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Written Answers. - Millennium Projects.

Wednesday, 27 March 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 551 No. 3

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 18. Mr. Quinn Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  asked the Taoiseach Information on Bertie Ahern Zoom on Bertie Ahern  if he has now received final accounts for the production of the Messiah XXI, held under the auspices of the Millennium Committee; if profits have been returned; if moneys have been paid over to charities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8939/02]

[769]The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern Zoom on Bertie Ahern I confirm that an abridged version of the Messiah XXI accounts for the period 19 February 1999, to 30 September 2000, have been available in the Oireachtas Library since July of last year. The accounts for the period September 2000 to 2001 have not yet been received. Once received, an abridged version will again be placed in the Oireachtas Library.

As I stated in an earlier reply, the purpose of the award was to ensure that the production took place and importantly that RTE would broadcast the event. It was the committee's unanimous view that the project was entirely suitable for inclusion in the millennium programme. It had a strong Christian theme, historical associations with our capital city and would be broadcast on national television. As with all millennium awards the funding was a once-off grant not a loan. Accordingly, the millennium committee was not looking for a financial return. With such an ambitious project the likelihood of it subsequently making large profits was regarded by the committee as very unlikely.

It should be noted that Messiah XXI itself offered to donate a portion of its net after tax profits to Irish charities and the committee ensured that this was pledged in a formal manner. However, as can be seen from the current set of accounts placed in the Oireachtas Library they are carrying a loss. The final position will not be clear for some time. This will depend on whatever commercial success Messiah XXI productions has in selling the broadcasting rights, videos etc. I wish the company every success in their endeavours. In the meantime, I have asked the millennium office to continue to monitor the position.

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