By Pádraig Hoare
Capital funding should be set aside in the budget for restoration of historic buildings, according to a joint submission by Limerick and Dublin Civic Trusts.
The shared heritage building fund, set up as a “revolving fund”, would be used to invest in historic buildings with a focus on urban regeneration, says the submission.
The groups say the capital fund could be sourced from existing funding streams of the Ireland 2040 plan.
The revolving endowment model would sustain itself from project to project as all monies borrowed from the fund would be invested in heritage buildings destined for resale and returned to the fund upon successful disposal, says the submission.
David O’Brien of Limerick Civic Trust said: “There has rarely been a more pressing time to secure the conservation, refurbishment, and residential renewal of marginalised districts of heritage assets, such as those in the Newtown Pery area of Limerick.
“Both Dublin Civic Trust and Limerick Civic Trust have demonstrated that the rehabilitation of urban-based older buildings leads to multiple tangible and intangible benefits.”
Geraldine Walsh, chief executive of Dublin Civic Trust, said it has shown “how historic city centre buildings can be refurbished to best conservation practice while securing vibrant new uses. The trust’s current remarkable transformation of 18 Ormond Quay Upper, an 1840s merchant premises on the river Liffey, is a model of how the unique resource value of Ireland’s period buildings can be harnessed for residential living. We need Government support to ensure this work continues.”