Arts Bill 2002: Report Stage (Resumed).

I move amendment No. 18:

In page 5, between lines 22 and 23, to insert the following:

"(7) A direction under this section shall be expressed to be given pursuant to this section".

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 19:

In page 5, line 24, to delete "Local Government Act, 2001" and substitute "Act of 2001".

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 20 not moved.

I move amendment No. 21:

In page 5, line 28, to delete "may" and substitute "shall".

The Minister mentioned that local authorities play a very important role in promoting the arts at regional and local level. Most local authorities now have a five year arts plan. They are also funded through the Arts Act, some more than others. They are becoming the engine for local and community arts development. I know, for example, that the arts officer in Kerry County Council has a very small budget but nevertheless is doing very important work. As a result of such initiative and enthusiasm, the arts are flourishing in Kerry. The purpose of the amendment is to give a commitment that local authorities should provide such financial or other assistance as they consider appropriate to such persons in respect of such activities and projects undertaken for those purposes. In my experience, the word "may" leaves matters very open. The word "shall" is more prescriptive, and would mean more of an onus on local authorities. Some local authorities, including the members, are extremely generous towards the arts.

Debate adjourned.