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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 1 - 17
 Header Item National Gallery
 Header Item Comhairle Aireachta Thuaidh Theas
 Header Item Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Expenditure
 Header Item The Gathering Events
 Header Item Proposed Legislation

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 805 No. 3

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Written Answers Nos. 1 - 17

  The following are questions tabled by Members for written response and the ministerial replies as received on the day from the Departments [unrevised].

  Questions Nos. 1 to 11, inclusive, answered orally.

National Gallery

 12. Deputy John Browne Information on John Browne Zoom on John Browne asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the expected completion date of the renovation of the National Gallery of Ireland and the Irish Museum of Modern Art; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26119/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan A comprehensive refurbishment project is currently underway in the National Gallery of Ireland. The project is focusing on a complete refurbishment of the historic core of the National Gallery – the Dargan and Milltown Wings. The finished project will ensure that the Gallery space will have upgraded climate, heating, fire suppression, electrical, lighting and security systems. This should ensure that the Gallery will be able to operate and meet international standards for the exhibition of its own collection and visiting artworks from other important collections. It is envisaged that the Gallery will reopen in its entirety to the public in 2016.

The major programme of works relating to the upgrade of the Fire and Security Systems at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham is expected to be concluded within the coming weeks. Meantime, the Irish Museum of Modern Art is continuing to mount exhibitions at its new galleries at the Royal Hospital and at the National Concert Hall in Earlsfort Terrace.

Comhairle Aireachta Thuaidh Theas

 13. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan céard iad na himpleachtaí a mheasann sé a bheidh ann mar thoradh ar an múnla nua maoinithe atá curtha os comhair na Comhairle Aireachta Thuaidh/Theas do líon agus do chaighdeán na seirbhísí do phobal na Gaeilge agus do chúrsaí fostaíochta d’fhostaithe sna heagrais bhunmhaoinithe reatha; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [26253/13]

 40. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan an bhfuil aon dul chun cinn déanta ó thaobh teacht ar shocrú maidir le maoiniú na mbuneagras Gaeilge. [26250/13]

 42. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Michael Colreavy Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas faoi thodhchaí Fhorbairt Naíonraí Teo; cén maoiniú a bheidh ar fáil dóibh sa tréimhse atá le teacht; agus cad é todhchaí na scéime maidir le deontais atá á gcur ar fáil dóibh faoi láthair. [26247/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley Molaim ceisteanna Uimh. 13, 40 agus 42 a fhreagairt le chéile.

Mar is eol do na Teachtaí, cuireann Foras na Gaeilge bunmhaoiniú ar fáil i gcás 19 n-eagraíocht Ghaeilge, lena n-áirítear 12 eagraíocht atá ag feidhmiú go príomha sa dlínse seo agus 7 n-eagraíocht atá ag feidhmiú go príomha ó thuaidh. Le linn 2008, chuir Foras na Gaeilge tús le hathbhreithniú seachtrach ar na heagraíochtaí bunmhaoinithe sa chomhthéacs go raibh 40%, nó €8m, de bhuiséad Fhoras na Gaeilge á chaitheamh ar na heagraíochtaí seo agus go raibh 50% den allúntas sin á chaitheamh ag na heagraíochtaí bunmhaoinithe ar thuarastail amháin. Léirigh an t-athbhreithniú seachtrach neamhéifeachtúlachtaí leis an chóras a bhí i bhfeidhm.

Dá bhrí sin, shocraigh an Chomhairle Aireachta Thuaidh Theas in 2009 gur chóir an t-athbhreithniú a chur i gcrích chun tairbhí suntasacha a bhaint amach maidir le luach ar airgead agus maidir le seachadadh éifeachtach dhualgais reachtúla Fhoras na Gaeilge. Ó shin i leith, tá múnlaí éagsúla maoinithe á mbreithniú ag Foras na Gaeilge i gcomhar leis na heagraíochtaí bunmhaoinithe, le páirtithe leasmhara eile agus leis an phobal i gcoitinne trí na próisis chomhairliúcháin phoiblí a reáchtáladh sa dá dhlínse.

Ní miste a nótáil gur aontaigh an Chomhairle Aireachta síneadh a chur leis na socruithe reatha bunmhaoinithe i rith an ama seo. San am i láthair, tá cinneadh tógtha ag an Chomhairle Aireachta go leanfaidh na socruithe reatha bunmhaoinithe go dtí an 31 Nollaig 2013.

Ag cruinniú den Chomhairle Aireachta ar an 6 Márta 2013, aontaíodh go gcuirfí pleananna chun cinn chun múnla nua maoinithe a thabhairt isteach, ag féachaint do chinneadh críochnaitheach a dhéanamh faoi mhí an Mheithimh 2013 ar a dhéanaí.

Dá réir sin, tá mo Roinn féin agus an Roinn Cultúir, Ealaíon agus Fóillíochta ó thuaidh ag obair go dlúth le Foras na Gaeilge ar mhaithe le moltaí críochnúla a chur faoi bhráid chruinniú den Chomhairle Aireachta atá socraithe don mhí seo chugainn.

Tuigfidh na Teachtaí nach mbeadh sé cuí dom labhairt faoi na himpleachtaí a d'fhéadfadh a bheith ag aon mhúnla nua maoinithe d'eagraíochtaí ar leith, nó do chúrsaí fostaíochta sna heagraíochtaí bunmhaoinithe, go dtí go mbeidh an cheist uile cíortha ag an Chomhairle Aireachta an mhí seo chugainn.

Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla

 14. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Michael Colreavy Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan cathain atá sé ar intinn ag an Aire cinn Bhille na dTeangacha Oifigiúla a fhoilsiú; agus cad iad na haighneachtaí a fuair a Roinn i dtaobh an Bhille seo. [26248/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley Mar atá ráite i gClár Reachtaíochta an Rialtais, táthar ag súil Bille a fhoilsiú i mbliana ina ndéanfar foráil do na leasuithe ar Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003. Tá na céimeanna cuí idir lámha ag mo Roinn faoi láthair chun Cinn an Bhille seo a dhréachtadh agus táthar ag súil na dréacht-Chinn a chur faoi bhráid an Rialtais a luaithe agus is féidir.

Déanfaidh an Bille foráil do na leasuithe ar an Acht Teanga ag eascairt as an athbhreithniú ar an Acht a bhí sonraithe i gClár an Rialtais. Ina theannta sin, déanfaidh an Bille foráil do na leasuithe ar an Acht Teanga ag eascairt as an gcinneadh Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga a chomhcheangal le hOifig an Ombudsman, mar a bhí sonraithe i bPlean an Rialtais um Athchóiriú na Seirbhíse Poiblí.

Mar atá curtha in iúl agam cheana sa Teach seo, fuarthas 1,400 freagra ar an suirbhé agus 262 aighneacht le linn an phróisis chomhairliúcháin phoiblí a reáchtáladh mar chuid den athbhreithniú ar an Acht. Tá anailís déanta ar na moltaí a fuarthas faoin bpróiseas sin agus déanfar iad a fhoilsiú ar shuíomh gréasáin mo Roinne in am trátha i dteannta le Cinn an Bhille.

Departmental Bodies Expenditure

 15. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan if he will provide a detailed account of the amount of money spent by Culture Ireland in 2012 and in the year to date in 2013; if he will provide specific details of the way the money was spent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26095/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan The Culture Ireland Division of my Department promotes Irish arts and artists worldwide through regular grant rounds and through special promotional initiatives. The total programme allocation in 2012 was €3.56m for projects worldwide and a further €780k was spent on projects which formed part of the Culture Connects Culture Programme to mark Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of European Union. I have allocated €3.166m to Culture Ireland as its annual allocation for 2013 and have given supplementary funding of a further €800k for delivery of the Culture Connects programme. The total spend to date in 2013 is €1.386m.

  During 2012 the Culture Ireland Division operated three grant rounds under which applications for events were considered from Irish artists and international hosts. In all over 550 Irish cultural projects and events were supported in over 50 countries, ranging across music, theatre, dance, literature, film, visual art and architecture. This included significant projects such as a major international tour of DruidMurphy in the USA and England which culminated in the Director winning Best Director at the UK Theatre Awards

  As Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht I led two of our largest and most important trade missions in 2012 -

 - the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Conference [APAP], in New York, in January, a key target market for Irish artists which is of strategic importance in the development of US Irish cultural relations, and

 - the performing arts showcase at the Edinburgh Festivals in August, an annual showcase which has proved a key platform for Irish performing artists and writers to present their work to international audiences as well as festival and venue promoters and programmers.

  Furthermore, the Division, in partnership with the Arts Council, supported Ireland's participation in the Venice Architecture Biennale, the foremost platform for international showcasing of architecture. In January of this year, the Division supported a delegation of key theatre, dance and music practitioners to attend APAP 2013 in New York, as part of an Irish Government trade and promotional mission for the performing arts. The Irish artists who presented work in New York have reported strong future tour bookings for 2013/2014 as a result.

  The International element of Culture Connects, the Culture Programme to mark Ireland's Presidency of the Council of European Union during the first 6 months of 2013, funded by the Culture Ireland Division of my Department has focused on Member States and priority countries, including Russia, Australia and China. The programme covers all art forms and provides a key platform to highlight the strength of Ireland's creative and artistic sector. Highlights of the Culture Programme include the opening concert in Brussels by The Gloaming, the Irish Chamber Orchestra in Berlin, the Eileen Gray exhibition in Centre Pompidou, Paris and the Changing States exhibition of Frances Bacon and contemporary artists in the Bozar Art Gallery in Brussels. Audience attendance has been strong and feedback and media coverage on Ireland’s Culture Programme has been very positive. In Berlin, for example, there were more than 1,200 attendees at the opening concert, visitor numbers to the Changing States art exhibition in Brussels have exceeded 8,000 and Centre Pompidou will attract approx 500,000 visitors during the period of the Eileen Gray exhibition.

  My Department continues to support Irish artists in presenting work at strategic international festivals, venues and showcases, building touring networks and contacts. Just last week I announced the results of the most recent grant round, allocating funding of over €470,000 to Irish artists and organisations to present Irish arts abroad during the remainder of 2013 and early 2014. The Culture Ireland Division also continues to work on a cross-agency basis on key initiatives of joint interest. Over the 2013 St Patrick’s Day period, for example, it supported more than 60 events across Europe, the US, China, Russia and Australia.

  I am satisfied that my Department's international promotion of Irish arts has created significant goodwill and influence for Ireland and has helped to contribute to the strength of Ireland's reputation for creative excellence. Full details of each individual project funded by the Culture Ireland Division of my Department can be found on www.cultureireland.ie.

The Gathering Events

 16. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the extent to which he and his Department have identified the widest possible range of cultural events in the context of The Gathering with a view to maximising the projection of a positive image of the country internationally; the extent if any to which his Department or its subsidiary bodies have been in a position to offer grant assistance for such promotional events including festivals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26243/13]

 163. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the degree to which he and his Department have liaised with the various bodies involved with The Gathering with a view to maximisation of opportunities to promote Irish arts and cultural events; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26503/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan I propose to take Questions Nos. 16 and 163 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, The Gathering initiative undertaken by my colleague, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, has the strong support of my Department and the agencies under my Department's remit. A range of the actions being taken to support The Gathering were outlined in my replies to Questions No. 16 of 28 November 2012, No. 13 of 30 January 2013 and No. 120 of 13 March 2013. The national cultural institutions are involved and have identified specific exhibitions and initiatives to focus on maximising a positive impression of the country internationally.

Culture Ireland is the Division of my Department responsible for the promotion of Irish arts worldwide. Through regular grant rounds, showcases and special initiatives it creates and supports opportunities for Irish artists and companies to present and promote their work at strategic international festivals and venues. Culture Ireland has included as a grant condition for 2013 events that grantees when presenting their work should promote The Gathering and encourage their audiences to embrace the initiative.

In addition, the thousands of arts events at festivals and elsewhere funded by the Arts Council are at the heart of The Gathering. While the primary purpose of Arts Council grants is to promote the arts, the Arts Council has long recognised the immense value of the events its funds to our tourism ‘offer’. The weather in Ireland can be unreliable, so it is vital that visitors have the option of experiencing the best of Irish contemporary culture – indeed, that is frequently why they come to our shores. Each event in The Gathering centres on a different and unique community in Ireland, and the arts are often what creates that distinctive sense of place. Senior officials at the Arts Council met with The Gathering last year to discuss how Arts Council events could best compliment the initiative.

The Deputy will be aware that Arts Council funding decisions are made independently of my influence, but I understand that a great number of arts organisations funded by the Arts Council are participating in The Gathering. This is particularly the case with festivals. In addition to major arts festivals such as the Galway Arts Festival, Kilkenny Arts Festival or Cork Midsummer Festival, and the many important festivals relating to a single art form, such as Listowel Writers’ Week or Wexford Festival Opera, the Arts Council will this year invest some €8811,00 in 160 smaller festivals right around the country.

Údarás na Gaeltachta developed a dedicated scheme to support events & festivals in the Gaeltacht as part of the 2013 Gathering initiative. The scheme placed particular emphasis on activities aimed at attracting visitors to Ireland as part of the Gathering. As previously outlined, various initiatives are also underway in the heritage area.

I consider that my Department and its agencies are making a substantive contribution to The Gathering Initiative which will promote a positive image of the country internationally.

Proposed Legislation

 17. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan his plans to amend the Official Languages Act 2003; if he will outline these plans to Dáil Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26127/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley The Deputy will be aware from the Government's Legislation Programme that it is intended to publish the Official Languages Act (Amendment) Bill 2013 this year. Preparatory work in this regard is currently underway in my Department with a view to bringing the relevant draft Heads of Bill to Government as soon as possible. The Bill will provide for amendments to the Official Languages Act 2003 arising from the review of that Act, as set out in the Programme for Government, and from the decision to amalgamate the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga with the Office of the Ombudsman, as set out in the Government's Public Service Reform Plan.


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