can be improved and adjusted to support the owners and custodians of these properties’.
‘I expect the Steering Group to come back to me later this year with recommendations on how options for safeguarding these properties into the future. My Department is committed to protecting our built heritage, and as the economy continues to improve, I hope to be in a position to gradually increase supports for the upkeep and preservation of heritage buildings‘.