Written Answers. - Abbey Theatre Players.

Liz McManus

Question:

24 Ms McManus asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands the position in relation to her discussions with the Abbey Players Company concerning a redundancy package; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19720/98]

The Deputy will be aware that in accordance with the conclusions of the tripartite discussions between my Department, An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the National Theatre Society in 1997, the National Theatre Society Limited submitted detailed proposals for a severance package to An Chomhairle Ealaíon earlier this year. An chomhairle examined the proposal and made a recommendation to my Department.

The current position is that no additional Exchequer moneys can be made available to provide funding for the proposed package. The funding of any package the society decides to offer must therefore be examined by the society in the context of its own resources and its annual grant from An Chomhairle Ealaíon. In this regard I have advised an chomhairle that my Department would be prepared, if requested, to assist in exploring possible funding options within the constraints of existing financial resources.

The position has been communicated formally to An Chomhairle Ealaíon and was also outlined to the annual general meeting of the National Theatre Society Limited on 26 September by my proxy who attended the meeting on my behalf.