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Thatch Repair Grant Scheme opens 27.02.24

THE Donegal Thatch Repair Grant Scheme has opened for applications. Now in its sixth year, the scheme assists the owners and occupiers of thatched dwellings and businesses with their maintenance and repair. The grants allows for small-scale thatch repairs from €500 up to €3,000 and the scheme is open for applications until 12 noon on Friday, 8th of March.
A rope-thatched cottage at Templemoyle, Culdaff was one of the properties that benefited under the Thatch Repair Grant Scheme in 2023.
“Over the past five years, Donegal County Council’s Thatch Repair Grant Scheme has supported over a hundred thatch repair projects throughout the county” said Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer. “ An updated audit of the condition of known thatch buildings on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage in the Inishowen Municipal District highlighted the continued rate of loss. Preliminary results show that 27% of the historic thatch properties in the Inishowen Municipal District have been lost in the past 15 years and a further 10% of them are in a poor or very poor conditions. A particular cause of concern is the replacement of historic thatch by some homeowners with slate when only repairs are required to save and conserve the historic thatch. Homeowners are reminded that permission is required from Donegal County Council to replace an historic thatched roof as it constitutes a material alteration to the structure.”

“An increasing number of supports are being put in place to support thatch homeowners. A new annual grant scheme under the Built Heritage Investment Scheme was introduced for the first time last year and this has the potential to allow for six full rethatch projects in County Donegal every year. The Department is also in discussions with insurance companies to improve the availability of, and reduce the cost of, thatch insurance. It has also issued a free booklet on ‘Fire Safety in Thatched Properties’ that provides advice to homeowners on reducing the fire risk in their properties and has just started to offer a free one-to-one on-site visit with an engineer on how to apply the published guidance to your property. Employment, training and apprenticeship opportunities in the thatching industry are also being explored in order to encourage more people to become thatchers .”

Copies of the ‘Fire Safety in Thatched Properties’ booklet is available free-of-charge from the County Donegal Heritage Office. Applications forms for the Thatch Repair Grant Scheme are available online from the Donegal County Council website at www.donegalcoco.ie or by contacting Joseph Gallagher, Heritage Officer or Collette Beattie, Conservation Officer at 074 91 53900 or by email at thatch@donegalcoco.ie .
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