National Cultural Institutions Bill, 1996: Report Stage.

Amendment No. 1 is out of order.

Amendment No. 1 not moved.

Amendments Nos. 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 and 56 are related to amendment No. 2. Amendments Nos. 8 and 9 are alternatives to amendment No. 7 and amendment No. 31 is an alternative to amendment No. 30. All may be taken together, by agreement.

I move amendment No. 2:

In page 6, line 35, to delete "of the Board".

These amendments replace the phrase "objects in the collection of the Board" with the phrase "objects in the collection of the Museum" or "objects in the collection of the Library" as the case may be. Deputies Quill and de Valera suggested on Committee Stage that references to "in the collection of the Board" should be substituted by the phrase "in the collection of the Museum" and I agreed to table the necessary drafting arrangements on Report Stage.

As I said on Committee Stage, the relevant phrases in the Bill do not constitute ownership because the ownership of objects is not being transferred in the Bill. In general, the references were to the board as that is the corporate body being established. However, I have no difficulty with the alternative approach suggested by Deputies Quill and de Valera, while noting that a similar approach — which I think the Deputies accept — needs to be adopted in the case of the Library for the sake of consistency.

While changing the emphasis from the board to the institution concerned entails the need for many drafting amendments, I have been persuaded there are advantages in making this change. Accordingly, this is what is proposed in the relevant amendments. I ask, therefore, the Deputies to accept my amendments in place of their own.

I thank the Minister for taking the spirit of our amendments on board because we are at one on these very important definitions of ownership. The distinction must be made between the Museum's collection and the function of the board. The ownership of the collections of the National Museum and National Library is obviously vested in the State. The Bill, therefore, envisages the creation of a new expert administrative arm of the State which will have exclusive responsibility for maintaining, managing, controlling, protecting, preserving, recording, researching and enlarging the collection of museum heritage objects. It does not purport to vest ownership of the collection in the proposed new board, which is the essence of our discussion. The ownership of the Museum's collection of heritage objects is vested in the State and not in the board. I greatly welcome the Minister's amendments because they tidy up what we all agree is a very important principle.

We are agreed on this. It lends clarity.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 3:

In page 6, line 42, to delete "in its collection" and substitute "in the collection of the Library".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 4:

In page 7, line 12, to delete "of the Board".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 5:

In page 7, line 13, to delete "day" and substitute "date".

Reluctantly I cannot accept the amendment, which replaces the word "day" with the word "date" so that the establishment day of each institution would be the establishment date. I have been advised by the parliamentary draftsman that the word "day" is the more adequate word for a provision of this nature and needs to be retained; it is more specific than the word "date".

I moved the amendment because I believed it was more accurate to use the word "date". However, I accept the Minister's advice.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 6:

In page 9, to delete lines 25 to 39.

Acceptance of this amendment involves the deletion of section 10 from the Bill. Section 10 is a core section, providing for the establishment of the museum and library boards on the respective establishment days to perform the functions set out for them in the Bill. Debate on this was exhausted on Committee Stage while there was a discussion on the principle on Second Stage.

I have said enough in favour of the establishment of boards for the National Museum and the National Library. I do not have to defend them on the basis of so much academic and objective support. An initiative of this kind should have been take perhaps 70 years ago following Professor Bodkin's report on the museum.

Most, if not all, national museums and library institutions in the developed world are run by boards under some kind of legislative framework. While I commend the public service ethos of our civil servants, some of the requirements involved in the Civil Service are insufficient and inappropriate and sometimes inflexible in the running of cultural institutions. It can hardly be preferred that Ministers and civil servants should continue to be formally responsible for every artefact in the case of the museum, and of every book that is to be collected, lent or disposed of in the case of the library.

Nobody with an interest in the museum or library could prefer that the strictest of staffing restrictions should continue to apply to them or that these institutions should continue to have all the obligations of estate but without the option as independent entities to forge other avenues of support from the public. It must be understood that providing large amounts of public money to the museum and library for major capital projects can only be justified if, at the same time, modern, relevant and coherent governing structures with flexibility are put in place. The ongoing process of regeneration, indeed the long-term survival into the 21st century towards which this legislation is directed, requires that the necessary governing structures are put in place now. That is what is being proposed in the Bill.

I disagree in principle with the Minister's proposal regarding the establishment of the boards. The Government has a penchant for the establishment of boards. While we accept that change is needed to the structures of our cultural institutions, there is no purpose in establishing structures unless they are funded. The unions representing the workers in these institutions have expressed a number of reservations with regard to the new situation in which they will find themselves. Given these arguments, I must press the amendment.

Those civil servants involved with our cultural institutions throughout the years have done excellent work. Our failure to create modern institutions should not be blamed on them, rather it has perhaps arisen because of lack of funding.

We are agreed that insufficient funding has been made available to the cultural institutions over a number of years. However, every outside and objective academic study on them has recommended a model like that which is proposed. While we disagree on this, the three issues go hand in hand. There is a need for good legislation and modern flexible, institutional innovation which must then be supported by resources. That is what is required, and it does not reflect on those who have gone before.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be deleted stand."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 62; Níl 51.

  • Ahearn, Theresa.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Bhamjee, Moosajee.
  • Bhreathnach, Niamh.
  • Boylan, Andrew.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Bree, Declan.
  • Broughan, Thomas.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Carey, Donal.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Connor, John.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Coveney, Hugh.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowley, Frank.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • Dukes, Alan.
  • Durkan, Bernard.
  • Finucane, Michael.
  • Fitzgerald, Brian.
  • Fitzgerald, Eithne.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheehan, P.J.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Gallagher, Pat (Laoighis-Offaly).
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Higgins, Jim.
  • Higgins, Michael.
  • Hogan, Philip.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Kenny, Seán.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McDowell, Derek.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Mitchell, Jim.
  • Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.
  • Mulvihill, John.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael (Limerick-East).
  • O'Keeffe, Jim.
  • O'Shea, Brian.
  • O'Sullivan, Toddy.
  • Owen, Nora.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, John.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Upton, Pat.

Níl

  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Brennan, Matt.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Browne, John (Wexford).
  • Burke, Raphael.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Clohessy, Peadar.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Flood, Chris.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Fox, Mildred.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Hughes, Séamus.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Keogh, Helen.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lawlor, Liam.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McDaid, James.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • Moffatt, Tom.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Batt.
  • O'Keeffe, Ned.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Desmond.
  • O'Rourke, Mary.
  • Quill, Máirín.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Woods, Michael.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies J. Higgins and B. Fitzgerald; Níl, Deputies D. Ahern and Callely.
Question declared carried.
Amendment declared lost.
Debate adjourned.