Ceisteanna-Questions. Oral Answers. - National Museum Geological Collection.

Patrick McCartan

Question:

3 Mr. McCartan asked the Taoiseach if he will give an assurance that the geological collection of the National Museum will go on full display during the Year of Culture in Dublin 1991; the reason this collection has not been on display since the 1950s; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

An exhibition of geological material from the national collection was on display during 1989 at the National Museum premises in Merrion Row. Prior to that period, the exhibition travelled to a number of exhibition centres throughout the country.

A more extensive and representative exhibition is currently being prepared which will incorporate material which has not been seen publicly since the 1950s. It is planned that this exhibition will open later this year and will continue during 1991 as part of the Dublin City of Culture programme.

The policy of the museum is to mount such exhibitions while transferring the full collection from Daingean to accommodation at Beggars Bush which is being specially adapted and where scholars can have access to the collection in due course.

I welcome the Taoiseach's positive response to my question. I take it that he agrees the geological collection, in particular, is of educational value to our schoolgoing population. Will the Taoiseach indicate when he expects the collection to be put on permanent display for future years?

As I have said, we are hoping to open the exhibition later this year and it will continue through 1991 as part of the Cultural Capital of Europe programme. We will have to wait and see what we decide after that.

Can I take it that the collection will be on display in the Natural History Museum and that this will herald the opening of that entire premises which will be adequately staffed for the year 1991 at least?

The question of where the exhibition will be displayed has yet to be decided but it will open later this year, continue through 1991 and then be in Beggars Bush.

Deputy Ted Nealon is offering.

May I ask the Taoiseach if in addition to the Beggars Bush premises which will make the collection available to scholars there is any intention of having a permanent exhibition centre for this collection?

No, not at the moment but that could be considered.