The former Presentation Convent in Portlaoise is in a sorry state
Portlaoise derelict convent building and school is set to get €50,000 worth of preservation work while a further €140,000 is being set aside for two buildings with religious heritage in the Portarlington area.
The Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, last week announced that 85 heritage projects across Ireland will benefit from a total of €3m under this year’s Historic Structures Fund (HSF).
The announcement will see €50,000 going to the Presentation Convent on Church Avenue Portlaoise. At the heart of the new Old Fort Quarter, the building is set to be kept and be the centre of new residential development.
It said Laois County Council has council has also secured the same amount for work in the Portarlington area on the Lea Church of Ireland, Killenard.
Meanwhile, Offaly County Council is getting €80,000 grants between this year and next for work on the former Presentation Convent on the Tullamore Road in Portarlington. The money will be spent in two tranches of €40,000.
Through grants of between €15,000 and €200,000, the HSF assists owners of heritage structures – including those on the local authorities’ Record of Protected Structures and those in Architectural Conservation Areas – to meet their obligations to care for their properties.
The scheme provides assistance to a wide range of heritage structures – this year’s HSF includes awards to historic bridges, barns, courthouses, churches, shopfronts and a dry stone wall as well as to private houses.
The exact purpose of the spending on the buildings in Portlaoise and Portarlington is not outlined.
Laois Offaly Green Party Senator and Minister of State Pippa Hackett welcomed the funding.
“Our historic buildings deserve to be preserved. They are part of our environment, enhancing our enjoyment of it. They remind us of our heritage and the many fine craftsmen who went before us building convents, gaols, churches, courthouses, barns and castles," she said.
Laois Offaly TD and Minister for State Seán Fleming also welcomed the money.
"The owners of these buildings will receive this funding under the Historic Structures Fund 2021. These owners are effectively custodians of these historic and protected structures for future generations.
"This funding will also be a boost to people who work in the construction and heritage trades locally, as specialised and skilled work is required on these protected structures
"Overall this is a good announcement for Laois and I look forward to these conservation and repair projects proceeding as soon as practicable," he said.