We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Kilenny Castle is one of the sites on the list for the plan. Amy Campbell via Flickr

OPW to give leases on heritage sites to private companies

Minister Brian Hayes stressed today that the businesses will have to be “in keeping with the heritage and with the recreational nature of the sites”.

IN WHAT HAS been described by Minister Brian Hayes as a ‘novel scheme’, the Office of Public Works is to hand out leases to private firms on some of the country’s most popular heritage and historical sites.

The list of properties includes Dublin and Kilkenny Castles, Derrynane House and the Doneraile Wildlife Park in Cork.

Leases of up to ten years will be given to businesses for commercial ventures but Hayes stressed that they will have to be “in keeping with the heritage and with the recreational nature of some of our sites” so casinos and hotels are off the cards.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, he said:

I don’t know how successful it’s going to be, I have to be very frank, but I was determined to do this and the Office of Public Works is leading the change within our own organisation in terms of making sure we look at novel schemes like this.

Hayes said that he “managed to obtain an agreement” from Minister for Pulblic Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin, that an additional revenue generated by the plan can be ringfenced for other heritage projects.

He added that this was “not just about the top ten sites that everyone knows” but also about encouraging investment into other “second-tier” sites and establishing opportunities for job creation.

The minister is now inviting proposals from companies to “provide enhanced visitor experiences” at these sites. Applicants will be requested to outline how their proposals will raise the profile of heritage sites, generate increased footfall and generally be in keeping with the presentation of the site in question.

Read: The OPW is going to take an inventory of everything owned by the State>

Read: OPW enlisting voluntary groups to develop heritage sites>

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.