‘No Commitment’ Received From Government On Funding To Transfer Heritage Sites To Council

Photo (c) Clare County Council

Clare County Council says there’s yet to be any commitment from Government on a funding package to transfer the management of Shannon Heritage sites to its portfolio.

The local authority’s released a statement this afternoon insisting the transfer cannot proceed without a ‘necessary funding package’.

It emerged this morning through documents seen by Clare FM, that both the Shannon Airport Group and the Department of Transport are in disagreement with the Council over what the final figure on the funding package should be.

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The Council’s told members of the Rural Strategic Policy Committee this afternoon that the Government requested a due diligence process to be done into the proposed takeover of the Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, Knappogue Castle and Craggaunowen last year.

It says a 600-page report was submitted back in July identifying what was needed, which is understood to be several million euro.

The local authority says it identified ‘significant deterioration’ of the sites, and the investment required to halt it.

The Council’s once again insisted the funding package is ‘essential’┬áto give the green light to allow the transfer to progress.

The statement concludes by suggesting that by taking over the management of the sites without the package, it would have a ‘significant impact on services and commercial businesses in Clare’.

Clare County Council statement in full:

Clare County Council was requested by government to conduct a Due Diligence process into the proposed takeover of the Clare assets of Shannon Heritage in 2021. In July 2022, a final 600-page report was submitted to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Department of Transport in which a funding package to support the upgrading and maintenance of the sites for three years was identified.

In the Due Diligence report, Clare County Council detailed significant deterioration of the sites, the urgent need to halt this deterioration and the investment required to achieve this. No commitment or proposal regarding the proposed funding package has been received from government to date.

As the sole stakeholder engaged in carrying out a detailed survey of the capital investment required at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, Craggaunowen Bronze Age Park and Knappogue Castle & Walled Garden, Clare County Council wishes to emphasise that the proposed funding package presented to government for its consideration is essential to progress the successful transfer of the sites.

Clare County Council has engaged constructively with all parties throughout the process. Legal negotiations have been ongoing with Shannon Airport Group over the past 18 months while regular consultation with Shannon Heritage staff and Elected Members also has been a key part of the ongoing process.

As repeatedly relayed to the relevant government Departments and Shannon Airport Group, Clare County Council can only proceed with the proposed transfer should the necessary funding package be approved. To advance without the approval of the funding package would have a significant impact on services and commercial businesses in Clare.