Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 659-680
 Header Item Commemorative Events
 Header Item Rural Development Programme
 Header Item Agriculture Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item An Fhoireann Rannach
 Header Item Maoiniú d'Eagrais Ghaeilge
 Header Item Heritage Council
 Header Item Film Industry Promotion
 Header Item Cultural Policy
 Header Item Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme
 Header Item Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme
 Header Item Arts Plan
 Header Item Artworks Sales
 Header Item Arts Plan
 Header Item Easter Rising Commemorations
 Header Item Philanthropy Initiatives
 Header Item Heritage Sites
 Header Item Heritage Sites
 Header Item Departmental Legal Costs

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 899 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 84 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 659-680

Commemorative Events

 659. Deputy Michelle Mulherin Information on Michelle Mulherin Zoom on Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the financial support available to local authorities to ensure the Ireland 2016 county plans are delivered, given the extraordinary response from local authorities to them; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43792/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Under the 'Community Participation' strand of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, over 84 public consultations, facilitated by the local authorities with the support from my Department, have taken place nationwide. The response has been enthusiastic from all local authorities and each of the local authorities has now developed a rich and diverse series of events and projects that will take place around the country next year. I was very pleased to participate with An Taoiseach and other Government colleagues at the official launch on 8 October last of the 31 individual county plans arising from this process. I allocated €1 million in current funding in 205 to support local authorities in this process, and on 25 October 2015, I joined the Taoiseach for the announcement of a further €3 million funding package in conjunction with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and IPB Insurance. This three-fold increase in funding will help to develop and realise the plans being coordinated at a county level across the country. My officials have notified the local authorities of their increased allocation for 2016, and I am confident that this funding will help to maximise participation in the Ireland 2016 programme throughout each county.

The local authorities are now in the process of organising individual launches, including a wide variety of events, lectures and opportunities for the public to get involved with the programme. Further information in relation to the various events, activities and initiatives taking place under each of the above strands, including the 31 county plans launched in October, can be found on my Department’s dedicated website at www.ireland.ie.

Rural Development Programme

 660. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will honour the Shannon Callows agreement signed between the heritage section of her Department and farmers in the Shannon Callows on the implementation of the habitats regulations 1997; why the provision for arbitration to resolve disputes regarding compensation for loss of earnings and value of assets has not been invoked for farmers in the Callows; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43832/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys A habitat enhancement scheme, the National Parks and Wildlife Service Farm Plan Scheme, was previously available to farmers in the Shannon Callows to undertake proactive measures for corncrake meadows and wet grasslands. These commitments were voluntary in nature and lasted for the period of the farm plan. The Agreement referred to by the Deputy concerned the prescriptions for management in the Shannon Callows and the payments that would be made to farmers in the Scheme, and was for the period 2006 to 2010. The Farm Plan Scheme was closed to new applicants in April 2010. Funding is now provided through the Irish Rural Development Programme to assist farmers in delivering the requirements of the EU Nature Directives.

Under the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011, compensation may be payable where a person has been refused consent by me, as Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, for a prescribed activity within a designated site that he or she had been lawfully undertaking in the five year period prior to the refusal. While the Regulations provide for the possibility of arbitration, this can only arise in default of an agreement with regard to compensation and only in circumstances where a refusal of consent arises under the Regulations.

Agriculture Scheme Eligibility

 661. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys further to Parliamentary Question No. 607 of 10 November 2015, and given that her predecessor stated in reply to a previous parliamentary question (details supplied) that a specific payment for costs and losses incurred due to restrictions imposed as a result of designation would be paid to farmers, if she will establish a farm plan scheme or another similar scheme without delay; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43834/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys A habitat enhancement scheme or farm plan was previously available from my Department to farmers in designated sites to undertake proactive measures for the conservation interests in question. These measures were not a condition of designation, nor were they compensation for designation. Any commitments made by farmers were voluntary in nature and lasted for the period of the farm plan. This scheme was closed to new applicants in April 2010. My Department will enter into new farm plan contracts only in specific cases where proactive measures are required by or overseen by my Department to protect/restore an important species or habitat and where such measures are not already provided for under schemes administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Compensation may be payable where a person has been refused consent by me, as Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, for a prescribed activity within a designated site that he or she had been lawfully undertaking in the five year period prior to the refusal.

An Fhoireann Rannach

 662. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys cén uair a cheapfar comharba ar Stiúrthóir na Gaeilge sa Roinn a bheidh ag éirí as oifig ag deireadh na bliana; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [43886/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Tá na roghanna sa chás seo á meas faoi láthair agus déanfar cinneadh go luath, i gcomhairle leis an Roinn Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe.

Maoiniú d'Eagrais Ghaeilge

 663. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys an eol di go bhfuil imní ar chuid de na heagraíochtaí Gaeilge faoi na leasuithe atá déanta ar an Scéim Pobal Gaeilge de chuid Fhoras na Gaeilge, ar leasuithe iad a bhaineann le cómhaoiniú, maoiniú do chostais oifige agus maoiniú chun plean gníomhaíochta a chur le chéile agus a bhaineann chomh maith le deis a bheith ag na heagraíochtaí a fhaigheann maoiniú faoin scéim cur isteach ar mhiondeontais Fhoras na Gaeilge; an bhfuil sé i gceist aici an scéal a phlé ag an gcéad chruinniú eile a bheidh ar siúl leis an Aire ó Thuaisceart Éireann; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [44098/15]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Joe McHugh): Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh Tá Scéim Phobail Gaeilge á riar ag Foras na Gaeilge ón mbliain 2005 chun cabhrú le coistí deonacha an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn i measc an phobail ar bhonn uile-oileáin. Bunaithe ar thorthaí phróisis chomhairliúcháin de chuid Fhoras na Gaeilge, cuireadh scéim leasaithe os comhair na Comhairle Aireachta Thuaidh Theas i gcomhair a faofa ar an 6 Samhain 2015. Is iad seo a leanas príomhghnéithe na Scéime Pobail Gaeilge athbhreithnithe a d’fhaomh an Chomhairle Aireachta Thuaidh Theas chun teacht i bhfeidhm ar an 1 Iúil 2016:

- aistriú ó scéim trí bliana go scéim ceithre bliana;

- comhdhlúthú ar an dul chun cinn atá déanta go dtí seo agus éascaíocht a dhéanamh do phobail nua leas a bhaint as an scéim tríd an líon deontaithe féideartha a mhéadú ón 19 ngrúpa reatha go huasmhéid 26 ghrúpa (méadú 37%);

- uasleibhéal deontais de €37,000 i mbliain 1 (ag ardú go €40,000 i mbliain 4), lena n-áirítear 80% de na costais a bhaineann le fostaíocht na n-oifigeach forbartha; agus

- fócas nua ar fhorbairt inbhuanaithe sna pobail féin a chuirfidh ar chumas grúpaí úinéireacht agus maoirseacht a choinneáil laistigh dá réimsí sprice féin agus a chinntiú go mbeidh torthaí buana mar thoradh ar an maoiniú.

Tá sé mar sprioc go mbeidh na hoifigigh forbartha a cheapfaidh na deontaithe faoin scéim úr ag cumasú grúpaí eile sna pobail le cur isteach ar scéimeanna éagsúla Fhoras na Gaeilge agus ag bunú gréasán éagsúil ar nós grúpaí siúil/rothaíochta/léitheoireachta, ciorcal comhrá, etc. Ar an mbonn sin, tacóidh an scéim nua le gréasáin sheasmhacha pobail a bhunú sa todhchaí chomh maith le freastal ar níos mó pobal ar bhonn níos leithne.

Tá sé beartaithe ag Foras na Gaeilge maoiniú de €4m a chur ar fáil don scéim nua thar thréimhse ceithre bliana. Tá mo Roinnse i mbun comhráití leis an Roinn Cultúir, Ealaíon agus Fóillíochta ó thuaidh agus le Foras na Gaeilge maidir le cur i bhfeidhm na scéime nua.

Heritage Council

 664. Deputy Pat Deering Information on Patrick Deering Zoom on Patrick Deering asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will allocate extra funding to the Heritage Council to compensate for the loss of funding to the Burren Life Wicklow upland project and the Blackstairs farming group, given that such groups play a significant part in rural Ireland, and without this additional funding such projects will not be able to progress. [44138/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I am aware of the important work undertaken by the Irish Uplands Forum (IUF) and its members to promote a community-based approach to sustainable development in upland areas and, in particular, their contributions received in framing the National Landscape Strategy 2015-2025, which I launched earlier this year and which will assist in the promotion of landscape objectives nationally. I understand that the IUF received funding of almost €50,000 in recent years, channelled through the Heritage Council, to support heritage education, community and outreach schemes and more recently infrastructure funding.

The Heritage Council, which my Department funds, has been allocated a sum of €5.593 million in 2015 to fund its role of supporting heritage infrastructure and promoting pride and best practice in the conservation and sustainable management of heritage assets. This figure excludes an additional and separate €0.378m allocated to the Heritage Council in 2015 as part-funding for the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

My Department is currently considering the funding available for the protection and conservation of the built heritage in 2016 in the context of its overall allocation and I will publish details of funding schemes for 2016 as soon as these are finalised. My Department’s allocation to the Heritage Council in 2016 will be subject to the normal budgetary processes and final confirmation in the Revised Estimates. However, 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 2016 and future years, having regard to competing priorities for limited resources.

Film Industry Promotion

 665. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will encourage Ireland as a film location, given the numerous scenic and attractive locations available in urban and rural settings; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44171/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Primary responsibility for the support and promotion of film-making in Ireland, in respect of both the indigenous sector and inward productions, is the responsibility of the Irish Film Board. This includes assistance in the identification of locations for the making of films. The Film Board has a good track record of using Irish scenery as a major asset in attracting film makers to Ireland and the recent Star Wars film featuring Sceilig Mhichíl is a prime example of this. Detailed information on the supports available from the Film Board, including further information on film locations, can be found on its website www.irishfilmboard.ie

Cultural Policy

 666. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will utilise Ireland's culture as an international national brand with consequent economic benefits; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44172/15]

Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin): Information on Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Culture Ireland, a division of my Department, was established in 2005 with a clear brand and focussed remit to promote Irish arts worldwide. Over the past 10 years, Culture Ireland has been visible globally creating and supporting opportunities for Irish artists and companies to present and promote their work at strategic international festivals and venues. Since 2005, Culture Ireland has promoted and supported over 7,500 Irish cultural projects and events worldwide, ranging across music, theatre, dance, literature, film, visual art and architecture. This support has created significant goodwill and influence for Ireland and has helped to contribute to the strength of Ireland's reputation for creative excellence. The international promotion of Irish arts through Culture Ireland continues to make significant impact internationally through its regular grant rounds and showcase programmes.

  The St. Patrick’s Day period is recognised as the key time to raise the profile of Ireland and connect with new and established audiences overseas through cultural events. Culture Ireland supports a significant Irish cultural programme each year globally, with highlights in areas with significant diaspora such as London, New York and Sydney. Locally, the Embassy network works with Culture Ireland to maximise the impact of the events around this period to celebrate and highlight our artistic strengths and build on Ireland's global reputation as a country of creativity.

  For 2015, the international culture programme for the St. Patrick’s Day period was awarded funding in excess of €200,000 to support over 50 events to take place in 22 countries. The unique platform offered by St. Patrick’s Day to highlight the strength of Ireland’s creative sector also serves to foster tourism, business interests and inward investment. It presents Ireland with an unrivalled opportunity to showcase our culture and our talented artists globally.

As part of the Government’s Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme next year, Culture Ireland will put in place a major programme to highlight Ireland's culture globally through presentation of Irish artists in high profile venues, particularly across the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. Under the title I am Ireland, the programme of events, offering a contemporary Irish cultural experience globally, will ensure that the Irish arts and culture brand continues to be strong. Rebuilding Ireland’s reputation in key territories around the world has been one of this Government’s priorities and Culture Ireland continues to play a key role in realising this objective through the strength of Ireland's global cultural offering.

Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme

 667. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if mutual agreement has been reached on the impact of special areas of conservation and natural heritage areas on traditional turf cutters using the various bogs in County Kildare; if all outstanding issues have been resolved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44173/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys 171 applications under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme for raised bog special areas of conservation have been received and acknowledged by my Department in respect of Mouds Bog and 60 applications in respect of Ballynafagh Bog in County Kildare. A total of 361 annual payments, 187 turf deliveries and 34 once-off incentive payments have been made in respect of the applications received from Mouds Bog and 107 annual payments, 20 turf deliveries and 13 once-off incentive payments have been made in respect of the applications received from Ballynafagh Bog. 78 applicants from Mouds Bog and 23 applicants from Ballynafagh Bog have expressed an interest in relocation to a non-designated bog. Discussions are on-going with qualifying applicants from Ballynafagh Bog with a view to relocation to a non-designated bog in close proximity.

  The Review of Raised Bog Natural Heritage Area Network, which is available to download from my Department’s website at http://www.ahg.gov.ie/en/Publications , provides detail on future arrangements regarding turf cutting on each of the 75 current raised bog natural heritage areas.

Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme

 668. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the number of locations which are the subject of discussions between traditional turf cutters and her Department, as affected by special areas of conservation and natural heritage areas where outstanding issues remain; if she is confident of an amicable solution; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44174/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Up to 3,377 applications have been received under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme for raised bog special areas of conservation and natural heritage areas. Of these, 719 applicants have expressed an interest in relocation to a non-designated bog.   Notwithstanding the complexity involved, progress in relocating turf cutters to non-designated bogs has been achieved in a number of cases.

  Potential relocation sites have been identified for each of the raised bog special areas of conservation where relocation may be required. When relocation sites have been assessed as suitable, my Department has been seeking expressions of interest from turf cutters with a view to them moving to these sites. In this regard, my Department has written to in the region of 400 turf cutters seeking expressions of interest in relocation to specific non-designated sites. My Department is moving forward with the steps in the relocation process where there is a sufficient level of interest in relocation to particular sites.

  Given the clear scientific evidence of the negative impact of turf extraction on raised bogs, it will only be possible to utilise the provisions of article 6.3 in a small number of cases. Similarly, the flexibility provided for under article 6.4, if required, will only be applicable to a small number of sites.

  The draft National Raised Bog SAC Management Plan was published in January 2014. It sets out how the raised bog special areas of conservation are to be managed into the future and how the needs of turf cutters are to be addressed. It is expected that this Plan will be finalised early next year.

Arts Plan

 669. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she communicates with local community groups involved in the production of amateur dramatic and musical festivals, given the need to offer appropriate financial assistance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44175/15]

 672. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she actively engages in promoting and encouraging the arts in its various forms, either directly or through bodies under her aegis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44178/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I propose to take Questions Nos. 669 and 672 together.    

  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.

  The Government appreciates the importance of the cultural and creative industries to Ireland. The Arts Council is the main mechanism through which the Government directs funding to the arts and to artists. The Council provides significant support to individual artists through bursaries as well as individual grants. It also funds means-tested payments to members of Aosdána. The Arts Council recently published its new Strategy Statement: Making Great Art Work. This sets out the Council’s plans to lead the development of the arts in the decade to 2025 and prioritises two policy areas – the artist and public engagement.

  This year, as part of Budget 2016, I was pleased to announce a 12% increase in allocations across a range of areas, including the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, and a new investment programme for regional arts and cultural centres. There will be significant benefits accruing for communities, artists and creative workers from many of the Ireland 2016 programmes supported by this additional funding, including at an international level.

   My Department also provides significant funding towards numerous cultural events and bodies, which are of great economic and social benefit to the State. For example, my Department supports the annual Culture Night event, which has grown from a relatively small-scale cultural event, staged only in Dublin, in 2006 to the significant national cultural event it now is. My Department also provides support to numerous other cultural events through the funding it provides to the Arts Council, the national cultural institutions and a range of other cultural organisations.

  I was also particularly pleased that the Government introduced a 25% increase in the ceiling for the Artists Exemption from 2015. This important measure recognises the invaluable contribution which artists make to Irish society.

  My Department continues to work with other Departments to promote the cultural and creative industries within the framework of the Government’s overall objectives under the Action Plan for Jobs.

  Finally, the place of artists in society has been a significant theme arising from the public consultation process, which I put in place for the development of Ireland's first national cultural policy, Culture 2025. This will be reflected in the policy document which I will publish early in the New Year.

  These measures will, I believe, provide increased support to Irish artists, as well as community groups, both emerging and established, and underpin Government investment in arts and culture into the future.

Artworks Sales

 670. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will engage with the private sector to ensure that objets d’art are not sold off to public or private collectors globally, engage with potential sellers with a view to retaining such objets d'art in this jurisdiction; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44176/15]

 671. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will encourage items in the Beit collection to be retained in this jurisdiction; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44177/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I propose to take Questions Nos. 670 and 671 together.

As I outlined in my response to question 242 on 24 September 2015, the sale, export and import of artefacts is a normal part of trade. Ireland has benefitted over the years from artistic works which have been imported into the State.

In terms of keeping objects of importance in the State, generous tax relief is provided under section 1003 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 for donations to approved bodies of heritage items that are considered outstanding examples of their type, whose export from the State would constitute a diminution of the accumulated cultural heritage of Ireland. A Selection Committee chaired by my Department considers proposals for such relief.

As regards the Beit Collection, the Selection Committee has approved the proposed donation of "A Village Kermesse near Antwerp" by David Teniers II, which is valued at €2 million, to the National Gallery under section 1003. Two other proposed donations are being assessed. In June, I asked the Alfred Beit Foundation to postpone the proposed sale of the paintings, so all options could be explored, including identifying Irish donors. I am pleased that this approach is now yielding positive results.

  Question No. 672 answered with Question No. 669.

Arts Plan

 673. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will encourage employment growth throughout the arts sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44179/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys 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. In this context, the Government very much appreciates the importance of the cultural and creative industries to Ireland and provides significant support for the sector through my Department, by way of funding for the Arts Council and the Film Board, together with various capital supports for the development of arts and cultural infrastructure. The Arts Council is the main mechanism through which Government funding is directed to the arts and to artists. The Council provides significant support to individual artists through bursaries as well as individual grants. It also funds means-tested payments to members of Aosdána. The Arts Council recently published its new Strategy Statement: Making Great Art Work. This sets out the Council’s plans to lead the development of the arts in the decade to 2025 and prioritises two policy areas – the artist and public engagement.

  This year, as part of Budget 2016, I was pleased to announce a 12% increase in allocations across a range of areas. This includes additional funding to the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, and a new investment programme for regional arts and cultural centres. There will be significant benefits accruing for communities, artists and creative workers from many of the Ireland 2016 programmes supported by this additional funding, including at an international level.

  I was also particularly pleased that the Government introduced a 25% increase in the ceiling for the Artists Exemption from 2015. This important measure recognises the invaluable contribution which artists make to Irish society.

  My Department continues to work with other Departments to promote the cultural and creative industries within the framework of the Government’s overall objectives under the Action Plan for Jobs.

  Finally, the place of artists in society has been a significant theme arising from the public consultation process, which I put in place for the development of Ireland's first national cultural policy, Culture 2025. This will be reflected in the policy document which I will publish early in the New Year.

  These measures will, I believe, provide increased support to Irish artists, as well as community groups, both emerging and established, and will underpin Government investment in arts and culture into the future.

Easter Rising Commemorations

 674. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she is continuing to develop plans for the 1916 commemoration; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44180/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys The Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, which was launched on 31 March last, includes a rich diversity of programmes and events, complementary and additional to the formal State occasions, which will run throughout 2016 to commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising. The Programme is an invitation to everyone on the island of Ireland and to the global Irish community to shape and engage in a diverse range of historical, cultural and artistic activities – all designed to facilitate reflection, commemoration, celebration, debate and analysis and an active imagining of our future. Officials of my Department have facilitated an intensive consultation period over the last few months, including active engagement with schools, universities, colleges, business and voluntary organisations, arts and culture institutions, historical societies, local authorities and representative groups – at home and in our Diaspora around the world – to inform, to stimulate debate and discussion about 2016, and to foster programme initiatives. Work has been ongoing to implement a comprehensive programme and planning is well underway for the range of initiatives within the seven programme strands.

  Among the key milestones achieved to date are the following:

- I was delighted to host the first of the State ceremonial events of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme on 1 August last to commemorate the funeral of O'Donovan Rossa in Glasnevin Cemetery, in the presence of President Michael D Higgins and An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D.

- Over 84 public consultation meetings were held with local communities all around the country. 31 individual county plans were launched on 8   October last containing over 1,800 events across the country. €1m was allocated to facilitate these plans this year, with a further €3m to be made available next year.

  - An allocation of €22 million in capital funding is being provided through my Department’s Vote in 2015 for the ‘Permanent Reminder’ projects, with a further €31m being provided next year. These capital projects are progressing well.

- The Global and Diaspora Programme was launched on 29 June and was very positively received at home and abroad.

- On 6   August, the Arts Council announced 9 major arts projects to commemorate 1916.

- The National Flag Initiative was launched on 14 September, marking the commencement of the delivery by the Defence Forces of our National Flag and the Proclamation to over 3,300 national schools across the country. Well over 2,000 flags have now been delivered and the project has been very well received.

- The Irish Language strand - An Teanga Bheo   - was launched at the end of October by An Taoiseach.

  - The Education Programme strand was launched on 22 September for the primary, post-primary and third-level education sectors.

  - Consultation is ongoing with relevant stakeholders in Northern Ireland, including official, political, media, artistic and NGO stakeholders.

  - The National Cultural Institutions are planning a range of innovative exhibitions and projects and all are progressing well. The National Library launched its 2016 plans just yesterday.

- The official Culture Ireland programme “I am Ireland” was launched by Minister of State Ó Ríordáin on 3   October. This will showcase the best of Irish arts and culture on the international stage.

  - On 10 November, I announced that work was to start on the development of the new Commemorative Centre at the National Monument in Moore Street, which was acquired by the State earlier in the year.

  Further information in relation to the various events, activities and initiatives taking place under each of 7 strands of the Programme, including the 31 county plans launched in October, can be found on my Department’s dedicated website at www.ireland.ie .

Philanthropy Initiatives

 675. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if the arts continue to benefit from support from philanthropists at home and abroad, if she will augment and encourage such support; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44181/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Private support of the arts is very important and the Government continues to support this through tax incentives and other initiatives. In this regard, my Department introduced small philanthropy schemes in 2012 and 2013, both of which have helped to encourage arts organisations to build partnerships with potential sponsors. My Department also operates small capital grants schemes, which require to be co-funded from private or philanthropic sources. The Arts Council operates the RAISE programme, which seeks to enhance fund-raising skills in arts organisations with a view to reducing the sector’s dependency on funding from the taxpayer and moving it more towards the business sector. These initiatives assist the sector in securing philanthropic contributions to the arts in Ireland.

Heritage Sites

 676. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she continues to protect valuable archeological sites; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44182/15]

 677. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she has identified historical buildings, sites or structures deemed to be at risk, the action she is putting in place or that is pending to address the issues arising; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44183/15]

 678. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if particular historical sites or buildings in County Kildare are at risk and the action she has taken or that is pending to address these risks; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44184/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I propose to take Questions Nos. 676 to 678, inclusive, together.    

  Part IV of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, provides for the protection of the architectural heritage. The Act gives primary responsibility to planning authorities to identify and protect the architectural heritage by including relevant structures on the Record of Protected Structures (RPS) – in this case, Kildare County Council. Inclusion on the RPS places a duty of care on the owners and occupiers of protected structures and also gives planning authorities powers to deal with development proposals affecting them and to seek to safeguard their future.

  Grant funding of €624,000 was allocated for the Structures at Risk Fund 2015, to enable conservation works to heritage structures, in both private and public ownership, deemed to be at significant risk of deterioration and which are protected under the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended. This fund, which is administered through the local authorities, encourages the regeneration and reuse of heritage properties and helps to secure the preservation of protected structures which might otherwise be lost. Since 2011, over 130 structures have been safeguarded for the future as a result of the Structures at Risk Fund.

  My Department has a number of measures at its disposal to facilitate the restoration of major historical or cultural sites. I am the owner or guardian under the National Monuments Acts of approximately 1,000 national monuments located at approximately 750 sites and in such cases there is a statutory duty to maintain the national monument. Such maintenance is undertaken by the Office of Public Works. Local authorities are responsible under the National Monuments Acts for maintaining the national monuments of which they are owners or guardians. A wide range of other monuments (in the order of 130,000) are currently subject to protection under other provisions of the National Monuments Acts but my Department and the Office of Public Works do not have a direct role in their maintenance, except where, as already noted, a monument is a national monument of which I am owner or guardian.

  My Department is also providing €350,000 of funding to the Office of Public Works (OPW) in 2015 to assist in the conservation and presentation of historic buildings and national monuments in State ownership.

  Finally, in October this year I announced a new €2 million investment scheme for the repair and conservation of protected structures in 2016. This allocation from Capital Stimulus funding will assist with works to safeguard structures, in private and civic ownership, protected under the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended. This fund will operate on the same model as the very successful Built Heritage Jobs Leverage Scheme (BHJLS), which ran in 2014 and invested €5 million nationally in our built heritage leveraging an additional €10 million, and is expected to support a significant number of projects across the country and create employment in the conservation and construction industries. It will help to regenerate urban and rural areas and will come as a welcome boost to the custodians of heritage properties.

  Well maintained historic buildings contribute positively to the vitality of our cities, towns, villages and countryside. Local communities have a great sense of pride in their built heritage, which in turns can help to provide an important source of local employment by boosting tourism.

Heritage Sites

 679. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will develop a preservation plan for St. Fechin's church and holy well in Omey Island in Conamara, County Galway, and, in particular, take steps to prevent erosion from causing any further damage to the site; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44223/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys These monuments are not in my ownership or guardianship under the National Monuments Acts 1930 to 2004. I understand that they are located in an area of commonage with several private owners.

The monuments are, however, included in the Record of Monuments and Places under section 12 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994. Any person proposing to carry out works at, or in relation to, such a monument is required to give my Department two months’ notice in writing and must not, except in a case of urgent necessity and with my consent, carry out the works before that two months period has elapsed.

My Department will be glad to provide any interested parties with any guidance or advice that might be of assistance in relation to the statutory provisions applicable in this case.

Departmental Legal Costs

 680. Deputy Mattie McGrath Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the total cost to her Department, and those under her aegis, for the procurement of legal services in the State from 2011 to 2015 in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44567/15]

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I am advised that the cost of legal services paid from my Department's Administrative Budget since its establishment in June 2011 amounts to €6,195 in respect of legal advice provided on a single occasion in 2012. For completeness, I would bring to the Deputy's attention that my Department makes payments from time to time to the Chief State Solicitor's Office in respect of legal services that it provides to my Department. The Deputy may also wish to refer to my reply to Question Number 642 of 1 December which details costs of €225,100 incurred in respect of legal cases brought against my Department.

Bodies operating under the aegis of my Department are separate legal entities in their own right. The issues raised by the Deputy are part of the day-to-day operational responsibilities of the bodies in question and are matters for the bodies concerned.


Last Updated: 29/05/2017 12:38:04 First Page Previous Page Page of 84 Next Page Last Page