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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 23 Oct 1973

Vol. 268 No. 3

Committee on Finance. - Arts Bill, 1973: Committee Stage.

Section 1 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 2 stand part of the Bill."

The fact that the Taoiseach reserves to himself the right to select 16 members and the chairman for the Comhairle is causing us some worry. During the Second Stage he suggested that consultations take place with various groups and bodies. I personally made a suggestion that perhaps all the people in enjoyment of tax relief should be written to and asked who should act on this Comhairle Ealaíon. As the section stands there is nothing to guarantee that any consultations whatsoever will take place. In the original Act, which this amends, there was provision for co-option; consequently the appointees were added to. Various interested groups, which were mentioned on Second Stage would then have representatives on the comhairle.

As it is, there is no guarantee that there will be any wide look at the material available, nor is there any guarantee that there will be representation of the various arts as defined in the original Act. This was considered by the Fianna Fáil Party and is a source of worry to them. Admittedly the second part of section 2 says that the person's interest and knowledge will have to be taken into consideration and there is also provision for balanced representation. The decision as to what "balanced representation" is obviously rests with the Taoiseach. In fact, everything rests with the Taoiseach. The comhairle might work out all right, but there is no legal guarantee that the comhairle will be of balanced constitution. Consequently it is the intention of the Fianna Fáil Party to oppose this section.

I should like to draw attention to the personnel of the present council and the manner in which they are appointed. At present the council comprises a director appointed by the President on the advice of the Government, six ordinary members appointed by the Government and up to five members coopted by the director and ordinary members.

In this section the principle is laid down whereby the Taoiseach will appoint all the members. It is necessary once again to draw attention to the attitude of the Fine Gael and Labour Parties during the discussion on the Bill to set up a board to administer the College of Art. At that time the Fine Gael and Labour speakers were very much opposed to the method being adopted in the Bill. They endeavoured to remove the Minister for Education's name at every opportunity. As far as I can remember, they voted against the proposals in that Bill in relation to this matter. Deputy Keating made a long speech on the reasons why we should give more autonomy and exercise more democracy in relation to the appointment of various members of the board. He pointed out that artists were different in many senses from other people and therefore more freedom was necessary in relation to the board which would administer anything relating to the Arts.

The Fine Gael and Labour Parties opposed certain sections of the Bill relating to the College of Art, even though I gave the right to teachers and students of representation on the board. In this Bill no representation is being given as a right to anybody. The Taoiseach will decide. As Deputy Wilson pointed out, we on this side of the House cannot be certain that the people appointed by the Taoiseach will be representative of the various branches of the Arts. When we look at the constitution of the council at the present time and the proposals in this Bill, we find that, rather than the democratic base being broadened it is being narrowed considerably. I cannot understand how Deputies in the Government party, two of them Ministers, who spoke on this Bill could accept that this type of section should be part of this Bill when they spoke so loudly and long against similar provisions in a Bill not so long ago. The only conclusion I can come to is that they were not present at the Government meeting when this Bill was discussed because it is a complete turnabout from the proposals put forward by them when in Opposition.

One would imagine that on coming into Government they would put into effect the suggestions and proposals they argued so vehemently not so long ago, but rather than finding the changes which one would have expected from the arguments put forward by them we find that many of the points opposed by them appear in this Bill. For these reasons, and the reasons put forward by Deputy Wilson, we oppose this section.

There are three things about this section which concern me. The first, while it is particularly underlined by this section nevertheless applies to the Bill as a whole, is the manner in which the Bill is drafted. It seems to me that it would have been infinitely preferable to repeal the Act of 1951 and re-enact one composite piece of legislation on this occasion. In section 2, for instance, we are dealing with appointments to the council. The council was created by the 1951 Act. This Bill must be read side by side with that Act to make any sense out of the composite legislation. The 1951 Act brought the council into being and this Bill without reference in section 2 to the 1951 Act, lays down the composition of the council. I should think that for future reference the more appropriate thing would have been to have repealed the 1951 Act and re-enacted the whole lot here in one piece of legislation.

Secondly, in regard to section 2, I am concerned with the criteria which are laid down in subsection (2). Subsection (2) stipulates that in selecting persons for appointment to membership of the council regard shall be had to the person's attainments, interest in or knowledge of the Arts, and to the securing of a balanced representation as between the different branches of the Arts. However, the Taoiseach in his speech indicated that, in enlarging the membership, he hoped to ensure that not alone the new council would be made representative of all branches of the Arts but also that the different areas of the country would be properly represented. Everyone will agree with that sentiment expressed in the Taoiseach's speech on Second Stage. One is surely entitled to ask why was that not inserted in subsection (2). I understand that in drafting there is a well-accepted principle that if something is specifically mentioned one automatically excludes, or tends to exclude, something one does not mention.

The fact that these two criteria are mentioned as having to be taken into account at the appointment of members of the council would seem to exclude the necessity mentioned by the Taoiseach in his speech: that of properly representing the different areas of the country. I would recommend to the Taoiseach that he should consider, before this Bill finally passes through both Houses, whether it would not be advisable to include a further provision in subsection (2) in regard to the representation of different areas of the country.

Finally, I would like to hear from the Taoiseach his reasons for ruling out co-option by the council in the future. It seems that that was a fairly useful provision in the 1951 Act. I wonder whether the Taoiseach would be prepared at this stage to reconsider that particular aspect. One could visualise a situation where the new comhairle assembled together and decided that they lacked some particular type of person they would like to have included in their membership. I would imagine that it would be useful if they could in those circumstances go to the Taoiseach and say "We propose to co-opt such and such a person. We think he would be valuable to us as a member because he has a particular type of contribution to make to our deliberations." I would suggest to the Taoiseach that he should reconsider this question of co-option and provide that the comhairle could co-opt a limited number of members, if necessary with the consent of the Taoiseach.

The arguments which have been made against the section of the Bill as drafted do not stand up on examination of previous Acts. I know that Deputy Wilson may not be aware of this, but certainly Deputies Haughey and Faulkner were both Ministers and they are familiar with the terms of the previous Acts.

This particular Bill changes the 1951 Act mainly in two definite ways. One is that it enlarges the size of the Arts Council. It changes the right, which existed under the 1951 Act and to which Deputy Haughey referred, of the Arts Council to co-opt members. I think that the Arts Act, 1951, was one of the few instances, if not the only one, where a State board had a right to co-opt. One of the criticisms made against co-option being vested in the council set up was that the members tended to co-opt persons like themselves. In other words, they tended to put on the board people with similar outlook and attitudes on a number of matters. That is fairly evident. I am not making that as a criticism, but am saying that, instead of enlarging the type of membership, the same type of membership was increased. It is possible, no matter who selects a board, that somebody will be left off who might appropriately be put on it. The provision in this Bill is more democratic than that in the earlier Act. The earlier Act gave power to the Government. There is a nominal change here; power is given to the Taoiseach.

Deputies who were Ministers know that the usual practice for a Minister who has appointments of this sort to make is that, even though he is not obliged by statute to consult another Minister, he generally does do so, at least informally.

Particularly where you have two political parties.

Even in the case of Fianna Fáil, although I know they occasionally acted on their own. The fact is that this particular section, as now drafted, obliges me to consult with others, or at least to take into account a person's attainments, interest and knowledge of the Arts or his competence to assist the council otherwise. There has to be a balanced representation as between the various branches.

Deputy Wilson will probably refresh the memories of Deputies Haughey and Faulkner about the earlier Acts. In 1961 the Industrial Research and Standards Act laid down:

There shall be a Board to be known as the Board of the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards (in this Act referred to as the Board) to carry out the general government of the Institute and the administration of its affairs.

.... The Board shall be composed of not more than nine members of whom one shall be the chairman and the others shall be ordinary members.

.... All the members of the Board shall be appointed by the Minister, and the Minister shall nominate a member of the Board to be the chairman thereof.

That was passed in 1961. It says that casual vacancies in the membership may be filled by the Minister. In that Act there was no obligation to consult anyone. All nine members were appointed by the Minister. The Minister also appointed the chairman. In the Act of 1958, relating to An Foras Talúntais, the chairman was appointed by the President. That is a distinction without a major difference. All these appointments can only be made on the advice of the Government. It went on to say that the ordinary members shall be persons nominated under subsection so-and-so and certain members were nominated from rural organisations and specific bodies. The Horse Industry Act, 1970, section 8, reads:

(1) The Members of the Board shall be appointed by the Minister from time to time as occasion requires but shall not exceed eleven in number.

(2) Before appointing a member of the Board, the Minister shall consult with such organisations (if any) as he thinks appropriate in relation to the appointment.

Again it was the Minister. Deputy Faulkner will remember the Higher Education Authority Act. It provided that:

An ordinary member of An tÚdarás shall be appointed by the Government on the recommenda-of the Minister and, before making a recommendation, the Minister shall consult thereon with the chairman of An tÚdarás.

The chairman is appointed by the Government also on the recommendation of the Minister and can be removed by the Government. The procedure that is being adopted here is almost identical, word for word with the procedure in all those Acts. It is absolutely identical with some of them. In the 1951 Act dealing with the Arts Council the Government make the appointments. This proposal is slightly more extensive in that it places the obligation on the Taoiseach, making the appointments, to take into account certain qualifications and also to endeavour to secure a balanced representation as between branches of the Arts. In addition, I understand that consultation is not required in the Articles of Association or the Act setting up An Foras Forbartha, the National Building Agency, the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards and the bodies I have already referred to.

Deputy Haughey made the point on Second Stage, and anyone who has been in office as a Minister has frequently made the same point, that there is no better way of getting broad representation than by ministerial or Governmental appointment. So far as this is concerned that is the procedure that is being followed.

Last Wednesday the theme of my contribution was directly related to what is now being discussed in Committee. I am disappointed that, as yet, I have not detected on the part of the Taoiseach any awareness of how undesirable it is that the Arts should be put in the straitjacket of the politican or, indeed, of any Department. Last week the Taoiseach said he felt that the rest of the party were not at one with me. He is getting evidence today of the fact that the Opposition are very much at one in this matter. I made the case that above all else the Arts were separate and required separate treatment. It is unfortunate to talk in one breath about an Arts Council and in the next breath to talk about a Horse Board or an Institute for Industrial Research and Standards.

There is not here what I regard as the special place of the Arts. I said last week that as far as I was concerned an indispensible element of any Bill related to the Arts was freedom. When the Taoiseach was replying he did not seem to be in agreement with me but, with your permission, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, I intend to read for you a paragraph from the Taoiseach's reply. I quote from the Official Report of 17th October, 1973, col, 82. When referring to the advances which had been made in the National Gallery and having paid the compliments to the present director which he has earned, the Taoiseach said:

One of the advantages that the National Gallery has had here is that it has been separate from any Department. If one thing more than another inhibits artists or writers it is the feeling that they are restricted in some way by any form of control. They feel that they generally prosper best when they have adequate freedom. I believe that is one of the matters which has helped the National Gallery.

Here I suggest the Taoiseach is going quite a long way in accepting the point which I make. He is accepting it as being applicable to the National Gallery but will not accept it here in the matter of the Arts Council which we all admit has a definite affinity with it, certainly much more affinity than exists between an Arts Council and a Horse Board or an Institute for Industrial Research and Standards or other such State bodies. The objection I have is that we are now putting the Arts under a State body. I do not think anybody here or elsewhere would suggest that this is the best way to treat the Arts. We can look at other councils where the chairman or other members were appointed by the Minister or by the Taoiseach of the day and we find that when there is a change of Government there is a certain uneasiness, to say the least of it, in the minds of the members of those boards or councils. The spirit of this Bill requires that we have the very best person appointed—male or female. I presume a female is not precluded from chairmanship of the council. The same applies to other members. Suppose the position on the eve of the appointment is that the very best man, or lady, available is a well-known member of the Fianna Fáil Party. Can we be sure that that will not be looked upon as an impediment to his or her appointment? Conversely, if a Fianna Fáil Government are in power, can we assume that the politicians who make up the Government will be such that they will be prepared to forget the party affiliations or political ideologies of prospective members of councils? I am not all that sure that such would obtain, and here I see the tragedy for the proposed Arts Council.

Under this Bill the council and the chairman will be appointed by the Taoiseach. Supposing, as could happen, there was a change of Government in the next year or two. Will the chairman and the members feel that their position is then changed? Will they be pursuing their obligations under this Bill looking over their shoulders for a change of Government or a change of Taoiseach? I am afraid that is what will happen. Accordingly, as I indicated the other day, I cannot support and must oppose section 3.

I should like to refer very briefly to some of the points made by the Taoiseach. The Taoiseach referred to a number of Acts and compared them with the present Bill. To be quite frank about it I expected the Taoiseach would do something like that, because it is not uncommon for Ministers, when certain arguments are put up by the Opposition, to get somebody to delve into previous Acts to find points of similarity between them and the Bill they are bringing forward.

He said that I must be aware of the situation in relation to the Higher Education Authority Act. Of course I am, but the Taoiseach is side-tracking the argument I put forward. What is in the Higher Education Authority Act in relation to the appointment of the chairman and the members was opposed vigorously by the then Opposition. I would assume that, before opposing it here, the spokesmen for the Opposition would have already had the matter fully considered and debated in their own parties and would be expressing the views of the various parties in Opposition at that time.

Therefore it is natural that I should expect to find in this Bill sections determined by the attitude of the spokesmen of the Fine Gael and Labour Parties when they were in Opposition. This is the case I am making. I am not suggesting that there is such a great difference between this and the various Acts to which the Taoiseach refers but rather I am referring to the very strong views—in fact some of them brought to the point of a Vote in the House—which were expressed by Deputies in Opposition. I was rather amazed on Second Reading to find that many of the points which the Opposition at that time found so objectionable are now incorporated in this Bill.

Perhaps I might refer to a couple of the points raised by Deputy Tunney. First of all, if he reads the 1951 Act he will see that "any grant made to the council under sub-section 1 of the section shall, subject to paragraphs 3 and 8 of the schedule to this Act, be expended by them for such purposes connected with their functions as in their discretion they think fit." That is section 5 (2).

In other words, the Taoiseach or, for that matter, any Minister has no power to interfere. The Deputy made the point that a statutory body is taking over the Arts. It is not taking over the Arts. The statutory body set up in 1951 was designed to help the Arts and has been recognised as making a contribution. There is no more control or no less in this Bill as far as the Arts are concerned that there was in that Act. All that is happening is that the range of membership is being extended to a total of 16.

So far as bringing politics into it goes, the only Government who appointed a person with political experience were the Fianna Fáil Government. They appointed a former Minister as the first Director of the Arts Council. The Deputy may not remember that, or he may not be aware of it. He was a Fianna Fáil Deputy and a Fianna Fáil Minister. He had ceased to be a Deputy and he was appointed Director of the Arts Council. I do not propose to appoint a politician. I think it is better to keep the Arts separate from politics. On the other hand, I do not suggest that a person might be excluded automatically but, so far as the record is concerned, the only politician appointed was appointed by Fianna Fáil as Director of the Arts Council.

I am not all that concerned about what happened in previous Acts. I hope that we can see the present as it is. The point I make is that the Chairman of the Arts Council shall be appointed for such term as shall be determined by the Taoiseach. He shall be paid, out of moneys at the disposal of the council, such remuneration and allowances as the Taoiseach, after consultation with the Minister for Finance, shall determine. Here we are making the chairman of one of the most important councils in the country the agent of the Taoiseach whomsoever he may be. I am not happy with that position.

The only difference here is that under the earlier Act it was the Government. The procedure is the same. In fact, there was no obligation to consult the Minister for Finance. I have put in a proviso that the Taoiseach must consult the Minister for Finance. That follows the procedure in a number of other Acts.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 59; Níl, 50.

  • Barry, Peter.
  • Barry, Richard.
  • Begley, Michael.
  • Belton, Luke.
  • Belton, Paddy.
  • Bermingham, Joseph.
  • Bruton, John.
  • Burke, Dick.
  • Burke, Joan T.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Collins, Edward.
  • Conlon, John F.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Cooney, Patrick M.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Kieran.
  • Cruise-O'Brien, Conor.
  • Desmond, Barry.
  • Desmond, Eileen.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Dockrell, Maurice.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dunne, Thos.
  • Enright, Thomas.
  • Esmonde, John G.
  • Finn, Martin.
  • FitzGerald, Garret.
  • Fitzpatrick, Tom (Cavan).
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hegarty, Patrick.
  • Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Keating, Justin.
  • Kelly, John.
  • McDonald, Charles B.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • McMahon, Larry.
  • Malone, Patrick.
  • Murphy, Michael P.
  • O'Brien, Fergus.
  • O'Connell, John.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Leary, Michael.
  • O'Sullivan, John L.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, John J.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Taylor, Frank.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Tully, James.
  • White, James.


  • Andrews, David.
  • Barrett, Sylvester.
  • Brady, Philip A.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Brugha, Ruairí.
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Colley, George.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Cronin, Jerry.
  • Crowley, Flor.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • Dowling, Joe.
  • Fahey, Jackie.
  • Farrell, Joseph.
  • Faulkner, Pádraig.
  • Fitzgerald, Gene.
  • Fitzpatrick, Tom. (Dublin Central).
  • Flanagan, Seán.
  • French, Seán.
  • Gallagher, Denis.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, James.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Hussey, Thomas.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Leonard, James.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • Lynch, Jack.
  • MacSharry, Ray.
  • Meaney, Tom.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Moore, Seán.
  • Murphy, Ciarán.
  • O'Malley, Desmond.
  • Power, Patrick.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Timmons, Eugene.
  • Tunney, Jim.
  • Walsh, Seán.
  • Wilson, John P.
  • Wyse, Pearse.
Tellers:— Tá, Deputies Kelly and Desmond; Níl, Deputies Lalor and S. Browne.
Question declared carried.
Question proposed: "That section 3 stand part of the Bill."

One of the points I made on Second Stage was that when a person is chairman or a director of something like An Chomhairle Ealaíon and is too long in that position his ideas may grow stale or he may be exercising himself in one particular field and neglecting others. Consequently, we think that it is a good thing that one holding this kind of office does not hold it for a number of terms because the ideas of everybody tend, through time, to be repeated. I gather from clarification on the Second Stage that the term means within the five-year ambit. I am concerned really with what happens after the five-year period is up. We are opposed to section 3.

I find it hard to follow the Deputy's point because this board, and, so far as I am aware, all State boards have a limitation on time of appointment. The terms generally do not exceed five years with probably one exception: I believe the Governor of the Central Bank is appointed for a seven-year term. However, there are very few exceptions to this period. As I understand it, the Deputy's concern is that a person could not be re-appointed.

No. What I mean is that a person can be appointed for a second or a third period. These appointments tend to go on and on.

Again I am afraid I must refer the Deputy to the record of his own party when in Government. They tended to keep re-appointing. I believe this was a mistake. In this regard I think the Deputy is right. A person may have a contribution to make but, no matter who he or she is, there should be some limitation. However, I believe the discretion should be left to the Government. As the Bill is drafted and as the original 1951 Act was drafted, a person cannot be appointed for longer than five years. They may be re-appointed. That is still the situation. The appointment cannot exceed five years. In fact, in every fifth successive year after this year there has to be a fresh appointment. Any other limitation will prevent a person being re-appointed unless the Deputy means to have a shorter term than five years.

Question put and declared carried.
Section 4 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 5 stand part of the Bill."

The difficulty here might be that the chief executive officer, which is what the stiúrthóir will be, could, as most permanent employees of such bodies as An Chomhairle Ealaíon do, gather to himself a great deal of power over the years. Admittedly he is an executive of the comhairle and, technically at least, the comhairle can direct him, can change his views and make him do what they say. As is the experience in trade unions, the permanent official gathers a great deal of power during the years. I should like to see something written into the section to enable the Government or the council themselves to assess the stiúrthóir at certain intervals, for instance, every eight or ten years.

This makes a change from the 1951 Act but it changes it to the practice that is broadly followed in most State bodies, including State companies. Under the 1951 Act the director who was part-time was also chairman. Under this Bill, the chairman and the stiúrthóir or director will be separate. In effect, it will mean that the chief permanent official will be appointed by the council and he will continue, as will the staff, irrespective of what changes are made on the council. I think this is probably the better procedure. Deputy Wilson said that a person who holds a position for a long time may arrogate or assume to himself considerable powers but it is the council who are responsible for the policy. Whether the council are changed every five years, whether the membership changes when people retire, the council will decide the policy. It will be the job of the chief executive or the stiúrthóir to implement that policy.

The defect in the 1951 Act was that the chairman and director were the one person and were part-time although that does not reflect in any sense on the contribution that was made. This provision will enable a person who is part-time to serve on the council or to act as chairman but there will also be a permanent person who will carry out the duties whole-time. Some of the big State companies, such as the ESB, have full-time chairmen. This provision follows the practice of a number of other bodies; the chairman will be separate from the director or stiúrthóir who will be a permanent officer of the council.

There are two questions I should like to ask the Taoiseach regarding the appointment of the director. Am I correct in assuming the approval of the Taoiseach is necessary in relation to the terms and conditions which will be determined and not in relation to the individual who will be appointed as director?

In relation to the terms and conditions.

In the Principal Act, the title of the person appointed was "An Stiúrthóir", to be known in English as "the Director". I should like to know why the term "An Stiúrthóir" was dropped in this Bill?

The 1951 Act states:

A member, who shall be called An Stiúrthóir, or (in the English language) the Director,

The 1951 Act refers to the director.

I realise that, but the 1951 Act says An Stiúrthóir and after that in brackets it mentions the Director. I am asking the Taoiseach why a change was made here.

There has been no change. The 1951 Act states that the director shall be appointed, at the side there is reference to the director, and it also states that the remuneration of the director shall be paid by the council out of their funds.

I have not got the Act with me.

I have the Act here and I can assure the Deputy I have not changed it. I really think we should have got beyond that now; it is not serving either English or Irish.

Would the Taoiseach not see some danger in the permanent appointment as compared with appointment for a period subject to review, perhaps for five years or seven years?

This is left to the council. On the one hand, people are saying we are interfering too much and, on the other hand, others are saying the contrary. Deputy Tunney considered we should not have any restriction on the Arts but Deputy Brugha and Deputy Wilson said there should be a limitation. It is left to the council entirely; they fix the terms although they must get my approval. I think it is better to leave it there. They may fix a period of five years, renewable at the end of the term if they are satisfied, but I do not think you will get anyone unless there is continuity of employment.

Is the Taoiseach satisfied that the terms and conditions are subject to his approval? The wording would seem to indicate that only the person is subject to his approval?

The Bill states:

The Council shall from time to time appoint, on such terms and conditions as they shall determine and subject to the approval of the Taoiseach, a person to be the chief executive officer....

"Subject to the approval" would seem to govern the person, not necessarily the terms and conditions.

In any event, this is governed by section 8 of the Schedule of the 1951 Act which states:

(1) The Council may appoint or engage such and (subject to the approval of the Taoiseach) so many officers and servants as they think fit.

(2) Every officer and servant appointed or engaged by the Council shall be paid by the Council out of their funds such remuneration and shall hold his office or engagement by such tenure and on such conditions as they, with the approval of the Taoiseach, shall determine.

It is left to them. I suppose the reason it is inserted is that we would not want them to pay an exorbitant amount. It is the normal procedure that Ministers be consulted but, subject to that, it is left entirely to the council.

I should like to see the holder of this office enjoying conditions which would prevent what I fear happening, namely, the person concerned continually having to look over his shoulder. How permanent will his position be? I do not think the holder would be too worried about remuneration but he might be inhibited to some extent unless he was quite sure he was helping in the administration of policies that were considered best for the Arts. We must accept that the holder of the director-ship should have that impression and should not be afraid of certain winds that might blow and which might disturb him.

That differs slightly from what Deputy Wilson said. I do not think there is any danger of that. In the first place, I assume that the council will appoint the director on conditions that are acceptable to him. Most people would not accept such an appointment unless they were given some guarantee of continuity of employment. That is as it should be because the director is there to carry out the policy of the council regardless of whether that council might change in time or whether it might adopt a different policy. Under the original Act the positions of director and chairman were held by the same person, but this was bad because it meant that the holder of the offices was acting in a dual capacity. It was not good from the council's point of view either that the chairman should be acting as the chief executive. That is no longer the position and I take it that the condition now will be such as to ensure that the person concerned has freedom of action.

Apart from some isolated exceptions, the experience in the main in State bodies has been that people continue to serve irrespective of the changes in the boards. With the rare exceptions of conflicts of a very unusual nature—I can recollect only a few such instances but it would be undesirable to mention names—the chief executive and principal personnel continue to serve regardless of appointments to the boards of State bodies and regardless also of which Government are in office.

I would like to make the point that a Schedule enacted in relation to section 2 (2) of the 1951 Act lays down that:

The Council shall consist of the following members:

(a) a member, who shall be called An Stiúrthóir, or (in the English language) the Director, appointed under paragraph 3 of this Schedule.

I assume that the official title is to remain "An Stiúrthóir".

I have not changed the Act at all. It has been followed exactly. If the Deputy looks at section 7 of the Schedule to the Arts Act of 1951 he will see that at a meeting of the council the director, if present, shall be the chairman of the meeting.

All I am asking is whether the official title of the director will continue to be "an stiúrthóir"?

I have not interfered with the Act. I am quoting the Schedule to the 1951 Act.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 6 stand part of the Bill."

It is difficult to see any strong reason for the disqualification because of membership of either House of the Oireachtas. Under this arrangement Paderewski when he was leader of his country could not have served on his own Arts Council.

This has had a chequered history in Acts dealing with State bodies. The ESB, for instance, precluded it, but now all State bodies preclude it so that in modern terminology and practice the condition applies to all Acts of this nature.

I have no wish to be referring back constantly but in respect of this case very strong arguments were put forward by the then Opposition to this provision in Bills that I brought before the House—for example, the Higher Education Authority Bill and the College of Art Bill. The arguments were put so strongly that I agreed eventually that there was considerable substance in what was said. However, I did not consider it correct to make the change in relation to any one Bill but rather that if the House were to agree ultimately to a change being made, that it should be made in a general sense. I am surprised to find this subsection in the present Bill. In the first instance I read through the Bill quickly and I thought that such provision had been omitted or that it referred only to the director or any other officer or servant in the employment of the council. I assumed that it had been left out because of the case that had been made for the exclusion of such condition by the present Government when they were in Opposition but on rereading the Bill, I discovered that this condition was very much there.

I have no wish to delay the House by quoting the various Acts but this provision has a long history. The phraseology differs in a number of Acts. Sometimes it applied to the memorandum or articles of association and sometimes it was in the Act as such. Apparently, in recent years it has been the practice in almost all Acts to exclude membership of the Dáil or Seanad or in some cases to do what is being done here. In some instances even nomination was considered grounds for preclusion.

Nomination applies in this case, too.

Yes. This has become standard practice, but in some of the earlier Acts the point at which the provision operated differed but now it has become standard practice and has applied in respect of most modern Acts.

I raise the matter because of the attitude adopted previously by the Fine Gael and Labour Parties in relation to such provision.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 7 stand part of the Bill."

I can think of four or five world-famous painters who could not serve on an Arts Council if bankruptcy precluded them from so doing.

Hear, hear.

On the analogy that the irritation produces the pearl in the oyster, perhaps the bankruptcy helped them in their art.

I was about to make the same point and to ask the Taoiseach whether section 7 was necessary. Perhaps one can understand the provision in relation to membership of this House, although even in that regard modern thinking is changing. Is the provision necessary in the case of An Chomhairle Ealaíon? During the debate on the Second Stage I expressed the hope that the Taoiseach would be encouraged to appoint practising artists to membership of An Chomhairle Ealaíon. We all know the Arts in this or any other country are not a very remunerative area of occupation and it is quite possible that a very valuable member of the council could become disqualified in this way, whereas in every other way he would make an admirable and suitable member. Perhaps the Taoiseach would reconsider the necessity for this section.

Again I sympathise with the comments of the Deputy because we all know that artists, even successful ones, very often do not make money. On the other hand, here we are dealing with the expenditure of public money and we have to have a slightly different standard than in dealing with the affairs of a private individual. This provision is in a number of Acts, one as recent as the 1971 National College of Art and Design Act, the Harbours Act, and the Turf Development Act, 1946. I suppose in all of these cases—and I think it applies to others—it is based on the consideration that such appointees would be responsible for the expenditure of public money. We have to be more careful how we spend public money and the type of persons we appoint to bodies of this sort. The proviso in the section refers to a person who is "adjudged bankrupt or makes a composition or arrangement with creditors, or is sentenced ...". I think we should stick to this procedure.

We cannot get away from relating this council to other non-artistic councils. I suppose one has to accept what is contained here, but again I would express my regret that here we have not taken advantage of an occasion when it was possible for us to show we accepted that in the matter of the Arts we should be liberal beyond the extent to which we are normally, and especially bearing in mind the fact that the Taoiseach did not necessarily have to appoint somebody who appeared to him as a person who was not likely to keep his financial business correct for the duration of his office. At least we have the opportunity of indicating that if the prospective member has artistic qualities and attainments this would be the first consideration and the fact that he would not be a topclass economist or that he might have some of the characteristics and qualities of a Pádraig Ó Conaire would not prevent his being accepted or would not prevent his having the freedom to make his contribution to the Arts Council.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 8 to 10, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 11 stand part of the Bill."

This is the section that has been most welcomed by people who are interested in the Arts. I have had a communication from a particular man whose name I do not want to mention because I think he may be a public servant. Many people feel that this should be expanded a little, that, for example, the local library should be named as a centre, that the local authority should be permitted to collect 1p in the £ or a certain amount in the £ for an Arts fund, that the local authorities should be allowed to tax buildings at a certain rate—I think I mentioned this already—on completion, and large office blocks, and even very large private ones; you could have a lower and an upper limit in cost.

They can do that. It is a reserved function.

To the county manager?

Yes; the council of a county.

They can do any or all of those things and the power is in this section?

They can raise the money for it if they want to do it. I am not certain about the library.

The idea is a good one. It could be a kind of cultural centre. Would it be possible for a local authority, for example, to appoint a local arts officer? Would there be power in this section?

I think so, but it is a matter for the council, that is the council of the local authority rather than the manager.

With reference to all these suggestions, some people felt that, instead of the Bill, a general White Paper discussion should have taken place, and then whatever legislation might arise out of that might be fuller and better.

I have just one question: Is the word "assist" here rather limiting? Subsection 1 reads: "A local authority for the purposes of the Local Government Act, 1941, may assist with money ..." Does that mean that they could not do something completely themselves but could only assist somebody else?

Once they have a function they can raise the money, appoint staff, provide premises and so on. Therefore I think they can do everything that is necessary to assist in any way that is deemed necessary.

Perhaps it might be looked at between now and the Report Stage.

I shall do that.

What I would be concerned with is that the local authority could in fact, in regard to an exhibition or a performance, pay the whole lot and not just be confined to assisting somebody else.

There is no doubt about that. If they so decide under the County Management Acts, they can do it. They have the power, because it is a reserved function and that means the county itself can do it.

With other Members of the House I welcome this section. Considerable and worthwhile work can be done at local level and quite possibly it would help to decentralise the whole arts situation. I recognise that it would not be desirable to put into a section any stronger word than "may". I assume the new council would do everything possible to encourage local councils to make use of the power which is being made available to them in this Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Amendment No. 1 in the name of the Taoiseach and Amendments Nos. 2 and 3 are consequential and may be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 4, between lines 33 and 34, to insert the following new subsection before subsection (2):

"(2) Section 3 (1) of the Principal Act is hereby amended by the insertion of `within or without the State' after `as they think fit,' ".

These amendments, as stated on Second Stage, are designed to clarify the power of the council to assist artistic activities within or outside the State. Under the 1951 Act the council are empowered to organise or assist exhibitions of works of art and artistic craftsmanship within or outside the State and have, in fact, paid for exhibitions from the South shown in the North and have organised with the Northern Ireland Arts Council joint art exhibitions in Belfast and Dublin. Some doubt exists as to whether the council are empowered to assist certain other types of artistic activity in the North. Legal advice is that the amendments are necessary in order to clarify the council's powers in this respect. As I mentioned during the Second Stage, there has been co-operation on this matter between an Chomhairle Ealaíon, the Northern Ireland Arts Council and the Belfast Museum. They have an excellent relationship and have co-operated on many projects. In order to make certain that the fullest possible use of the powers of the council were available, it was recommended that these amendments should be introduced and I formally move them.

I wonder if I am reading the proposal correctly. It seems to me that a change in the Principal Act, which will be made by section 12, puts section 5 in front of section 3. Why does this new subsection not come before subsection (1) of section 12? Then you would have section 12 amending section 3 of the Principal Act first and subsequently section 5 of the Principal Act, and not, if my interpretation is correct, having section 5 before section 3.

That is a drafting amendment. The Deputy is correct; it should come in the other order, this should be before section 5, I will agree to do that. It seems reasonable if the House agrees.

Amendment amended by deletion of "(2)" where it occurs and substitution of "(1)".

I wonder whether this might be the appropriate moment to inquire into a matter I was considering. In the Explanatory Memorandum there is reference to the Arts Act, 1951, and mention is made of "paintings, sculpture, architecture, music, the drama, literature, design and industry and the fine arts and applied arts generally." Are films included in drama or would it be necessary, if they are to get recognition and support, that they be referred to specifically in the Act? We appreciate that in the times in which we live the film media can be, and possibly should be, as artistic as the stage, as sculpture, as painting, or as any other of the Arts. Is it that in 1951 this was not accepted or is it that it was looked upon as something apart? If so, would it be necessary in order to give assistance to this art form that it should be referred to specifically or can we take it that it is included in what is described here as drama?

The Film Finance Corporation are under the responsibility of the Minister for Industry and Commerce and they deal with that. In addition, I understand that Bord Fáilte have directly assisted promotions, such as the Cork Film Festival. However, I will have this point considered to see if it is necessary to amend it. I think it is broad enough as it is, but if it is deemed desirable to do so an amendment could be introduced in the Seanad.

Amendment, as amended, agreed to.

I move amendment No. 2:

In page 5, lines 46 to 49, to delete subsection (3).

In order to be logical we must oppose this amendment because it contains substantively what we have already opposed.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 12, as amended agreed to.

I move amendment No. 3:

In page 5, before section 13, to insert the following new section:

"13. (1) In paragraph (d) of section 3 (1) of the Principal Act `(within or without the State)' is hereby repealed.

(2) The following provisions of the Schedule to the Principal Act are hereby repealed, namely, paragraphs 2, 3 and 5, subparagraph (3) of paragraph (4) of paragraph 4."

I have a problem with regard to the phraseology of this amendment. It is very difficult to follow what goes where under the amendments which have been made. It seems to me that the outcome of this amendment will be that we will be left with the ungrammatical phrase "an member". The amendment simply proposes to repeal the word "ordinary". I am not too clear if one can repeal a word. I wonder why the phraseology is not "delete" the word "ordinary". Apart from that I am concerned with what is left when the word "ordinary" is either repealed or deleted. It seems to me that we are left with the phrase "an member", and not "a member". Am I right about that difficulty?

The point as to whether it is deleted or repealed is really a matter of terminology. Both are used. The repeal is to take out the word "ordinary" and the other is, I understand, a consequential printing change.

I am not too worried whether it is repealed or deleted. As the section stands we are left with "an member" as distinct from "a member". That is my only concern.

I see the Deputy's point. That will be done in the ordinary printing.

Is section 13 agreed?

Was the second amendment moved?

Yes. It has been disposed of.

One is a deletion and the other is an insertion.

I want to make a point similar to the one I raised earlier in relation to the title of the person to be appointed as head of the permanent staff. I asked the Taoiseach if it were proposed to continue the use of the name "stiúrthóir" as his title. The Taoiseach stated that he had not made any changes in the Bill. I should like to ask whether the deletion of section 2 of the Schedule eliminates the name of the "stiúrthóir" or whether I misunderstand the position?

It is true that section 2 of the Schedule of the 1951 Act called a person "stiúrthóir". That was not followed in any of the other paragraphs. I understand that the director of An Chomhairle Ealaíon was known as "the director".

That may be so, but the official name of the title of the person in charge was "An Stiúrthóir". I do not see any reason why that should be changed. In repealing this particular section we are making that change. I would like to have this point considered again on Report Stage.

The subsection states what the name is.

It does, but the subsection is being deleted.

It is consequential on the amendment I mentioned.

I appreciate that it is consequential on the amendment, but I still hold that while it is consequential it removes the name "stiúrthóir" and we are left with nothing in the Bill but "director".

Is amendment No. 3 agreed?

I would hope that some consideration would be given to this point.

I do not think it is a point of substance.

Is it not common sense to call the man "stiúrthóir" when speaking or writing in Irish, and "director" when speaking or writing English? It would be a very funny letter in Irish if in the middle of an Irish sentence one said "Thug mé cuairt ar an director inné". No one would think it odd if one said "Thug mé cuairt ar an stiúrthóir inné". If what Deputy Faulkner is suggesting were accepted it would virtually place a national responsibility on somebody wanting to show that his heart was in the right place to use the word "stiúrthóir" in English. I consider we have had enough of that and not enough of the other approach.

The Parliamentary Secretary might consider that we have had enough of that. Is he suggesting that we should not use the terms "Córas Iompair Éireann", "Bord na Móna" and so on? They have become part of the language here because of the fact that when the Bills concerning them were introduced here these Irish names were given to these concerns. These names are normally used by our people now. Anything that will help in any way to develop the language is important. The language is one of the most important aspects of our culture. We should not eliminate it. We should give some consideration to retaining it at least as much as previously.

We had dealt with section 12. The Chair has allowed Deputies to go back on what was previously dealt with. The Chair is at fault in allowing that to happen.

Was this a new section?

Section 13 was a new section.

I have been speaking on the second amendment to section 13. It is a new section to delete something.

Amendment No. 2 dealt with section 12. Amendment No. 3 was a new section.

For the last two hours we have had a very cultured debate on this matter. I would not like to reflect on the Parliamentary Secretary, but I would say that his contribution has not helped to improve the standard of debate. I suggest to the Taoiseach that I can see a certain validity in the point made by Deputy Faulkner.

The Chair understands that section 12 was agreed. We are on section 13, amendment No. 3.

As the Taoiseach indicated, in so far as it might appear to people that there is slight retrogression in the matter of an Irish word being removed that that is not very important, would it not be better to leave the word "stiúrthóir" as before?

I do not know whether Deputies are aware that the word "director" is used exclusively with one exception. Even in that case what is said in the original Act is that in the council the member shall be called the stiúrthóir or, in the English language, the director. It then continues but never again mentions the word "stiúrthóir". It may be that Deputy Faulkner is right and that certain bodies are called by the words used in their title. In this particular Act the word director is used everywhere after references to the stiúrthóir. The only reason for the change here is because the director and the chairman are no longer the same person. I do not think this is worth any fuss.

Perhaps the Taoiseach may think so, but I think differently. The Taoiseach will agree that while the word "stiúrthóir" may not be used in any other part of the Act the point where it is used is the crucial one. I appeal to the Taoiseach about this. I am not pretending it is something of great importance; it is a relatively minor matter. Nevertheless, we should not change the name in this instance or in instances of this type. Perhaps the Taoiseach will reconsider the matter.

Perhaps I may be given a chance to clear myself with Deputies Faulkner and Tunney in this regard. Deputy Faulkner knows very well that I am as keen as he is that the Irish language should be promoted as far and as fast as possible. But it seems to me that the onus lies very heavily on those who have adopted certain methods of promotion up to this and got nowhere with them, to show that the continuation of these methods whereby the shadow is accepted instead of the substance, whereby a title is accepted instead of material worth, is going to produce any good results in the future. If either of the Deputies who have spoken convince me of that I will apologise for having raised my voice at all but it would take a lot to persuade me. All the evidence is in the other direction.

That is a pitiful contribution from the Parliamentary Secretary.

Acrimony seems to be the Parliamentary Secretary's forte. I do not think this is the occasion on which to make a general statement about the success or otherwise of the language policy for the last 50 years, initiated by the Parliamentary Secretary's own party. The note of acrimony is out of place.

I know I would not be in order in replying to the Parliamentary Secretary now, I can do this at another stage, in relation to the development or otherwise of the Irish language. I am simply again appealing to the Taoiseach to leave the word which was in the 1951 Act in the present Bill.

If one wanted to be very critical I suppose the 1951 Act is not drafted that carefully. The 1951 Act says:

The expression "the Council" means the body established by section 2 of this Act.

Then it goes on to say:

On the passing of this Act there shall by virtue of this subsection stand established a body to be called An Chomhairle Ealaíon to fulfil the functions assigned to them by or under this Act.

The next sentence is:

The council shall, by such means and in such manner as they think fit,

(a) stimulate public interest in the arts,

It is not particularly well drafted because it does not specifically differentiate between one phraseology and the other.

I do not regard it as a matter of the utmost importance, I am simply appealing to the Taoiseach to leave the situation as it is.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 13, as amended, agreed to.
Title agreed to.

Tuesday next.

We can get it to the Seanad next week if I get the remaining Stages today.

Will it go to the Seanad next week?


Agreed to take remaining Stages today.

Bill reported with amendments and received for final consideration.
Question proposed; "That the Bill do now pass."

I should like to thank Deputies for their co-operation and to say that I will consider very carefully when it comes to appointing the members of An Chomhairle Ealaíon the points made by Deputies on all sides and I will bear in mind particularly the aspects referred to by Deputies when they suggested that the Arts generally, and included in that, of course, all branches of the Arts, should be considered exclusively, by themselves, and divorced from politics, in so far as it is possible for politicians to divorce themselves from politics.

Can we submit a few names?

I will be glad to hear any.

May I sneak in a remark? I should like to pay a tribute to the outgoing director and Arts Council which I did not do but, indeed, it was not through lack of appreciation of what they have done.

The Deputy is quite in order.

Question put and agreed to.