Officials discuss funding options
COUNCIL experts have been meeting with church officials at St. Columba's in Swords to discuss ways the church might fund essential repairs and refurbishments to its buildings.
Cllr. Tom Kelleher (Lab) has asked the council to engage with the church on the future preservation and enhancement of the historic buildings in and around this important heritage site in Swords.
Cllr. Kelleher said the site had 'huge tourist potential' and included a network of buildings, some dating back to the seventh century.
The church is built on the site where Brian Boru and his son were waked after the Battle of Clontarf and the 1,000 year commemoration of that battle this year, would provide the ideal opportunity to preserve these buildings into the future, according to the Labour councillor for Swords.
Cllr. Darragh Butler (FF) said he agreed '100 per cent' with Cllr. Kelleher and he thanked the council on the way it had already engaged with the church authorities following some damage to plasterwork in the church.
Cllr. Butler and Cllr. Tom O'Leary (FG) both supported the idea of a heritage trail being established in Swords, to include the site, and Cllr. Gerry McGuire (Lab) said it was time for the council to take a more 'robust approach' to promoting the county's heritage to tourists.
Reporting on the engagement that council officials and technical experts had already had with the church, the local authority said: 'The Conservation Officer and County Architect met on site with Canon Deane and members of the church committee in late January, 2014 in relation to the damage caused by the collapse of a section of internal plasterwork and to discuss the repairs needed to the interior of St. Columba's Church of Ireland Church.
'Guidance was given in relation to the works necessary and to potential sources of funding, including the Built Heritage Jobs Leverage Scheme operated by the Conservation Office of Fingal County Council.
'An application has been submitted by St. Columba's Parish for funding under this scheme which has been put forward to the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for formal approval.'
The council also said that it hoped to integrate the historic site into this year's Battle of Clontarf, adding that its Conservation Officer, Events Officer and Heritage Officer had met with representatives of St. Columba's in late January to discuss the matter.
Since Cllr. Kelleher raised the issue with the council, it has been confirmed that St Columba's will be awarded some funding – believed to be around €15,000 – from central Government aimed at making improvements to heritage buildings.