Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - European City of Culture Year Programme.


asked the Taoiseach the stage which has been reached in the planning process for Dublin's activities as European City of Culture in 1991; and with whom the responsibility lies for drawing up this programme which has such implications for Ireland's international standing.

I am at present giving careful consideration to proposals relating to the planning and execution of this programme. I intend to make an announcement very shortly.

I am very surprised that the Taoiseach has not yet decided on the answers to the questions I asked, which were, what stage has been reached in the planning process and with whom does the responsibility lie? Is the Taoiseach aware that Glasgow which has been nominated as European City of Culture 1990 has been planning for four years for this event and has already announced its programme? Is it the Taoiseach's intention that a chief organiser with expertise in the Arts and in administration would be appointed very soon to head up this programme which could do an enormous amount for Dublin's standing culturally and internationally and in particular in regard to tourism?

The Deputy will be aware that different cities have approached this matter in different ways and have awarded a different priority to it. The Deputy referred to Glasgow but I noticed that some press reports have been very critical of the preparations in Glasgow. I am not sure whether these criticisms are valid but we have studied what different cities have done and very soon we will be putting our own effort together. The idea of a person being centrally responsible is a very good one.

As one of the people responsible for launching European Cultural Year along with my good friend Melina Mercouri and others, may I ask the Taoiseach if he has studied the programmes carried out by Athens, Florence and Amsterdam and if is he aware that the size of the budget we are talking about for a similar manifestation here is in the region of £7 million, or perhaps £10 million?

Glasgow spent £35 million.

I am talking about the minimum figure required for any worthwhile manifestation here. Between £7 million and £10 million would be required. Are we willing to commit ourselves to that kind of figure? Is it the Taoiseach's intention to draw up a programme across the spectrum of the Arts as distinct from any individual section?

I have no hesitation in saying that we could not contemplate a figure of that size, certainly not from the Exchequer whatever may be possible from commercial concerns through sponsorship. There is an enormous difference between the budgets the different cities have put forward, certainly there is no coherence in the manner in which the different cities, already nominated, have approached it or the amounts of money put up for it.

May I——

I am sorry, Deputy, but I want to call Deputy McCartan for a final supplementary on this question.

Can the Taoiseach tell us if, in the announcement to be made shortly, any reference will be made to a budget for whichever organisation will be given responsibility for organising the event?

I should think that would be a fairly essential element.

Let me ask one final supplementary. Is the Taoiseach aware that there was movement in the Council of Ministers of Culture to get EC funding of some sort for this event and that did not come through until recently? Will the Taoiseach be pursuing this with a view to augmenting the budget available?

The EC contribution was not very magnaminous.