Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Directorship of National Museum.

asked the Minister for Education if he will state if a new Director of the National Museum has recently been appointed; and if so, the qualifications of the person so appointed.

It has been the practice since 1916 that one of the keepers in the National Museum should act as director, in addition to discharging the professional duties of his division. That arrangement was not regarded as satisfactory and it has been terminated. The administrative duties formerly attaching to the post of director have been assigned to a principal officer on the Department's staff, pending possible reconsideration of the position in the future. The correct designation of this officer is administrator, not director. In the circumstances, the latter part of the question does not arise.

Would the Minister say what were the considerations which justified the change in the system under which the director is not an administrator and an administrator is appointed in his stead?

As I have said in my reply, it was not found satisfactory. I believe that the work entrusted to each keeper of the museum—of whom there are three—is sufficient to keep each fully occupied on the technical side of the work. That means that the administrative work which is very important in an institution of the size and variety of the museum must be very large and I have decided that the best course to pursue is to have the keepers carry out the ordinary museum work entrusted to them while the administrative work applicable to the museum as a whole should be transferred to an administrative officer who is a man of long experience and has, in fact, dealt with this work for more than 20 years past.

Do I understand that so far as work requiring technical qualifications is concerned the museum is now in the hands of three sub-directors each responsible technically for a separate section of the work and that there is now no director over the whole museum?

That would not be quite correct. I am not in a position, by way of reply to a supplementary question, to define exactly the difference between what might be termed administrative work and what might be termed technical work. I want to make it clear to the House that this officer represents me in his responsibilities as administrator of the museum and I shall have to determine, if any question arises, whether and where his functions are to be limited. While he is an administrative officer, I do not want to give the impression that the general supervision of the museum will not be part of his functions. I do not want the Deputy to have any misunderstanding about the position.

Are we to understand that there is at the head of the museum no person who could be described as the technical head?

I have really nothing further to add. The officer who has been appointed from the Department of Education is the head of the museum at the present time.

Administratively but not technically.