Legal Responsibilities Associated with Protected Structures in Ireland


Your responsibility as an owner

You are legally obliged to prevent the Protected Structure from Damage or Neglect.

  • Each planning authority keeps a record of Protected Structures (RPS) and if your building is protected - this will mean both the interior, exterior of the building, its curtilage and any other buildings within the curtilage.
  • The planning authority can force an owner to restore the buildings original character if any unauthorised changes are made.
  • If the building becomes endangered the planning authority can carry out work to preserve the building itself and recover the costs of the work you (the owner).
  • Under the Planning and Development Act 2000 there are penalties for owners or occupiers of protected structures who endanger the structure or who fail to carry out work that has been ordered by the planning authority. If an owner is found guilty they could be liable for fines of up to €1.27 million and/or a term of imprisonment of up to five years.
  • Planning Permission is needed for work carried out on a protected structure that would materially affect its character. This means that many types of work, which in another building would be considered exempted development, may not be exempted where the building is a protected structure.
  • If you are unsure about what works might require planning permission you can apply for a Declaration under Section 57 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 from your local planning authority. This declaration will explain what type of works can be carried out without affecting the character of the structure. Declarations are for less intrusive work, non-structural work such as redecorating and like for like repairs. If you disagree with your local planning authority’s Declaration you can appeal to An Bord Pleanála.
  • If the work you are carrying out is more extensive you should apply for full planning permission.


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