Landmark sites to open up to private shops

Landmark sites to open up to private shops

Private businesses are to be allowed to open outlets on some of Ireland's most prominent historical sites.

The Office of Public Works is allowing the private sector to take leases of up to 10 years on sites like Dublin and Kilkenny Castles, the Iveagh Gardens and the JFK Arboretum.

The plans are aimed at bringing in extra money at public sites, after state funding was cut sharply in recent years.

But the junior minister responsible for the OPW, Brian Hayes, says the new businesses won't detract from the historical significance of the sites.

"This is going to be … very much in keeping with the recreational nature of a lot of our sites," he said.

"If money can be made by operators, if profit can be derived, if employment can be made - all for the good.

"So we've a very open mind about this, but it's a key policy change in the OPW … as good ideas come, we will follow [them]."


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