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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 74-91
 Header Item National Monuments
 Header Item Heritage Council Funding
 Header Item Special Areas of Conservation Designation
 Header Item Caiteachas Ranna
 Header Item Heritage Sites
 Header Item Genealogical Services
 Header Item National Cultural Institutions
 Header Item Fóram Pleanála Uile-Éireannach
 Header Item Capital Programme Expenditure
 Header Item Arts Funding
 Header Item National Archives
 Header Item Cruthú Fostaíochta
 Header Item Commemorative Events
 Header Item Pobail Oileáin
 Header Item Heritage Projects
 Header Item Pobail Oileáin
 Header Item Merger of Cultural Institutions

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 818 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 83 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 74-91

National Monuments

 74. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan if a national register of neolithic sites is available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44258/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan Information on all recorded monuments, of which there are over 130,000, is most readily accessible from the Archaeological Survey of Ireland section of my Department's National Monuments Service website, www.archaeology.ie. The monuments are displayed on a GIS-based mapping facility, which includes, in a majority of cases, information on individual monuments.

  While there is no specific register of Neolithic sites available, all known Neolithic monuments are included in the records on the website. In addition, the most readily identifiable of Neolithic monuments are contained in the Survey of Megalithic Tombs of Ireland, Vols. 1-6, which is available for download in the Publications section of www.archaeology.ie.

Heritage Council Funding

 75. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan if he is satisfied with the current resources allocated to the Heritage Council; if he believes the current operation of the Heritage Council is satisfactory; if he foresees an increase in the Heritage Council’s budget next year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [44511/13]

 95. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the action he will take to ensure that the Heritage Council is in a position to award grants to local authorities and other bodies as it did previously. [43520/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan I propose to take Questions Nos. 75 and 95 together.

The scope to provide additional funding for the protection, conservation and development of the State's heritage is constrained by the current national economic difficulties and the significant reduction in the public finances. The Heritage Council had sought additional funds to enable it to recommence its grants scheme and I am pleased to say that the Estimates for my Department published last week provide for a small increase in the allocation from my Department's vote to the Heritage Council. This is subject to final confirmation in the Revised Estimates.

It is primarily a matter for the Heritage Council to decide how its funding should be allocated across the range of research, education and conservation programmes it supports in 2013 and future years having regard to competing priorities for limited resources. However, the additional funding which I have provided should assist the Council in re-establishing its grants scheme. In 2012 the Heritage Council was subject to a critical review of its operations by my Department. The report and recommendations of this review were accepted by Government in October 2012.

Officials in my Department are currently working on amendments to the Heritage Act 1995 to give effect to the recommendations of this review. My Department will continue to provide funding for the protection, conservation and development of our built and natural heritage, in so far as resources allow.

Special Areas of Conservation Designation

 76. Deputy Billy Timmins Information on Billy Timmins Zoom on Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the position regarding the proposed designation of special areas of conservation off the Irish coastline. [44254/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan As part of its obligations under the Habitats Directive, Ireland must designate Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) for the protection of endangered habitats and species. The European Commission oversees the fulfilment of these obligations through a series of biogeographic seminars, which compare the effort of Member States within a biogeographic region. Such a seminar in 2009 found that certain habitats and species were insufficiently represented in the list of marine candidate SACs proposed for designation by Ireland. The designation of marine SACs was scheduled for completion for the entire EU last year and the six additional marine candidate SACs that I proposed for designation last December - Blackwater Bank, the West Connacht Coast, Hempton's Turbot Bank, Rockabill to Dalkey Island, Porcupine Bank Canyon and the South East Rockall Bank - constitute Ireland's contribution to that process.

My Department is currently processing some 54 appeals against the proposed designation of these sites. Once the appeals process is complete, final proposals will be transmitted to the European Commission for adoption by it as Sites of Community Importance.

Caiteachas Ranna

 77. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan an mbeidh maoiniú ar fáil le haghaidh infheistíocht i mbonneagar ár nGaeltachtaí ar nós áiseanna pobail agus spóirt, bóithre, Coláistí Gaeilge, céanna agus áiseanna uisce; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [44495/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley Tá mé sásta go mbeidh beagnach €40m le caitheamh ag mo Roinnse in 2014 ar ghnóthaí Gaeilge, Gaeltachta agus Oileán, lena n-áirítear €31.882m ar an taobh reatha agus €7.973m ar an taobh caipitil. Tuigfidh an Teachta gur figiúirí táscacha iad seo faoi réir na Meastachán a bheidh faofa amach anseo. As an soláthar sin, beidh €12m ar fáil i leith caiteachais reatha agus beidh €2.066m ar fáil i leith caiteachais caipitil faoi na Scéimeanna Tacaíochta Gaeltachta agus Oileán de chuid mo Roinnse.

Beidh cosaint na seirbhísí túslíne mar dhearbhthosaíocht agam, ag cur níos mó béime ná riamh ar éifeachtacht agus ar luach ar airgead a fháil ón soláthar atá ar fáil. Beidh an soláthar á chur chun fónaimh i leith scéimeanna agus tionscnaimh éagsúla a bhfuil baint acu le cur i bhfeidhm an phróisis pleanála teanga sa Ghaeltacht. Is i gcomhthéacs an phróisis sin a dhéanfar cinntí sonracha maidir leis an mbealach is fearr le freastal ar na héilimh éagsúla atá ar mo Roinnse, lena n-áirítear na héilimh a thagann ó eagraíochtaí, coistí agus coláistí Gaeilge. Sa chomhthéacs sin, is ceart a lua arís nach bhfuil mo Roinnse faoi láthair ag maoiniú bóithre, céanna ná saoráidí uisce i ndáil leis na húdaráis áitiúla sa Ghaeltacht.

Heritage Sites

 78. Deputy Barry Cowen Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan if he has any concerns relating to the negative impact on heritage by the central access scheme road project being advanced in Kilkenny city; if he is concerned at the proposed destruction of three properties on Vicar Street in the city; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [44501/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan An Bórd Pleanála approved this roads scheme in December 2011 under section 51 of the Roads Act 1993. Following an application by Kilkenny County Council, and in consultation with the Director of the National Museum of Ireland, I issued directions to the Council on 5 June 2012 under section 14A of the National Monuments Acts 1930 (as amended) for the carrying out of works of an archaeological nature relating to the scheme.

Subject to the conditions set out in my directions, the buildings at Nos. 20-22 Vicar Street are currently undergoing a thorough assessment to ascertain their archaeological, architectural and historical significance. In conjunction with this, my Department continues to monitor the works involved and a number of site inspections have been carried out in this respect. However, I will not be in a position to make any determination with regard to the significance of the buildings until all the evidence garnered from the building surveys and archaeological investigations at the site has been assembled.

Genealogical Services

 79. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan with regard to cultural and genealogical tourism under his remit, his views on potential changes to legislation governing access to cultural and genealogical records and artefacts; his further views on the need to develop and foster a multi-departmental approach to enhance the genealogical tourism potential here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [44253/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan At this point, I am not aware of any change to legislation which would adversely affect access to cultural and genealogical records and artefacts. However, I understand that provision has been made in the recent Social Welfare and Pensions (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013 to allow my Department to act as agents for the Registrar General to provide access to the indexes of births, deaths and marriages online. I further understand that the Department of Social Protection has been considering the issue of making certain historic civil registration records available to the public through an on-line search facility in conjunction with my Department, and has met with a number of stakeholders with a view to introducing measures to allow this. It is hoped that these measures will be contained in the forthcoming Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill.

As Minister, I have concentrated on improving access to genealogical records with a view to developing further the already important genealogical tourism product and attracting more visitors to Ireland. Indeed, for example, the National Archives, an agency under my auspices, has placed a large volume of records online, including the 1901 and 1911 census records which have attracted huge interest. Similarly as part of its contribution to The Gathering, my Department has developed a website - www.Irish Genealogy.ie - as a virtual entry point and a portal for those wishing to search for genealogical records across a number of different websites. These measures have made a considerable contribution to the enhancement of our genealogical tourism potential.

National Cultural Institutions

 80. Deputy Brian Stanley Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan if any progress has been made on the proposal contained in the comprehensive review of expendidure 2012-2014 on shared finance services and HR services across national cultural institutions; the progress and the savings that would be made by the implememtation of this proposal.  [44237/13]

 105. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the cost of conservation, cleaning and maintenance across the State's cultural institutions; if further consideration has been given to the proposals in the comprehensive review of expenditure to put in place a structure along the lines of the Art Lab proposals in Australia, and the income that could be generated in that way.  [44238/13]

 109. Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Seán Crowe Zoom on Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan if any progress has been made on the proposal contained in the comprehensive review of expenditure 2012-2014 on having a single event manager post which could promote the facilities in the national cultural institutions under one brand; the progress of same; the savings that would be made by the implementation of this proposal; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [44240/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan I propose to take Questions Nos. 80, 105 and 109 together.

I refer the Deputies to my reply to Questions 37, 45, 56 and 59 on 18 September and to today's Question No 58.

As the Deputies may be aware, as part of the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure 2012–2014, my Department considered a range of possible options for savings in respect of its Arts and Culture programme area. This included a website portal and joint commercial and marketing strategy. Under the Croke Park and Haddington Road reform programme, we have now gone beyond what was contemplated by the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure. Indeed, savings of the order of 20-25% in the Exchequer allocations to the cultural institutions have been made since 2010.

In tandem the Government had agreed a range of reforms under the Public Service Reform Plan 2011 for a number of the national cultural institutions under the aegis of my Department. The focus within my Department and the national cultural institutions has been concentrated on the implementation of the Reform Plan and there has been an intensive engagement by all in that process. I have previously advised the House of the shared service models that are being developed for the national cultural institutions through my Department in relation to corporate support services and, by formal inter-institutional agreement, in relation to operational services. For example, the National Museum of Ireland recently agreed a Shared Service Agreement on HR shared services and my Department has set up a HR Shared Services Unit to deliver on that.

The Deputies may also wish to note that the National Gallery of Ireland, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Crawford Art Gallery Cork have been working more closely and this has recently been formally codified by way of a Shared Services Agreement. This commits each institution to working more closely together in a range of areas including human resources, procurement, conservation and photography services, collection management including cataloguing and digitisation, storage, insurance, enterprise and marketing.

Preliminary estimates for savings provided to me earlier this year indicate that approximately €100,000 will have been saved over the course of 2012 and 2013 through the shared services agenda at the three Galleries. As I outlined previously, in overall terms it is expected that operational and support savings in the region of approximately €1 million will be initially realised from the reform programme across the institutions involved, which are funded from my Department's Vote Group, with further savings to be identified as the various cost efficiencies are implemented. This is all against the backdrop of respecting the programming, curatorial and operational independence of the directors.

Fóram Pleanála Uile-Éireannach

 81. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Brian Stanley Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas maidir leis an ngá atá ann go mbunófar Fóram Pleanála Uile-Éireannach; agus an bhfuil aon phleananna aige a leithéid d'Fhóram a chur ar bun agus muna bhfuil cén fáth nách bhfuil.  [44223/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley Mar a mhínigh mé i bhfreagra ar Cheist Dála 372 ar an 18 Iúil 2013, rinne an Chomhairle Aireachta Thuaidh Theas socruithe nua maoinithe a fhaomhadh, in ionad múnla reatha bunmhaoinithe Fhoras na Gaeilge ag a cruinniú in Ard Mhacha ar an 10 Iúil 2013. Faoi na socruithe nua, beidh tosaíochtaí straitéiseacha ar leith á seachadadh ag 6 eagraíocht cheannais a bheidh ag feidhmiú ar bhonn uile-oileáin agus cuirfear na fóraim chuí ar bun le tacú leis an gcur chuige úr seo.

  Is iad na fóraim atá i gceist ná fóram comhpháirtíochta uile-oileáin chun cur chuige comhoibríoch ag an 6 eagraíocht cheannais a chinntiú agus fóram forbartha teanga uile-oileáin a bheidh ionadaíoch de shainleasa teanga áitiúla atá maoinithe ag Foras na Gaeilge ag leibhéal an phobail. Mar a thuigfidh an Teachta, ní bheidh na fóraim seo á mbunú go dtí go mbeidh na heagraíochtaí ceannais roghnaithe ag Foras na Gaeilge.

  Tuigtear dom ó Fhoras na Gaeilge go bhfuil tús curtha leis an bpróiseas léirithe suime chun na heagraíochtaí ceannais a roghnú. Tá tuilleadh eolais ar fáil ar a shuíomh gréasáin www.forasnagaeilge.ie.

Capital Programme Expenditure

 82. 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 capital spending of his Department this year to date; the further capital spending he expects to carry out before the end of the year; the plans he has to purchase properties with a significant national heritage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44505/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan My Department's gross capital provision for 2103 is €39.395m. This provision relates principally to meeting the ongoing costs of the Irish Film Board, the National Cultural Institutions, works to address EU compliance requirements in relation to the built and natural heritage, supporting employment through Údarás na Gaeltachta, and maintenance and development works carried out by Waterways Ireland.

On 14 October 2013, my Department’s gross capital expenditure totalled approximately €23.4m. This represents 87% of the published profile to the end of October. In addition, a further €1.2m in capital carryover funding has been expended.

I am committed to ensuring that the maximum value is derived from my Department' budget in terms of maintaining, promoting and protecting Ireland's heritage and culture, developing cultural tourism, advancing the use of the Irish language, and supporting the sustainable development of the islands. My Department has no plans at present to purchase heritage properties this year.

Arts Funding

 83. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the projects his Department has funded in 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013 to promote social inclusion through the use of the arts; the future plans he has to fund projects in this area; the research he seeks to carry out establishing the effectiveness of these projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44482/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan Government policy on the arts is set out in the Programme for Government. The Government's policy on the arts is to promote and strengthen the arts in all its forms, to increase access to and participation in the arts, and to make the arts an integral and valued part of our national life.

  Primary responsibility for the promotion of the arts at all levels throughout the country is devolved to the Arts Council. The Council is funded by my Department but it is statutorily independent in its day-to-day operations. This includes independence in its funding decisions. In 2013, the Arts Council will receive an allocation of over €60.6 million in current, capital and EU Presidency funding. Details of all funding provided by the Arts Council to arts practitioners, arts groups and venues, including arts centres, are available on the Council's website at www.artscouncil.ie.

In a wider context, the Arts Council support for a range of arts forms is set out in its strategic overview document entitled Developing the Arts in Ireland: Arts Council Strategic Overview 2011-2013. This strategy document, which is available on the Council's website, lays out the key strategic principles that inform the Council's funding decisions.

  The Government appreciates the importance of the arts, culture and the creative industries to both our society and to our economy. The arts sector continues to offer vital opportunities for the provision of important cultural, social and employment benefits to communities throughout the country. The Deputy may also be aware that the Departments of Social Protection, Education and Skills, Children and Youth Affairs and Environment, Community and Local Government all support programmes in the area of social inclusion.

National Archives

 84. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the amount of funding allocated to the National Archives, Bishop Street, Dublin for 2012 and 2013. [44257/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan Funding for the National Archives was €1,409,000 in 2012 and €1,370,000 in 2013. The levels of funding for all bodies under the aegis of my Department, including the National Archives, can be found in the Revised Estimates Volume for the relevant year on the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform website www.dper.gov.ie.

  Question No. 85 answered with Question No. 66.

Cruthú Fostaíochta

 86. 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 cé mhéad post atá cruthaithe agus caillte sa Ghaeltacht le 12 mhí anuas; agus an bhfuil na figiúirí seo de réir na spriocanna atá leagtha síos ag a Roinn; agus an bhfuil sé i gceist aige an maoiniú a bheidh ar fáil don Údarás a mhéadú i bhfianaise an mhéadaithe le cúpla bliain anuas ar an mhaoiniú a fhaigheann na heagrais fiontraíochta eile, agus i bhfianaise na leibhéal ard dífhostaíochta sa Ghaeltacht.  [44222/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley Cruthaíodh 689 post nua sa Ghaeltacht in 2012 agus, ag deireadh na bliana sin, bhí 7,533 post i gcliantchuideachtaí de chuid Údarás na Gaeltachta, lena n-áirítear 6,933 post lánaimseartha agus 620 post páirtaimseartha.

Tuigim ó Údarás na Gaeltachta gurb é an sprioc fostaíochta atá ag an eagraíocht do 2013 ná 400 post nua a chruthú, chomh maith le 6,500 post a choinneáil ina chliantchuideachtaí sa Ghaeltacht. Tuigtear dom fosta go bhfuil an tÚdarás sásta go mbainfear na spriocanna sin amach faoi dheireadh na bliana.

Is ar bhonn suirbhé bliantúil a dhéanann Údarás na Gaeltachta tuairisciú ar phoist a cruthaíodh agus a cailleadh. Foilseofar na figiúirí don bhliain 2013 ag tús 2014 nuair atá an suirbhé bliantúil curtha i gcrích.

Tá suim iomlán de €18.409 milliún curtha ar fáil i Vóta mo Roinne d'Údarás na Gaeltachta i mbliana chun cuidiú leis, a chuid spriocanna a bhaint amach. Anuas air sin, tá cead ag an Údarás an fáltas a fhaightear ó dhíol maoine a athinfheistiú ina chlár caipitil. Tuigim go mbeidh fáil ag Údarás na Gaeltachta ar thart ar €1.6 milliún eile i mbliana chun na críche sin.

Beidh allúntas de €17.485 milliún ar fáil d'Údarás na Gaeltachta in 2014. Ní miste a rá gur figiúr táscach é seo, faoi réir na Meastachán a bheith faofa amach anseo. Idir allúntas an Státchiste agus acmhainní an Údaráis féin, tá mé cinnte go mbeidh ar chumas an Údaráis leanúint orthu ag cruthú post nua sa Ghaeltacht agus ag cosaint na bpost atá ann faoi láthair.

San aeráid eacnamaíochta ina bhfuilimid faoi láthair, tá gach iarracht á dhéanamh agam chun cuidiú leis an Údarás a chuid spriocanna a bhaint amach. Sa chomhthéacs seo, ní miste a lua go bhfuil Údarás na Gaeltachta, Fiontraíocht Éireann agus an tÚdarás Forbartha Tionscail ag obair as lámha a chéile le fada an lá ar mhaithe le fiontair a mhealladh chuig an nGaeltacht. Mar thoradh ar chinneadh Rialtais a tógadh i mí na Bealtaine 2011, tá na naisc seo á láidriú chun iarracht a dhéanamh an tairbhe is fearr agus is féidir a fháisceadh as na hacmhainní teoranta airgid atá ag an Stát faoi láthair. I bhfianaise an chomhoibrithe idir an tÚdarás agus na háisíneachtaí fiontraíochta eile de chuid an Stáit, feictear dom gurb é seo an socrú is fearr don Ghaeltacht. Is fiú a nótáil gur cheadaigh an tÚdarás Forbartha Tionscail tacaíocht in 2012 do 220 post nua i gcliantchuideachta de chuid an Údaráis atá lonnaithe i gConamara.

Ar deireadh, ní miste dom a dheimhniú go bhfuil mise sásta nach gcaillfear aon deis fostaíocht a chruthú sa Ghaeltacht d'uireasa an chúnaimh chuí a bheith ar fáil ón Údarás.

Commemorative Events

 87. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan his plans to expand the national Famine commemoration; the plans he has to raise the profile of this event here; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [44498/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan The Deputy will be aware that, as Chair of the National Famine Commemoration Committee, I am responsible for ensuring, on behalf of the Irish Government, that appropriate arrangements are in place to commemorate the Great Irish Famine. Details of the work of the National Famine Commemoration Committees since 2008 in implementing a varied and diverse annual programme of events to coincide with the commemorations are available on the relevant pages of my Department's website at http://www.ahg.gov.ie/en/NationalFamineCommemoration2013/ and on a dedicated website at www.irishfamine.ie.

  The Deputy will, of course, be aware that the scale of the commemorative events held around National Famine Commemoration Day have been increasing on an annual basis, as has public awareness of these events and of the history of the Great Irish Famine. Such raising of public awareness has been advanced by my Department through its liaison with the print and broadcast media on these issues.     

  The Deputy will also be aware that the location of National Famine Commemoration Day rotates between the four provinces of Ireland and next year will take place in Connacht. In this regard, I have introduced a selection process to determine the location of the commemoration in 2014 and future years and, in line with this process, I have invited the County and City Councils in Connacht to submit expressions of interest and proposals setting out possible locations where the ceremony might be held, following consultation with local communities, interest groups and other stakeholders. The purpose of this approach is to generate greater awareness and interest in the annual National Famine Commemoration and to increase the number of potential sites available to choose from each year. The National Famine Commemoration Committee will meet over the coming weeks with a view to agreeing the 2014 Famine Commemoration Programme and finalising the location of the event in Ireland.

  In line with previous years, an international event is also being planned to commemorate the Great Irish Famine and it is proposed that New Orleans will be the venue in 2014. I am confident that the 2014 national and international commemorative events will build on the events held in previous years and will continue to raise public awareness of the Great Irish Famine and of its impact on our history.

Pobail Oileáin

 88. 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 raibh aon phlé aige leis an Roinn Comhsaoil maidir leis an tionchar a bheadh ar phobail na nOileán i gcás go dtiocfadh deireadh le feidhmiú Chomhar na nOileán de bharr polasaithe ailínithe an Roinn Comhsaoil, agus cén céimeanna atá tógtha ag an Roinn Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta le cinnte a dhéanamh de go mbeidh ionadaíocht agus tacaíocht shásúil ag pobail na nOiléan i bhfoirm eagraíochta ar nós Chomhar na nOileán nó eile.  [44220/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley Níl aon fhreagracht reachtúil ar mo Roinnse maidir le Comhar na nOileán ós rud é go dtagann a chuid gníomhaíochtaí faoin Roinn Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil.

É sin ráite, bíonn teagmhálacha leanúnacha ag mo Roinnse leis an Roinn Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil agus go deimhin le pobail na n-oileán féin maidir leis na cúrsaí seo. Comhairlítear dom nach bhfuil aon chinneadh tógtha ag an Roinn Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil maidir le Comhar na nOileán a bheith ag cur seirbhísí LEADER ar fáil amach anseo.

Heritage Projects

 89. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan his plans to protect the heritage of Kells Priory in County Kilkenny and develop it as a cultural site; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44513/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan The Augustinian priory at Kells, Co. Kilkenny, is a national monument in my guardianship, as Minister, under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2004. As such, it enjoys the full range of protections afforded by those Acts, including a requirement that any works at, or in proximity to it, are subject to my prior written consent.

  National monuments in State care are managed by the Office of Public Works (OPW). The role of the OPW includes the undertaking of conservation works at national monuments and a level of capital funding is provided by my Department to support this programme. As part of this conservation programme, excavation works were undertaken at Kells Priory on a number of occasions over the last 40 years. The findings of these excavations were detailed in a monograph, Kells Priory, Co. Kilkenny: archaeological excavations, by T. Fanning & M. Clyne, published by my Department in 2006.

  I would encourage people to visit Kells Priory, which is one of the most extensive and visually impressive ruined medieval monastic complexes in Ireland and is fully accessible to the public, with car parking facilities close by. Historical information can be found at the site and on the Monuments to Visit section of the website of my Department's National Monuments Service, www.archaeology.ie.

Pobail Oileáin

 90. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan an raibh aon phlé aige leis an Roinn Oideachais maidir leis na dúshláin ar leith atá ann do scoileanna ar oileáin agus, go háirithe, na himpleachtaí a bheadh ann do phobail na n-oileán i gcás go ndúnfaí scoileanna.  [44221/13]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Dinny McGinley): Information on Dinny McGinley Zoom on Dinny McGinley Is ar an Aire Oideachais agus Scileanna go príomha atá an fhreagracht maidir le scoileanna ar oileáin. Ar ndóigh, tá mé ar an eolas faoi na dúshláin ar leith a bhíonn ag scoileanna dá leithéid agus bíonn teagmháil rialta ag mo Roinnse leis an Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna maidir leis na cúrsaí seo.

Merger of Cultural Institutions

 91. Deputy Mick Wallace Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan the position regarding his plans to merge elements of the National Museum, the National Library and the National Archives. [44252/13]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Jimmy Deenihan): Information on Jimmy Deenihan Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan There is no proposed merger of elements of the National Museum, the National Library or the National Archives. All are to remain free-standing institutions, led by independent statutory Directors and operating with independent advisory councils.

Work is ongoing bilaterally with the Directors of the relevant institutions and regular meetings of my Department's Reform Committee have taken place to further the implementation of the Government's Reform Plan, especially in relation to shared support services. I intend to seek Government approval shortly for a draft Heads of Bill, which will enable the drafting of legislation to give effect, inter alia, to certain operational and governance reform measures in relation to these bodies.


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