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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 6 Feb 1963

Vol. 199 No. 8

National Gallery of Ireland Bill, 1963—Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. The purpose of the Bill is to extend the scope of the powers of the Board of Governors and Guardians of the National Gallery of Ireland to make loans of works of art from the Gallery's collections. This matter has been under consideration for some years. The original Act of 1854 under which the Gallery was established gave the Board no power to make loans. Subsequently, powers to make loans were conferred on the Board by virtue of the National Gallery of Ireland Act, 1928, but these powers were very limited. They extended only to the lending of pictures for inclusion in public exhibitions held in Ireland or abroad under the management and control of public or local authorities, or of educational institutions, or of institutions or associations founded and maintained for the promotion of art, science or literature.

The Board of Governors and Guardians recommended, in April, 1961, that it should be authorised to make loans of works of art to the official residence of the President, to the Houses of the Oireachtas, to Irish diplomatic or consular missions and to approved Irish institutions in Ireland. The Bill now before the House provides for the additional powers requested by the Board. In addition, the Bill proposes to extend the powers of the Board somewhat further in order to enable it to make loans of works of art to all State-owned premises in Ireland or abroad. Without some such provision in the Bill the Board would not be in a position to lend pictures to, for example, the Irish pavilion at the forthcoming New York World's Fair, should it be decided to display pictures by Irish artists or pictures of Irish interest therein.

Since the Bill was circulated, it has come to my notice that it is possible that Section 1 (c) might not cover everything we had in mind because of the fact that certain properties which are held in trust for people might not legally be regarded as belonging to the State. A verbal amendment which I propose to introduce on the next Stage will cover this.

Finally, the Bill proposes to empower the Board to lend works of art to exhibitions in Ireland or abroad sponsored by An Chomhairle Ealaíon, the Advisory Committee on Cultural Relations or other bodies approved of by the Board.

The additional powers to lend works of art provided in the Bill are to be exercised by the Board of Governors and Guardians at their discretion and without prejudice to the prestige of the Gallery and the quality of works of art kept for permanent exhibition; and, in every case, the final decision to make loans will rest solely with the Board.

The objects set forth in the Bill are very desirable. As the Minister has mentioned, the original legislation setting up the Gallery goes back quite a long time prior to the establishment of the State. The first thing that strikes one looking at this Bill is the difference between it and the original legislation, whether intentional or otherwise, in that in this Bill the question of insurance is omitted. Under the 1928 Act, the Governors at that time were empowered to lend objects of art but there were certain obligations on them, including insurance. That is a matter on which the Minister might advise the House.

The promotion of art in the country is most desirable. The fact that works of art have been, in the main, centred in Dublin is a matter which has been referred to on Estimates for the Department of Education and the suggestion has been made that the works of art which are a national heritage and trust should be made available to the community at centres more readily accessible to the people than the capital city. That is not an easy object to achieve but the effort would be well worth while. In that respect, I would ask if local authorities are included in this Bill as persons to whose care some of these objects of art may be lent.

I would hope that the Bill will help to create a wider interest in and appreciation of art by making pictures available to audiences in rural centres or at least in the larger centres of population throughout the country. We welcome the measure from that point of view. We have something to show, not only at home but abroad and if this Bill helps to advertise more fully the art treasures which we have, it will be of great benefit.

On previous occasions, reference has been made to the fact that the cataloguing of objects of art is not as complete as some would wish it to be. Quite recently, questions were addressed to the Minister in that respect. The National Gallery is a treasure house and it is only right that a complete inventory of the works contained therein should be available to interested persons. I would suggest that more space should be made available for the exhibition of these works of art.

While welcoming the Bill, I would draw the Minister's attention to the question of insurance and would ask him to let us know if provision for insurance is included in this Bill, as was included under Section 2 sub-section (2) of the 1928 Act, under which the Governors were to take steps to preserve the property as they thought proper, including by insurance.

We also welcome the Bill, principally because it will give to the people outside Dublin an opportunity of seeing the works of art held by the nation. That is a very good idea. At the moment the Gallery possesses far more works than it has space in which to display them and many valuable works are covered up in the cellars of the Gallery.

When permission is granted to places outside Dublin to hold exhibitions, such exhibitions should be held in conjunction with some kind of festival, such as the festival in Wexford and the festival in Waterford. We in Kilkenny are at the moment undertaking the renovation of Ormonde Castle. That castle has one of the finest galleries in the country and I am sure that the people in charge there will be looking for the concessions which this Bill proposes to give. In that way the people in that part of the country will see these works which they would not see in any other way.

In tourist centres abroad, art exhibitions are frequently held and I think the same thing could be done here especially in view of the uncertainty of our climate. It would be good to encourage more indoor attractions. Such exhibitions would be one of the best indoor attractions for tourist centres. The discretion left to the Governors and Guardians of the National Gallery in deciding the suitability or otherwise of the place where these works are to be shown seems all right. From experience, these people are usually very particular and I am sure they will not give permission unless they are satisfied the works will be quite safe.

I had also in mind the question which Deputy Jones asked about, insurance, and the matter of transport of large works in particular. I could imagine an amount of expense and trouble being involved and in some cases the making of security arrangements also. I would ask the Minister to clear up these points.

Oddly enough, this Bill pinpoints the manner in which Ministers of State can be spancelled by all kinds of obscure regulations. It is an odd commentary that we must have a special measure in this House to enable them to do something simple like this. I seriously doubt if the French National Assembly had to pass a special measure to send the Mona Lisa to New York but we must pass a special measure, apparently, to send comparatively less important pictures, although some might dispute that, to the provinces here. However, it is something we must do.

This simple measure gives me the opportunity to raise again the desirability of bringing nearer to the people of this city the treasures which we have in what I regard as an obscure backwater where the National Gallery is situated. The tendency all over the world to-day is to try to bring art and objects of art and appreciation of art and of the beautiful things of the world as near as possible to the masses of the people. One of the methods that has been used successfully to do that, particularly in England, has been to open galleries and exhibitions on main thoroughfares in areas where large numbers of the populace ordinarily congregate and will come in to see what is going on out of idle curiosity which may eventually develop into appreciation of the arts. This has proved a financial success also in England and other places.

Here we have a National Gallery in a part of the city which for one of those strange reasons which nobody can explain is not very much frequented. It is a city square but it is an area which does not ordinarily carry a very great number of pedestrians on any day. I have often, as I am sure other members have, seen persons coming to the front gate of Leinster House in hundreds and inquiring for the National Gallery, particularly during the summer, and having to be directed to the other side of this block of buildings. That illustrates the point I am trying to make. The location of the Gallery is not very well known even to people who are ordinarily resident in the city or who are constant visitors to it. The Minister might give some attention to the need to have the location of the Gallery made more fully known by means of advertising or maps and he should try to bring into operation the organisation known as Bord Fáilte so that they could do something in this regard to help publicise the National Gallery more than is done and make it more easy for people to get to it, have it properly sign-posted and so on.

As the Bill provides for the removal of works of art from the Gallery and their public display in other places, I should like to refer to the need which exists for the public exhibition of works of art which are there but which should be placed outside the Gallery on public display in places where large numbers of Dublin citizens could see them. I refer particularly to the very excellent statue of George Bernard Shaw, one of the greatest sons of this city who attained literary greatness and became a world figure and Nobel prize-winner and whose statue is in somewhat of an alcove in the National Gallery.

Shaw himself, in a letter to a friend of his recently deceased, Mr. Patrick O'Reilly, the famous dustman friend of Shaw, expressed the view that this statue, because of its artistic excellence, quite apart from the fact that it was a likeness of himself, should be made visible to the Dublin people and I have on occasion suggested to the Minister by means of question and otherwise that the Board of Governors of the Gallery could not do better than to make this statue available to the Board of Works. We all know that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Department of Finance is very appreciative of art and has expressed himself as agreeable to the proposition that this statue and others of a similar kind should be displayed in the most obvious place for the purpose, St. Stephen's Green.

I am taking the opportunity to remind the Minister of the need that something should be done along these lines and also to suggest to the Governors of the National Gallery that in view of the fact that the Gallery has benefited by over £500,000 by reason of the Shaw bequest, we have gained more from Shaw's work in actual cash than from the efforts of any other individual that I can think of, at least this much should be done in honour of the man. He was a native of the city and many times crossed the Green on his way to work in Molesworth Street before he went to make his name in London.

There are other matters also which the members of the Board of Governors of the Gallery might well consider. They have there a number of other statues, some of them representations of famous people, some of middling people, and some of people who are pretty bad. They should at least help to promote throughout the world the knowledge that here in the city of Dublin, there is a literary tradition, and every opportunity should be availed of by people who have an interest in art, such as the people in charge of the Gallery are supposed to have, to promote the idea that people should come to Dublin from all parts of the world to see the places where Shaw, Joyce, O'Casey, Yeats and many others lived whose names do not spring to my mind at the present time but who are well known throughout the literary world. This promotion should be helped by the Board of the National Gallery by the public display of statues of those people. I would suggest that the centre of such a display should be made at Stephen's Green because of the fact that the ordinary visitor to the city and even the ordinary citizen finds difficulty in locating the National Gallery because it is situated in a backwater.

The Bill is an obvious step that should have been taken years ago. It is quite obvious that what we have here in the nature of artistic treasures should be brought down the country into the various cities, towns and villages and made available to the people for their enjoyment.

This is a welcome measure. I hope that when collections are being made up to be sent down the country, they will be representative and worthwhile. It would be an obvious thing for the people in charge of the treasures of the National Gallery not to let great treasures out of their sight and not to send them down the country; but with modern transport and modern heating and ventilation in galleries and rooms down the country where these pictures would be exhibited, the people in charge of the National Gallery could feel quite safe. I know that the local people will see to it that insurance and everything else is all right and the necessary precautions are taken.

I should like to say in regard to what Deputy Dunne has said about the late George Bernard Shaw that the National Gallery have come into nearly £500,000 out of only one of his works, Pygmalion, which was used as the libretto of My Fair Lady. That shows us that the National Gallery have a great asset in the Shaw bequest, that it is an improving asset and that more money is coming in. I would like to see, when collections are being made up, some of the great pictures recently bought sent down the country to let the people in the south, west and the north west see such great works of art. I do not think that we were grateful enough to George Bernard Shaw for his great and generous bequest. I would support Deputy Dunne in what he says, that we should exhibit his statue and let it be known to the youth of Ireland.

The Shaw bequest to the National Gallery is the greatest bequest they have received. It looks likely that the money will be continually pouring in and more pictures will be bought. That is all to the good. We bought old masters with the first sum we got and I would submit that it would be good to purchase some modern works now, and some by our own living painters. I am sure that Shaw would like to see this done with his bequest and that through the College of Art, there should be competition for all classes of people here in Ireland to submit pictures and that substantial money prizes, not just trophies, should be given. Artists have to eat as well as anyone else, and from what we read and know about them they starve more than people in any other profession.

Quite laudable, but not within the scope of the Bill.

I know, but you will bear with me in that, Sir. There are fine places down the country to exhibit pictures. We have had some pictures exhibited in Waterford several times and as Deputy Pattison mentioned, one of the finest picture galleries in the country is in Kilkenny, attached to Ormonde Castle. I saw that when the Ormonde collection of pictures was in this magnificent gallery, magnificently lighted. I am sure that the people in Kilkenny who are promoting the taking over of the Castle will do the kind of job that officials of the National Gallery would like to have done on this gallery. I am saying that with an eye to my own constituency, because I know that Kilkenny is only a matter of thirty miles away from Waterford.

Send them by train.

We will send them by CIE. We will see the Minister for Transport and Power about that, but we will have to walk with them to Tramore, I am afraid.

Getting a good number of the pictures out of the National Gallery will give the people there an opportunity of making a speedy inventory and a complete catalogue. They could look to the catalogues on the Continent and even in Britain, especially the catalogue of the Wallace collection. They should produce a catalogue on that style with the best of the pictures in colour. I would point out to the Minister that that could be done by Irish printers. Some of the great printing houses in Dublin and all over the country are quite capable of printing a magnificent catalogue, and we should have them. I believe that I am pushing an open door when I say to the Minister, that he should make that recommendation to the Governors of the National Gallery.

Lastly, I will say this, that when the pictures are going down the country, it would be good to let the people know that they are going down. We should make use of our own resources in advertising them, and it should be made known over Radio Éireann and Telifís Éireann, because if there were a promotion of that kind, with the Minister saying that the pictures were leaving on the way to Cork, Kilkenny, Waterford or Limerick, it would help to attract the people. I hope that the principals in the schools will see to it at their own convenience that their pupils are brought to see the pictures we send down. It is mainly for the younger people we would send them down.

I have been journeying for years trying to find out the meaning of a phrase I have heard so often at public functions, at dinners, here in the Dáil and on the hustings, about our national heritage and our way of life. Nobody could ever tell me what that was, or give me a proper definition. Today some of my colleagues opened my eyes and I found that portion of our national heritage is in the National Gallery.

As a rural Deputy, I welcome this Bill inasmuch as it will enable us to take to our schools and colleges some of the treasures that are stored in the National Gallery. It is true that lack of space, or proper heating factilities, or many other factors, may have prevented the removal in the past of these works to centres in the country, but this is a tremendous step forward inasmuch as it will give our students, scholars and youth in rural areas a chance of developing an appreciation of the great art in these pictures. Vocational schools and colleges would, at least for a while, be ideal places in which to exhibit, or even heated town halls or courthouses all over the rural counties.

I am quite sure that even the ordinary people would appreciate the opportunity of viewing these treasures, some of which are priceless. Indeed, I am sure some of the people living in Dublin have never troubled to see them for themselves. It is very often a case of the nearer the chapel, the farther from God. I also feel that many people travel abroad without having seen Ireland first and they have little knowledge of the vast amount of treasures which we have produced down the ages. This should be a wonderful incentive to people to become art-minded and to appreciate the heritage that has been handed down to us, to have a better understanding of the past and a better appreciation of the work which went into creating some of these great treasures. Many people have heard of the dispute over the Hugh Lane pictures and many people wondered what they were like. Thousands of people would very much appreciate the opportunity——

They will not come under this Bill.

I know, but, at the same time, the controversy awakened an interest, even in the ordinary people, in works of art. I do not think there will be any objection to this Bill; the Minister is doing something which will be of great benefit to the country, and to those engaged in this sphere of education, in providing an opportunity for people to see these works which are at all times available in the capital.

The Bill really proposes only a small change in the existing situation. It does, however, give us an opportunity to discuss the Gallery and its administration. For a small country, we are very fortunate that this collection is in the capital and indeed any other city with a population of half a million people would be very fortunate to have the pictures we have in the National Gallery and also in the Municipal Gallery. It is understandable how they have come to be there. Dublin was the capital city and was and is the seat of government and did inherit a patrician tradition. The people of Dublin are very fortunate to have this collection at their doors in a most accessible and beautiful gallery, and despite what Deputy Dolan said, it is only at a cost to them of their share as taxpayers. Indeed, it is rather ironical good fortune for the city that rejected Hugh Lane and if the Corporation of Dublin had been more enlightened earlier, the pictures to which the last speaker referred, the Lane Collection, could have been included in the proposals in this legislation and legislation that preceded it. However, they were not enlightened enough and I hope that they understand how fortunate they now are. In other respects, for instance, in the present situation of the very generous offer of a concert hall, I hope the people of Dublin will be more co-operative than they were in 1910.

This Bill provides a slight relaxation of present conditions which permit pictures from the national collection to be sent to centres in the country, local government buildings of a suitable character. But the people do not know this and I discovered it only some years ago when we tried to get some pictures from the collection for a general exhibition in Cork. We got a dozen pictures from the Governors of the National Gallery and they were all third-rate. We tried to put up a very good front but they were not good pictures and there were far better pictures available there. All the pictures in the Gallery, because they are owned by all the people, should be available for any special purpose or any exhibition in any part of the country.

Of course, the preliminary to all that is the provision of a complete and proper catalogue because 99.9 per cent. of the people do not know what is under the control of the Governors. I suspect that some of the Governors do not know what is under their control, either. We should, of course, acknowledge at this stage our national gratitude to the windfalls that have come to us from strange places. The Shaw bequest has far exceeded the intentions of the donor, I believe, but then Bernard Shaw never realised how much more money there was on Broadway than there was in the Royal Court Theatre in London.

Our gratitude for that windfall should be acknowledged in some way in addition to that suggested by Deputy Dunne. I think a plaque should be erected on the premises at the National Gallery because there is no doubt that never has such munificence come the way of the Governors. This one single request enabled them to go into the big picture market and it is very fortunate that it should have happened when this inflationary wave has brought the price of great works of the Impressionist period into the realms of fantasy.

There is a curious shortcoming in the present situation. This collection is the property of the nation but it has not been catalogued or valued completely, I feel sure, ever. The collection must be worth several millions of pounds but we never hear anything about it; nobody makes a report on the work of the Governors from year to year. In the Dáil Library, I have asked to get a report of the Trustees of the National Gallery and I have found that in the 40 years since the State was established, no such report was ever made.

I should like to know, members of the House would like to know and the people would like to know, when the Trustees of the Governors meet, who appoints them, what, if any, decisions they make. I think the Minister should ensure that from now on an annual report will be provided by the temporary Trustees of this very valuable national property. I should also like to be told by the Minister what buying policy is being pursued at the moment. There has been some disputation in the public Press about the recent acquisition of the Murillo painting. This, I know, is very thorny ground because art appreciation is a very curious thing—what is one man's meat is very often another's poison— and there is a fashion in painting. The work of painters which was very valuable a few years ago has declined in value while the Impressionists and post-Impressionists now are worth a king's ransom. You could have bought some of those for old rope in 1920.

It is a very important thing from the national viewpoint, and particularly because of the great funds now at the disposal of the Governors of the National Gallery, to know how these Governors make their decisions. A good picture of the kind we read about in the newspapers, a Cezanne, a Monet or any of the Impressionists, would cost as much as Tulyar cost and its purchase could easily be as speculative. It is not easy to please everybody but the Minister should be able to tell us if there is a clear policy of buying defined anywhere and whether we are filling gaps. In other words, are we completing representations from different schools and are we seizing opportunities of picking up works that, even though speculative, might be worthwhile in the long run?

I am inclined to think that the first line of policy would be to complete our representation of all the schools. For that reason, I think an annual report from the Governors is highly desirable. What have we got? I am aware of the difficulties of cataloguing a great collection but I should be interested to find out if an attempt will now be made to bring the cataloguing up to date. It is very desirable, particularly in the light of this legislation, that this cataloguing should be completed so that those who might seek to benefit by the facilities now being widened would know what is there.

The very act of cataloguing would let us know whether it might not be wise and desirable to get rid of a lot of the material in the National Gallery because I think we have got many bad pictures there, as well as some very fine ones. We could get rid of a lot of third-rate stuff, either by sale or bestowal, because I feel it is cluttering up the stores. We should not send to other centres such third-rate stuff when they ask for an occasional exhibition because, as Deputy T. Lynch said, the directors might feel an ordinary human reluctance about the temporary lending of the plums, the prizes of the Gallery.

On the question of insurance, it is doubtful whether insurance is a wise policy at all. I think the State should really carry the insurance now. There is one picture in the Municipal Gallery in Charlemont House at the moment, a Claude Monet which, given fortunate circumstances, could run up to £200,000 at an auctioneer's bench in either London or New York. I would take a bet that it is not insured for more than £5,000. I am pretty sure of that and I should like the Minister to clear our minds as to the needlessness of insuring at all. It is practically impossible to get rid of all these very valuable pictures nowadays. You could take them and hide them but you could not take them and get money for them. I therefore question whether insurance should not be discarded altogether and the State stand the racket. There is a question, of course, about pictures being sent down the country on loan but I doubt if insurance should apply even there. As long as they remain inside the shores of the country, I do not think we should be throwing away vast sums of money in insurance cover because we cannot possibly hope to cover what we have since it would exceed the entire income of the National Gallery.

In the matter of public relations. it is desirable that the people in the country who, after all, own the collection, should be aware of what they have. I do not know how the postcard or larger-sized print reproductions are selling but I should like to see them on the counters. I think we should be at least as active in this respect as they are in the English galleries and in all galleries in Italy and France. Coloured lantern slide transparencies can be made very cheaply and they are a remarkably competent type of reproduction. They would be available for lecturers all over the country and would be invaluable in schools. The lectures conducted by Mr. White, now Curator of the Municipal Gallery, were valuable and useful and the Minister should impress on the Governors of the National Gallery that he regards that kind of activity as being very valuable.

When school books are being produced—and this is in the Minister's country—reproductions of some of our National Gallery possessions should be used to illustrate them. A set of coloured blocks is expensive but related to the circulation and the cost of a standard school text book, it would be a very small part of the cost. The very fact that these are our own pictures in this Gallery would add enormously to their interest.

I thoroughly approve of those excursions which are arranged for school children to the city of Dublin but no matter how important it is to go to the Zoo or the biscuit factory, it should always be insisted upon that a brief visit be paid to the National Gallery. I would recommend also to the Minister that he should discuss with his colleague, the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, that one of the most effective programmes on British TV in recent years was the Herbert Reade illustrated lectures on art. They were enormously interesting and something similar should be done here. We should bring to light all our art possessions and do everything we can to make people aware of them. This Bill does help in that regard and I hope that advantage will be taken of the opportunities provided by it.

There are bodies in the country who could organise with the greatest ease interesting and useful exhibitions of parts of the National Gallery collection so that all the people in the country would have access to their own treasures and so that they also, along with the very fortunate citizens of Dublin, could enjoy these treasures.

I am very cheered by the active interest of Deputies in this question of the lending of pictures. Of course, this Bill deals only with the power of the Board to lend pictures and it is an ad hoc measure. I am sure the Board of the National Gallery will be very stimulated by the recognition in this House of the great influence the Board can have on taste and art education throughout the country by their using the powers which this Bill and the other Bill gives them.

The catalogue question has been raised again. There is a complete catalogue of the Italian paintings available and there is a full catalogue of all the works in the Gallery, about 1,800 now completed and being proofed. As Deputy Barry says, the proofing needs very careful and expert attention so it cannot be published for some time, until it is fully proofed and until everybody is satisfied with its accuracy and other matters. Cataloguing is, I understand, a difficulty in all galleries but this one should rid us of a lot of criticism which people have brought against the lack of labelling and about the difficulty in finding their way through the exhibition.

It is quite true that of the works of art which we have, a very big number are in storage. There is no room to hang what we have and this problem is being dealt with as far as Dublin is concerned. Incidentally I think Dublin is very fortunate in this Gallery and I would not agree that it is out of the way. It is beautifully situated.

It is quite an attractive place. It has a very fine setting as well as an excellent standard of exhibition. Well over 50,000 people were counted as visiting the Gallery last year, and I believe many of the educational tours of CIE do take in the National Gallery.

That figure could be multiplied by ten.

I expect it could and I hope it will. At this period, we are depending on the development of artistic taste, artistic appreciation and artistic education. All these things are very much tied up with the general appreciation by the public of things which are of good taste and things which are artistic in value. Countries which are to the fore in matters of art are there because children growing up see nothing on all sides but things which are beautiful in architecture, painting, and so on. We should try to show what we have of beauty to all our people.

The 1928 Act specified insurance of exhibitions held under Section 3 of the Act and it referred to exhibitions outside the National Gallery. The onus was put on the Governors of the National Gallery to be careful. It included provision for insurance of its exhibitions but it did not put any onus on them or anybody else in relation to insurance, if the exhibitions being held outside the Gallery were not being held by the Board of Governors. I can see the great difficulty which would be involved in doing this. I imagine that the provision in the Bill to lend would provide for the lending to responsible people and of course there is a general onus on the Board of Governors to be careful where they send their pictures. They have the final decision and I do not think it would be possible to make a provision for insuring all places where they are permitted to lend.

The Minister will agree that there are some items there which would have to be insured at today's values for a sum approaching £100,000. I would ask the Minister to have a look at that.

It might be unrealistic to try to insure for money. It would be better to seek the protection of the valuable works rather than insure them for a sum of money.

Always provided that would not be taken so rigidly as to exclude the lending of them.

No. That is why I think it would be difficult to seek insurance for them and, at the same time, to encourage lending.

Encouragement is the main thing.

I agree. We are very much in debt to Bernard Shaw, and this Bill, amended as I have suggested, would permit the Board to do what Deputy Dunne asked but again the Board of Governors would have the final decision as to whether this work of art would be lent to St. Stephen's Green. The Gallery has come into a great deal of money through the Shaw bequest and from the adaptation of his play and "with a little bit of luck," I am sure the Gallery will come into a lot more.

They should put up a plaque saying that.

I shall bring this to the notice of the Board. The constitution of the Board of Governors is: two representatives of the RDS, one of the Royal Hibernian Academy, the Chairman of the Commissioners of Public Works, the President of the Royal Irish Academy and 12 representatives appointed by the Minister for Education, with the consent of the Government. We have been very fortunate in some of the people who have been willing to act on this Board in recent years.

The matters related to the buying and selling of pictures are matters of opinion. It is a very waspish area. You are liable to get stung if you express an opinion on the value of a picture because very strong opinions seem to be held about many works of art. I do not think I would care to get any more stings than I am already receiving in this field of activities.

Would the Minister ask for a report every year?

The report goes from the Director to the Board.

Why not circulate it to the House or put it in the Library?

I shall consider that and see if there is any reason why it should not be done.

Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Tuesday, 12th February, 1963.