Death of Former Member. - European City of Culture: Motion.

I move:

That Seanad Éireann welcomes the designation of Dublin by the EC as European City of Culture for 1991.

I would like to thank the Leader of the House for deciding to take this motion this evening. It would be fair to say that this House has always given special attention to the cultural affairs of our nation so, in that respect, it is probably timely that we should take this motion this evening. The motion is non-contentious in nature and I hope that the debate will be constructive. I felt I sensed a negative approach on the Order of Business today when this matter was mentioned so I would appeal to Senators not to be negative about the motion. As I said, it is not supposed to be contentious and I would appeal to Senators not to highlight our national inferior complex which seems to involve giving out about everything and anything and generally being negative about all sorts of things. In short, I would love the debate to be positive.

Firstly, I would like to outline why Dublin is worthy of the title of European City of Culture. Dublin is a beautiful city in European terms, nobody can deny that, and it is, in fact, oozing with culture. Dublin as a city over 1,000 years old had a fine history and culture. We can boast a wide variety of influences: Irish, Scandinavian, Norman and British, to name but a few. The writer H.B. Morton once wrote, and I quote: "The three great feminine capitals are Paris, Vienna and Dublin. The first two have all the lure of woman and the last has all her charm and spite". Vincent Caprani wrote that Dublin is not to be flirted with or taken too lightly. Dublin is a mature beauty, all right, maybe a teeny bit on the spiteful side, but certainly charming with thepersona of a mother. This woman, however, has altered in looks and character with the passage of time and so for better or worse Dublin is th European City of Culture in 1991.

We have a lot to celebrate this year. Dublin is the city of James Joyce, the city of Oscar Wilde, of J.M. Synge, of Brendan Behan and of Seán O'Casey, to name but a few. Dublin is also a city that can claim three Nobel Prize winners for literature. We are a university city, with TCD celebrating 400 years of history this year. We have a fine architectural heritage to display and some of the most noted libraries and museums in the world.

Dublin is a modern city with a large, young population. It has a great literary and cultural tradition. It is a city of music and rock, with stars like Sinead O'Connor and U2, now known throughout the world. The famous Dubliner, Christy Brown, was the inspiration for the Oscar winning film "My Left Foot". Above all, however, Dublin is intimate. It is human and it is friendly. We do not take over-selves seriously in Dublin. This can be seen in the 600 pubs throughout the city. Our pub culture is world renowned and it is highlighted by a ready, dry wit to demolish any pretention that anybody may have. What I am saying simply is that Dublin is a true European capital and city of culture.

I now propose to deal with the whole question of the rejuvenation of the capital city. A lot of rejuvenation has taken place over the last two or three years. As Dublin enters the nineties we have every reason to be confident. After several decades of gloom and decay, the conditions are now right for the opening up of a new era of progress and development. There is now a widespread feeling of confidence and optimism in our capital city, brought about in no small way as a result of the Millennium celebrations in 1988.

There has been a restoration of civic pride by Dubliners in Dublin. Something has emerged in the city, a feeling that at last things are improving, a feeling that we are at last getting our act together. Business is good and for the first time in a long time success is not a dirty word and success can be celebrated. There are many reasons for this. Dublin Corporation has also contributed to this. Their improvements in the physical environment of the city is one factor. Streets are being pedestrianised. There has been a comprehensive programme of repaving and public lighting improvements. I would draw the attention of the House to O'Connell Street, for example. You all recall the condition of O'Connell Street two or three years ago. That has now changed.

Derelict sites are being cleared. New parks are being developed. Georgian style public lighting has been installed in key areas of the city. Government financial incentives have also helped and have brought about a dramatic rise in investment in centre city areas, for example, the Liffey Quays and the Custom House docks area. The financial incentives have also brought about investment in areas outside Dublin, places like Tallaght, and so on. All this is good I am sure you will agree. However, we should fully utilise and maximise these achievements and build on them for the future.

I would now like to examine past cities of culture and to see what they have achieved. The concept, of course, was the idea of the Greek Minister for Culture, Melina Mercouri. The concept of designation and the concept of the European City of Culture is in fact a very nebulous one. The first city of culture was, of course, Athens, and their celebrations were very low key. Florence came next and they, too, did nothing particularly special in 1986. Berlin concentrated on methods of bringing about urban renewal; their emphasis was on the whole question of urban rejuvenation and urban renewal. Paris was another European city of culture and they simply linked their designation with the bicentennial celebrations of the French Revolution. Glasgow had the title last year, and I had the honour to attend the opening ceremony of the Glasgow year in March 1990. They made their celebrations part of a long term strategy. Their long term strategy was, and still is, to improve their once undoubted poor image and they utilised 1990 to contribute to that and to bring about an improvement in the city's image. It would be fair to say that they are indeed making great strides in that regard, given that their neighbour is Edinburgh. So we come to Dublin and what should Dublin achieve. What should our objectives be?

As I said already, the concept of a European City of Culture is a very nebulous one. There are no set rules as to what such a year involves. The EC have not laid down strict guidelines on what should be done when a city is fortunate enough to be designated European City of Culture. The first point that should be made in this regard is that Dublin is in reality a cultural city. It has a rich culture. I say that following my comparisons with the other cities that have had this title. We do not need to create an image. We have a rich culture. We have the goods, so to speak, so we are not in the business of image-making. I would suggest, therefore, that the year should be one of celebration and should be reflective. We should celebrate what we have and then build on our artistic achievements. The year must be a catalyst for new cultural endeavours. We should celebrate the year in our own way and in our own style. I would like to highlight that.

We Irish have a distinctive style. We have a distinctive flavour and we do things in our way. This, for example, was seen when we conducted the EC Presidency in this country and in many other international events, the Eurovision Song Contest, and so forth. We do things well and we have a good reputation throughout Europe. It is worth highlighting why 1991 is an appropriate year for Dublin to be European City of Culture. For the record, there are several anniversaries being celebrated this year. TCD is celebrating its fourth centenary. We have the 200th anniversary of the death of Mozart. We have the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Custom House. 1991 involves the 50th anniversary of the death of James Joyce. We also have the 800th anniversary of the opening of St. Patrick's Cathedral and last, but by no means least, we have the anniversary of Charles Stuart Parnell's death. It is interesting to mention as an aside that the current Lord Mayor of Dublin, Michael Donnelly, has commemorated in particular this anniversary of Parnell's death by resurrecting an old portrait of Parnell and installing it in the Mansion House, in perfect splendour. All these anniversaries should, of course, be celebrated.

It should also be mentioned that 1991 involves celebrations in Limerick and Belfast. Belfast are in the business of image-making this year and have brought forward a programme of events to celebrate the year. Limerick, of course, is celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Treaty. The first thing we should do in this House tonight is send good wishes to those two cities. I hope that this year will bring us closer to those cities, given our common interests, and also improve relations between North and South. Above all, however, we should have the objective of strengthening our European cultural identity. We call ourselves the young Europeans and 1991 can be seen as an important link between our EC Presidency last year and the completion of the Single European Market next year. The year should make us more Europeorientated and bring us into contact with the cultures of Europe while highlighting our cultural identity. This year will open up Dublin and Ireland to the cultures of Europe and this is to be welcomed.

There are also economic objectives. Bord Fáilte and Dublin Tourism are very anxious to attract a large number of visitors to our city. That will be realised, particularly around the time of Bloomsday which, of course, is now a big international event, as I am sure Senator Norris realises. We need also to provide entertainment for our citizens. We need to enjoy ourselves. We want to sample the best that Europe has to offer in the way of theatre and all forms of art. We look forward to many cultural visits to the city during the year. It is important also that we would simply enjoy ourselves this year.

There are many more material objectives which we should look at. Already we have had the opening of the Civic Gallery of Modern Art. We look forward to the opening of the Writers' Museum in Parnell Square and also the Irish Museum of Modern Art in the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham. All these are very welcome developments. Later on, in May, we will have the formal launching of the restored Custom House. Of course, Gandon and the Custom House are synonymous with Dublin. That too, will allow us time to reflect and celebrate our architectural heritage.

It would also be very important this year to develop a Community arts programme. Dublin is not just a centre city but is made up of many communities in places like Coolock, Darndale, Tallaght, Blanchardstown, Clondalkin, Finglas and so on. It is made up of many neighbourhood communities and they, too, have to celebrate the year and come forward with community arts. That is anoother nebulous concept but I believe that the company involved in promoting the year will give that a priority and encourage the promotion of the arts in the communities where it needs to be encouraged.

There will also be physical improvements to the city this year. There are plans for the making of a modern street in the Liberties area and we should also look at what is happening in the Temple Bar area. I feel very happy about what is happening in relation to the Temple Bar. When I was Lord Mayor of Dublin, and I know we have one of my predecessors here — Senator Hederman — I set up a special Temple Bar Development Committee. It was chaired by the Lord Mayor and made recommendations to the Government and those recommendations have now been acted upon. Two property development companies have been established. One is being formally launched tomorrow by the Taoiseach and it would be fair to say that incentives are promised in the future and further legislation is also promised.

This will be one of the major achievements for 1991, the creation of our own real left bank in Dublin. It is happening and 1991 has been the catalyst for that development. We can see how the year can bring about a reflection of what we have achieved and act as a catalyst to decide what we can achieve for the future.

Will the document support the Hirschfeld Centre which started the whole Temple Bar before anyone else heard or even knew of its existence.

Senator Norris will excuse my ignorance. He has pointed out a fact of which I was unaware but, no doubt, he will deal with it in his contribution. Senator Norris will welcome the opening of our film centre, or rather the initiation of the renovation later on in June. Things are happening in that area and that is all to be welcomed.

Above all, however, 1991 is going to be what we make it. There are some 400 different events taking place during the year and they, too, will be enjoyed by the citizens of Dublin. As I said, we will do things in our own style, in our own way. One thing that should be remembered is that anything and everything that happens in 1991 in connection with the European City of Culture is a plus for the arts.

Of course, there have been critics of what is happening in relation to 1991 and I would be very naive to think that these critics will not surface here tonight. The criticisms which have been levelled about plans and preparations I am sure will be raised here tonight. The one question which is raised again and again is that of finance. On that score, I know from my own experience that the Millennium was run on a shoestring. There was less public money available for the Millennium that is now available for 1991 and the European City of Culture. Of course, there is the key core funding, the national lottery funding, running in the region of £2 to £3 million.

One good thing about this whole development, and it also occurred during the Millennium year, is that the private sector is now coming forward in a partnership with the local authorities and with Government and it is hoped private sponsorship will raise between £1 and £2 million this year to carry out the activities and to develop our plans in relation to 1991. That is a very welcome development in that the private sector is not leaving everything to Government. Private business feels that it is worthwhile investing in the arts and culture and the city generally and that is something which should be lauded. Many other agencies have come forward with funding also, including the EC, Bord Fáilte and the local authorities. If you were to include also the many capital projects which are coming onstream this year, which Glasgow did in their funding calculations, then the funding for 1991 comes to many millions of pounds.

We must have a sense of priority in relation to funding and spending. I do not think the general public would welcome spending millions of pounds in one year on arts and culture when there are other areas which need funding also, including health, education and social welfare. I think we should bear in mind that finance is not in abundant supply in this country. We have to get our priorities right and we have achieved a balance in relation to public funding for the arts for 1991 in Dublin.

The other comparison is always made with Glasgow and what they achieved. This is also a criticism of what we are trying to achieve here. As I said already, Glasgow had different aims and different objectives. They were trying to impove their image. We are doing something different. We are celebrating and reflecting. If we look at the debate which is now taking place in Glasgow following their year, we can see that it was not quite the success and role model we should have copied. Time has disclaimed the view that Glasgow was doing a much better job than we were going to do.

There is the question of planning and whether we planned the year right. I have every confidence in the Dublin Promotions Organisation Limited. They are a group which represent the key interests in the city from an economic and cultural point of view and they are the same group who organised the Millennium celebrations. I am sorry to deal on the negative there but it would be important to answer the criticisms that are being levelled at this stage.

Dublin is indeed a great city. We have a great artistic talent. The city merits the title and, as I have said, everything that happens in 1991 is a plus for the arts. We have to grasp the opportunities as they present themselves to us. We should celebrate what we have, we should enjoy ourselves, we should contemplate and we should preserve and plan for the future.

The other main target we should consider is to plan for the arts and culture for the future on a city-wide basis. In association with the Arts Council, the corporation and the Government, we should plan during the year what we want to achieve in future years and bring together this year all interest groups and others involved in the arts and culture to do that. I know the Arts Councils are setting about the task, and that is to be welcomed. It would be another major achievement for 1991.

I am delighted to move the motion. I hope it will not be contentious. I know other Senators may raise other issues and I look forward to listening to the debate.

Cuirim fáilte roimh an Aire Stáit chuig an díospóireacht seo. Is maith liom é a fheiceáil sa Chathaoir nuair atáimid ag caint faoi rudaí a bhaineann leis an gcultúr.

Táimidne, tá mé a cheapadh, ar an séú cathair san Eoraip atá roghnaithe ó thaobh chúrsaí de, agus caithfidh mé a rá gur thug an Seanadóir O hEochaidh an-chuntas agus an-chur síos go deo ar na himeachtaí éagsúla cultúrtha atá ar siúl, agus beartaithe, i mBaile Átha Cliath i rith na bliana seo. Bhí liosta mór fada aige faoi sin ach, tar éis a bheith ag éisteacht leis, tá an-díomá orm nár luaigh sé an focal "Gaeilge" ó thús deireadh. Níor labhair sé oiread is focal amháin faoin gcultúr is ársa, faoin gcultúr is mó agus is suntasaí dá bhfuil againn, sin é an cultúr Gaelach agus an Ghaeilge mar chuid den chultúr sin.

Bhí ainm Bhaile Átha Cliath, ar ndóigh, in airde againn thíos faoin tír mar "the Pale", mar a tugadh air i mBéarla, go raibh an cultúr díbrithe as Baile Átha Cliath agus go raibh fíor chultúr na tíre lonnaithe faoin dtuath agus ar chósta thiar na hEireann. Tá súil agam n-éireoidh go maith leis an gceiliúradh seo atá beartaithe agus go ndéanfaidh sé rud éigin ar son an chultúir. Ach, maidir liomsa, ar chaoi ar bith, mar fhear atá tagtha aniar, caithfidh mé a rá go fírinneach gur beag eolas nó tuairisc a bhí le fáil, agus is beag impact atá déanta faoi láthair ag an bhliain chomórtha seo i mBaile Atha Cliath. Cuirfidh mé geall le duine ar bith sa Teach seo, dá gcuirfí ceist ar aon duine in iarthar na hÉireann faoi imeachtaí cultúrtha Bhaile Átha Cliath sa bhliain seo 1991 nach mbeadh tuairim dá laghad acu céard faoi a rabhamar ag caint.

Nach dona an rud é, agus ceiliúradh á dhéanamh ar chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath mar ionad lárnach cultúrtha na tíre seo, nach bhfuil a fhios againn céard atá ar bun. Labhair an Seanadóir ar ball agus dúirt sé go raibh sé sásta go ndéanfadh lucht cumarsáide jab réasúnta maith maidir lena chur ar a súile don phobal i gcoitinne céard a bhí ar bun acu ó thaobh imeachtaí de. Ach, go dtí seo — agus tá an tríú cuid den bhiain caite cheana féin — is ar éigean a bheadh a fhios againn go bhfuil a leithéid de rud ann mar chathair chultúrtha na hEorpa. Anois, d'iarr an Seanadóir orainn gan a bheith cáinteach, gan a bheith ag caitheamh anuas ar an iarracht seo atá á déanamh. Níl sé i gceist agamsa, agus ní hé mo mhian é, bheith ag caitheamh anuas air, ach ba chóir go mbeimis, mar a déarfá, ag iarraidh ár gcuid prióireachtaí a bheith i gceart againn. D'fheicfí domsa, mar Éireannach — i mbliain chultúrtha seo Bhaile Átha Cliath, mar chathair Eorpach — go mbeadh an teanga chun tosaigh sa liosta sin.

B'fhéidir nach n-aontódh an Seanadóir ná lucht eagraithe na bliana liom; níl mé ach ag nochtadh mo bharúla faoi. Níl aon rud ráite ag an Seanadóir sa chaint a rinne sé a thugann uchtach ar bith dom go bhfuil aon iomrá ar an chultúr is ársa agus is saibhre dá bhfuil againn, an teanga Ghaeilge, i gcomóradh na bliana seo. Inseoidh mé don Seanad cén fáth, mar chuaigh feidhmeannach de chuid Bhord na Gaeilge — eagraíocht Stáit faoi Roinn na Gaeltachta — chun cainte le feidhmeannaigh chomóradh na bliana cultúrtha seo agus chuir siad moltaí faoina mbráid, moltaí suntasacha a dhéanfadh an-leas ar bhealach simplí lena thaispeáint go raibh an ghné sin den chultúr beo beathach sa tír. Mar shampla, mhol siad go mbeadh taispeántas ar láthair speisialta i gcomhair na bliana a léireodh stair na Gaeilge, ach níor glacadh leis an moladh. Moladh freisin go mbeadh oícheanta ceoil agus filíochta ar siúl sa Chafé Gorm. Baineann daoine, is cosúil, sult as a bheith ag éisteacht le daoine ag aithris filíochta, bíodh sí i nGaeilge, i mBéarla nó i dteanga ar bith eile. Tá rud ar an dul seo ar siúl sa Chafé Gorm le tamall anuas, agus freastal maith air.

Moladh go mbeadh oíche cheoil nó fhilíochta ar siúl uair amháin in aghaidh na seachtaine i rith na bliana comórta sa Chafé Gorm. Ar a laghad ar bith d'fhéadfaí seo a fhógairt le go mbeadh a fhios ag daoine cén áit a bhfuil fíorthobar cultúrtha le blaiseadh agus le feiceáil, ach níor glacadh leis seo. Labhair an Seanadóir ansin faoi na scríbhneoirí móra cáiliúla, Synge, O'Casey agus na daoine eile a raibh clú orthu i mBaile Átha Cliath. Tá an ceart aige agus molaim é dá bharr sin. Is ceart, cinnte, go mbeadh áit speisialta acu siúd in aon chomóradh atá á dhéanamh againn ó thaobh cultúir de, ach ba cheart a chur ar a súile do dhaoine gur mhol Bord na Gaeilge go mbeadh féile sheachtaine ann in ómós scríbhneoirí na Gaeilge, agus go háirithe scríbhneoirí ar nós mhuintir Uí Neachtain, Baile Atha Cliath a shaothraigh sa seachtú haois déag. B'fhéidir nach bhfuil mórán eolais ann futhu ach nárbh iontach an deis é sin i rith na bliana seo, chomh maith le Synge, O'Casey agus Behan, agus chuile dhuine eile, go dtaispeánfaimis ár meas ar chlann Uí Neachtain as Baile Átha Cliath a bhí dílis don Ghaeilge, a labhair agus a scríobh as Gaeilge, go mbeadh seiminéar ann futhu i rith na bliana seo.

Mar a dúirt mé, níl focal, go bhfios domsa ar chaoi ar bith, faoin nGaeilge, faoi labhairt na Gaeilge, faoi scríbhneoirí na Gaeilge nó faoi lucht drámaíochta na Gaeilge. Moladh freisin go mbeadh rud speisialta ann do pháistí na cathrach seo agus páistí lasmuigh di a thiocfadh chun na cathrach, páistí a bhainfeadh sult agus taitneamh as ceol Gaelach, sceitsí beaga as Gaeilge, agus mar sin de. Is cinnte freisin go mbainfeadh na cuairteoirí ó thíortha thar lear sult as a leithéid freisin agus gurbh fheasach dóibh go raibh ár gcultúr féin againn. Is é an rud iontach faoi seo uilig — agus ba mhaith liom seo a rá leis an Seanadóir a bhí ag caint ar ball faoi mhaoiniú na n-imeachtaí seo uilig — go raibh Bord na Gaeilge féin sásta cúnamh fial flaithiúil airgid a chur ar fáil chun na rudaí seo a chur chun cinn agus é a chur sa chaoi nach mbeadh aon chaiteachas ar an Stát, ach, faraor géar, níor glacadh leis sin. Is trua liom nár glacadh leis agus is trua liom go gcaithfidh mé coiste eagraithe an cheiliúrtha a cháineadh anocht.

Bhí rud beag simplí eile ann. Mar shampla, tá logo deas acu ansin, Dublin, European City of Culture ar aghaidh an logo i mBéarla agus an Ghaeilge ar a chúl, backstage, rud a léiríonn, dar liomsa, an intinn chultúrtha atá taobh thiar den brochure álainn atá curtha i dtoll a chéile. Bhí moladh an-mhaith ag Bord na Gaeilge go mbeadh logo dá theangach ann, rud a thabharfadh le fios don chuairteoir sa chathair le haghaidh na hócáide speisialta seo go bhfuil dhá theanga againn, Gaeilge agus Béarla, a thabharfadh a háit cheart dár dteanga féin. Rud beag simplí, a dúirt mé, ach rud a dhéanfadh maitheas dúinn féin i súile na gcuairteoirí, go léireofaí go bhfuil teanga dár gcuid féin againn. B'fhéidir go gceapfadh cuid de na Seanadóirí nach bhfuil ar siúl agam ach seafóid agus mé ag caint ar rud beag mar logo dátheangach nach gcosnódh oiread agus pingin amháin sa bhreis mar bhí Bord na Gaeilge sásta an logo a dhearadh ar a gcostas féin. B'fhéidir go gceapfaí freisin go bhfuil luí róláidir agam leis an gceist seo, ach, i dtaca liom féin de, is é an chéad chloch ar mo phaidrín é an Ghaeilge, ó thaobh cultúir de, agus d'fhéadfainn go leor a rá faoi céard is cultúr ann. Ach is í buaic ár gcultúir sna ceantair Ghaeltachta ná an teanga agus, dar liomsa, ba cheart go mbeadh an teanga Ghaeilge le feiceáil go hard agus go suntasach ar imeachtaí den chineál atá á n-eagrú againn i mbliain seo chomóradh na cathrach mar chathair chultúrtha na hEorpa. Thairg Bord na Gaeilge don choiste eagraithe seo i mBaile Átha Cliath go ndéanfadh siad aistriúchán Gaeilge ar aon rud gur mhaith leo a dhéanamh i rith na bliana seo, ó thaobh preasagallamh agus mar sin de.

Mar fhocal scoir, tá siúl agam go n-éireoidh go maith leis an iarracht atá á déanamh ag an gcoiste eagraithe seo ach is trua liom nach bhfuil tagairt dá laghad ann don Ghaeilge.

I am delighted to speak in this debate on Dublin as the cultural capital of Europe. Could I just, in reply to an Seanadóir O'Foighil, tell him that it is not all that glum. In fact, myself and my colleague, Senator Ó Cúiv, have organised 50 children from Dublin's inner city to go to the Gaeltacht this summer. That is going to be sponsored by An Bord Gáis, one of their small but significant contributions towards culture in Dublin city and the country. The idea behind it is that they will study before they go, and while they are there, not only the language but the whole fabric of society and see how rural Ireland works. When they come back they will have classes continuing on until Christmas. We hope that it will be a big success. We are grateful to An Bord Gáis for coming up with the money.

Dublin enjoys the distinction of being designated European City of Culture 1991. Dublin is certainly equipped to bear such an identity because our city is steeped in cultural activity and awareness. Our literature, theatre, music and arts have attained a standard that ranks with the world's best and, what is more, our citizens are keenly aware of this and are lively in their appreciation. Dublin may be small as capital cities go but the quality of its talent is totally disproportionate to its size. Equally, we have the ability to organise and produce our talent. Dublin does not tolerate the second rate. We are our own best critics and to impress Dubliners in Dublin is the ultimate aim of all our creative people.

Being European City of Culture demands much more than favouring our elite and emphasising our world class achievements; it demands our embracing all the cultural achievements of our people. We are required to look at what is going on in our communities, among voluntary and amateur groups, and among those with ability and talent but perhaps lacking in encouragement and opportunity. This is why the programme of events in Dublin 1991 is all-encompassing. We have not failed to address the city itself either. We have focussed on the rejuvenation of charming enclaves like Temple Bar and the Blessington Street basin. We have encouraged public sculpture, for instance, and we have created forums for ideas and projects that otherwise might not get the airing or the space they deserve. In other words, we want to involve all aspects of the city in Dublin 1991.

Dublin has undergone dramatic changes in recent years. The success of the designated incentives have stimulated investment along the city quays and in the Christchurch area, not to mention the Custom House dock development. The new pedestrian areas around Grafton Street, Henry Street, Crown Alley, Merchant's Arch and the newly improved O'Connell Street, have brought new life and style to the city. Equally, new shop front designs have reinstated the character of our city's trading areas and with the renewal of old lamp standards, stone sets and paving stones we have a city centre of great visual appeal. The night time environment is enhanced by the trend towards floodlighting of buildings.

A recent but significant trend in Dublin is the number of people coming back to live in it. Six years ago we would not have seen any planning for people to live in the inner city, but in the last few years there has been a significant move towards people living in private accommodation in the inner city. We have seen building applications for, and buildings built on, the quays, both on the north and south sides of the city, the Custom House dock area, around Christchurch, and recently there was a very important planning application by the Gas Company for 1,500 houses around Grand Canal Dock. This is a very significant and important feature in the city. As has been mentioned already, the new plan for Temple Bar will be announced shortly and hopefully that will have a very significant impact on people living there. This is an important trend and will in the long term have a very great impact on the cultural aspects of the city, because if it is carried out as we are led to believe it is planned, it would be a Left Bank type of area and would be alive with young people and tourists, both living and working in that area.

I see Dublin '91 and our place as a European cultural capital as an opportunity to give ourselves credit where credit is due. We have a lot to be proud of and a lot to celebrate. We have a duty to be positive, as far as I am concerned, but that is not saying that we should ignore or turn a blind eye to things that need improvement, on the contrary. However, Dublin '91 is an occasion to promote our city — show off, so to speak — and to get the best out of ourselves. At any time Dublin is culturally a dynamic and vital place to live in. A great number of activities take place. RTE, the National Gallery, the National Theatre, the Concert Hall, the National Museum and the National Library all have plans for 1991. During the year happenings of particular interest will be the opening of the new Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Writers' Museum, the Custom House Birthday Party and the remarkable number of anniversaries, including, for example, the Easter Rising of 1916, which has already taken place, St. Patrick's Cathedral, James Joyce, Charles Stewart Parnell, Mozart, Vivaldi, etc. In addition to this, we look forward to displaying our treasures and a continuance of the significant environmental improvements which have transformed our city in recent years. On a personal note may I say particularly look forward to the May Day to Bloomsday period celebrating both a literary and spring festival of theatre. It strikes me that the theme May Day to Bloomsday should evoke virtually every conceivable artistic vibe in our cultural tradition.

The imaginative and stimulating programme being put forward by many organisations will enhance Dublin's reputation abroad and encourage visitors to see the city as a place of culture, present as well as past. For me the real success of Dublin 91 will hinge on the extent to which it catches the imagination of the people of the whole city. The culture of Dublin is as much about talk, wit and character as it is about writers, artists, musicians and architects. The essential purpose of the involvement in Dublin, city of culture, is to get the best out of ourselves and the city. For that reason plans are afoot for a full and imaginative community arts programme which will ensure that the arts are not the preserve of the temples of culture but are alive in all communities, making the city of culture a truly citywide cultural celebration. Dublin 91 has a community arts officer and has set aside a special fund to encourage initiatives among community art groups around the city. The city treasures are in a display in a unique Treasures of Dublin Exhibition. A further exciting innovation is the introduction of Writer's in Residence in the city's libraries, involving lectures, workshops and seminars for adults and children. This is in addition to the libraries programme, which will involve music, writing, exhibitions and special publications on Dublin.

Dublin Corporation propose to spend a further £1.25 million in 1991 in additional pedestrianisation and environmental works, which have done so much to raise the quality of life in Dublin's inner city. There are two further environmental proposals worthy of special mention. One which I have already mentioned is Temple Bar and some time ago the corporation produced a well received action plan. Smithfield is designated as one of the rejuvenation areas in the city's development plan and the planning department will produce a suitable action plan there. There is a welcome proposal for a sponsored architectural competition in conjunction with this. Another exciting proposal is the making of a modern street, the development of a corporation inner city site by a group of architects. This has been very well received and they are actively looking for private sponsorship at present.

You will take from what I have said that the character of Dublin as European city of culture in addition is being a celebration of the arts in the city will also be reflective and, above all, constructive, looking very much to the future of cultural life in Dublin at the beginning of a new decade and indeed towards the beginning of a new century. Dublin 91, European City of Culture, is both an honour and a challenge. We happily accept the honour, confident that with all our support we will also meet the challenge.

I listened with great interest and with great pleasure to Senator Haughey and Senator Ryan extol the virtues, benefits and all the goodies we were having in 1991 for Dublin as the European City of Culture. I was very proud when they listed off the great wealth, the plethora of events, happenings, good things in the city generally.

They were extremely comprehensive, they forgot nothing, if I might say in congratulating them on the way they spoke. They covered every aspect of all the good things that are happening in the city. I would like to add my support for this motion. I suppose everybody here welcomes Dublin's designation as a European city of culture. I think it would be very strange if anybody was to oppose the motion.

Senator Haughey referred to Glasgow and that perhaps everything had not turned out as well there as might have been expected. I do not know if Senator Haughey was in Glasgow during their designation as European City of Culture but I was over there and I looked into it in some depth because I was writing a couple of articles on their designation. I was enormously impressed with the renaissance which had taken place in Glasgow. I would like to feel that at the end of our year we will have as much to be proud of. I hope we will.

What I rather wonder is: what exactly is the purpose of this motion? What purpose is it serving to welcome the designation of Dublin as city of European culture? It is fairly obvious that we all welcome it. Is it for members of the Government benches in some way to give a litany of all the good things? Surely if things are as good as they are saying we can all see them. I never think it is necessary to go around proclaiming how wonderful it is. If it is so good can we not all go down and see these things?

I would like to ask what particularly is the purpose of this type of self-congratulation? Perhaps it is to make us feel proud of the city. I hope, if that is the case, that it will do so in some measure, but there are not very many of the public involved. There are five in the Public Gallery. Perhaps they will have heard something that they did not know before, but I do not imagine it is going to get out in a very extensive way to members of the public and in that in some way it is going to help augment pride in the city. If that was what it was for, I would greatly welcome it. I feel there is sometimes in Fianna Fáil, or perhaps in Dublin Corporation, an idea that if you keep saying things are good, people will believe they are good. The corporation some years ago introduced an "I love Dublin" campaign —"love" being represented by a heart — and everyone put "I love Dublin" stickers on their cars. The idea was that as a result of these posters and stickers people would love Dublin. I do not think that one person will love Dublin one jot more as a result of those stickers. If people see and experience things improving then perhaps they will love Dublin.

Undoubtedly the programme which is beautifully produced in this very glossy magazine is very extensive and impressive. I do not wish to suggest anything else. An excellent programme has been put together. It covers many aspects of the cultural life of this city, not perhaps all aspects but I will come to that point later on. Previous speakers referred to our great cultural diversity, literacy traditions, etc. It is right and proper that these should be developed in every way possible.

Dublin is the European city of culture and for that reason we must promote, as far as possible, those special aspects of our culture for which we are well known. Our literary background, famous writers and authors and our theatre immediately spring to mind. There are many other things, like the film festival. There is a great programme of artistic events which is worthwhile. Many specific events will be put on, concerts and so on, but I am not so sure from what I have heard of the extent to which the programme will reach into the community.

We depend on the private sector so much for promotion because the purse is small. The Government have not given much largesse. When they opted to take on this title — we were not obliged to take it on — they should then have thought about what it would cost. We are particularly indebted to groups such as those mentioned by Senator Ryan — the Dublin city treasures, the magnificent exhibition which is being facilitated by the Bank of Ireland, and Irish Life for sponsoring the Viking Adventure Centre. There are a range of private bodies involved and I thank them for their input. I would also like to say how much I appreciate, having a particular interest in architecture, that many fine 18th century buildings have been restored. A magnificent job has been done on Kilmainham. The Custom House is looking splendid and will be opened in the not-too-distant future. Some of us have not seen the Taoiseach's office but from what I hear it is splendid. I hope that one day I will have the opportunity to see it. Seventeen million pounds was spent on it and Senators should get the chance to see it. From the photographs I have seen it is delightful. I still question whether we are right to spend huge sums of money on individual buildings and then say finance is not available for other projects, but I do not begrudge the Taoiseach the £17 million he spent on his office. It was money well spent.

The Phoenix Park is looking remarkably well and is a great credit to the Office of Public Works. We have our own municipal gallery. Newman House is to be turned into an 18th century house. I could go on and on. I want to make it very clear that I am positive and enthusiastic about what is being done. I congratulate all those who have been involved in the organisation of this celebration because it could not happen without a great deal of hard work.

As the Senators here are city councillors, it would not be amiss to look at the role Dublin Corporation has played in what has happened to date in the city. Senator Haughey gave a very lengthy list of all the good things, as did Senator Ryan. He said that it was important to give credit where credit was due, but we must not turn a blind eye to the bad. I thought, ha, ha, here goes, we are now going to hear some of the things that he thinks might be improved.

It is very important to be positive and see the best in our city but if we pretend that everything is perfect and beautiful, that there is no need for any improvement and if we simply had a litany of how wonderful and beautiful it all was, it would not do us any good. It is a complete waste of time, not to put a tooth in it, to move such a motion and speak in the way those on the Government benches have spoken so far. I would like to throw in a few suggestions to rattle a few memories. Who here has spoken about the destruction of Wood Quay? Was that mentioned at any stage? Wood Quay which should have been one of the great cultural projects of this city was lost. It was not for want of effort on the part of the population at large or some members of Dublin Corporation. We heard mention of the writers' museum and I welcome more than anybody the fact that the house in Parnell Square is to be renovated and that at least two rooms will be opened for the writers' museum during this year. Why has some £2 million to be spent on that house? Why was it allowed to deteriorate? Who owned it? The VEC owned it, as they own many other buildings in this city. They have allowed them to decay in the most outrageous manner. Have they been called to account for that? So often it is public bodies, State bodies and semi-State bodies, who have been responsible for so much decay and dereliction in this city. Dublin is famous not only for all the things I mentioned earlier but also for its great architecture and its 18th century buildings.

It is mentioned in the programme that throughout Dublin derelict sites are being revitalised. Has anybody stopped to think why there are so many derelict sites in this city? In many instances, those derelict sites have been caused by the depredation of this city by Dublin Corporation. I have no compunction about saying that they caused more decay and dereliction than all the worst developers put together.

Dublin Corporation, for about 35 years, have not had proposals for road widening and new roads in this city. That has caused much damage to this city. If one takes a tour around the city, away from areas like Grafton Street, Dawson Street and O'Connell Street, one will see the damage that has been done.

In addition, we have a range of very important buildings. I will mention a few off the top of my head. No. 29 Clare Street, down at the bottom of the road here, a magnificent 18th Century house with a most outstanding interior, was allowed to fall down. No. 7 Bachelor's Walk, which my colleague Senator Norris mentioned was also allowed to fall down. No. 88 St. Stephen's Green, a very early 18th Century building, which has unique wood panelling throughout the building in extraordinary good condition, is either falling down or has been taken down. Something quite unique has been lost. There are many houses in Lower Baggot Street. Across the road from here, in Upper Merrion Street, there is a row of magnificent houses — I believe the Duke of Wellington was born in one of them — which are decaying before our eyes. As the Taoiseach looks out of his window he must be able to see them. Members of the Oireachtas pass them every day. It is a crying shame and a scandal that they are allowed to decay.

Hear, hear.

I am glad to hear support from that side for one criticism. We are coming on. We have so many buildings that have been allowed to decay. Why did Senators Haughey and Ryan not put down a motion that would have had something constructive in it? Why did they not put down a motion calling on the Government to introduce legislation so that local authorities could take action against developers or owners of buildings that allowed them to fall down?

The Derelict Sites Act.

Senator Haughey has not been as long on the council as I, but I am sure by now he knows that the city council have no power to take action against a developer who allows a house to fall down. If a developer goes in to destroy a house we can stop him but if he just leaves it there and lets it rot there is nothing we can do. If they had put down a motion suggesting new legislation that would have been something which all of us would have been able to support but perhaps they felt that would be a sort of criticism of the Government. I do not know. All I can say is thank God I am not on the Government benches. I would find it very boring to have to put down innocuous motions like welcoming the designation of Dublin as the European City of Culture.

Lewis Clohessy is the director or head man — I am not sure of his title — of the European City of Culture. When I was writing an article I asked him if there was one present he could give to the city for this year what would it be and unhesitatingly he replied that the traffic regulations be implemented in this city. I was extremely surprised, but agreeably so. What he was saying basically was that for people to enjoy this city and all its culture they must be allowed to move freely through the city unhindered by motor cars belching out dirty fumes all over the place. They must be able to walk on the pavements without cars being parked on them. They must have freedom to enjoy the city away from the motor car.

Fianna Fáil's policy on Dublin Corporation has been consistently pro-motor car, commuter and roads and unless that changes we will not have a beautiful city. Look at Clanbrassil Street and go from Stephen's Green corner the whole way round the inner tangent up to Parnell Square in the very heart of the city and experience its visual aspect. Within the last few days, the president of the Institute of Architects made a very forceful statement in which he said that Dublin Corporation should not be allowed to build any more roads until they had reinserted some of the streetscape which they have destroyed. I wholeheartedly support that. It is an outrage that they should be planning to perpetrate more indignities on the city before they have made any attempt to put back some of the streetscapes which they have so wantonly destroyed.

Senator Ryan spoke about new life coming into the city. I would remind him that the population of this city has halved in the last 20 years. It is now down to 80,000 in the inner city. While I welcome the incentives which the Minister has introduced, they are not all that wonderful with regard to bringing new life back to the city. The city manager told me recently that between 60 and 70 new units were built in the city since the tax incentives were introduced. We should not get things out of proportion.

Senators Haughey and Ryan have it in their power to make changes. It is a power which the Minister may not have in that they can actually vote down the road proposals which have decimated the city. People are fleeing from a city in which they can no longer live because it has been given over to the motor car. If the Senators made constructive suggestions about how we could improve some of the bad things rather than giving us a litany of the many good things about which I agree, this could be quite a constructive debate.

Will the Acting Leader move the suspension of the sitting?

Is there any other Senator offering?

Yes. I assumed that this debate would continue into next week. I am sorry it will not. It is a shame. I am glad that Senator Haughey was courteous enough to point out that I wished to speak. I had asked at the end of the last session that this matter might be taken and I was very glad to see this morning that Fianna Fáil were taking this motion.

I am not one of the instinctive begrudgers in this city and Senator Haughey would perhaps agree with me on this because I formed part of a committee which he very graciously took a considerable interest in, that is, the committee for the Faces of Dublin Business Awards. We travelled around the city looking at the external appearance of the businesses in the city and gave recognition to those businesses which had improved their appearance. This event, which was sponsored by the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, proved extremely successful in helping to put a better appearance on the city of Dublin. I was at least partly responsible for getting that scheme extended. It originally covered quite a small area of the city and I had it extended to take in Parnell Street and another member, Mr. Shaffrey, got it extended to take in Capel Street. That was very important because we were taking in two of the most troubled streets in the city which were unattractive to look at but which were important shopping streets. The effect was quite significant.

In Parnell Street, which was very run down, on the first occasion a small garage won a prize for the effort they put in and, last year, a small newsagent's shop run by a family living over the shop won some degree of recognition. They did not win one of the major prizes but those two awards were significant in alerting people in a distressed area of the city to the significance of the appearance and the maintenance of businesses within the inner city. If one looks at the top end of Capel Street one will see that a series of buildings there have been renovated in recent years. That street shows quite remarkable change.

Senator Haughey mentioned a number of anniversaries and matters that we should celebrate. I am very glad that he mentioned Trinity 400. This is a significant event which will take place next year. There was some historical dispute about whether it should actually have been in 1991 rather than 1992 but there was some change in the calculation of the calendar that makes it appropriate that it be celebrated in 1992. It is a very important event internationally and is one that the college is making every effort to celebrate in a worthy fashion.

One of the things the college has done to celebrate that event is to expand the amount of student accommodation on campus. In terms of the culture of a city it is very important that we have people moving back into the city. We have been able to block book 200 rooms for the international James Joyce symposium which is coming back to Dublin in 1992 after an absence of ten years. I have just returned from Chicago and Madison, Wisconsin, where I spoke to a meeting of the American Committee on Irish Studies. There were 350 delegates there and I did a certain amount of what I would call show casing in order to bring the American contingent back here. I anticipate we may have up to 1,000 scholars from all over the world, many of them Irish, coming to Dublin because Dublin is such an internationally renowned focus for Irish culture.

I listened to what Senator Ó Foighil said and I am sure that it was an oversight on Senator Haughey's part and does not reflect any distaste for the language — it would be highly unusual if it did — but he did not say very much about the Irish language. However, one cannot squeeze everything into a half-hour contribution. I was rather taken with the fact that in America so many people were not only interested in Dublin but also had taken the trouble to learn the Irish language. My first two paragraphs were in Irish. I did not attempt to go any further due not only to the anticipated discomfort of the audience but also my own difficulties in going much further in this language. It is appropriate that we are now embarking on an intensive language course for Members of the Oireachtas. That is good. There should be an attempt made to speak Irish in the national Parliament.

Senator Haughey also mentioned the 800th anniversary of St. Patrick's Cathedral which was celebrated with an ecumenical service recently. It is an important indicator of our culture that unlike 30 years ago where such an event would have been totally impossible, we had both Archbishops of Dublin, the Roman Catholic and the Church of Ireland Archbishops, and the Chapters of three cathedrals — the Roman Catholic Pro-Cathedral in Marlboro' Street, Christchurch Cathedral and St. Patrick's. This demonstration of religious harmony in the capital city is extremely important and one that should be emphasised particularly because this degree of harmony, which is also part of our wider general culture, is not always the image that is presented of this country abroad.

I would like to turn to some of the specifics of Dublin's year of culture. I emphasise that there is inexactitude in the way it is frequently presented in the popular press. We are not the European cultural capital. That would be an absurd pretension in a continent that contains Florence, Paris, Berlin, London and so on. It would be just ridiculous. We are European City of Culture and we are celebrating our culture. We are also opening ourselves up and inviting comment from other European cities.

I supported the Millennium. It was a slightly artificial production because, apart from anything else, the evidence demonstrates quite clearly that Dublin was marked in Ptolemy's map in the 2nd century AD which puts us at least 600 years older than the Millennium would suggest but I supported it because it indicated a movement and a capacity for taking pride in our city. It dealt a death blow to people who, because of a lack of sophistication, felt a resentment against the built environment of the inner city which is essentially the Georgian core, on the basis that these houses were not an expression of Irishness but were a colonial excrescence and an offence to the nationalist spirit. We all remember that this was the case in official circles 25 years ago. There was active ill-will towards the Georgian core and Ministers are on record as glorying in the destruction of part of our heritage. We moved then into what I call passive ill-will and we are now in a stage of passive goodwill towards our Georgian heritage. I hope this will help to push us that little bit further into active goodwill towards the Georgian core.

There are two principal reasons why I say this. One is because it is financially in our interest to do so. People do not visit this country for our weather. Cultural tourism is the kind of tourism we have and, thank God, cultural tourism is the sector of the market which shows the greatest potential growth.

The second reason is equally important. Some of those who lived in the houses were arrogant and offensive. I think, for example, of Henry Moore, Earl of Drogheda, who wrote his name right across the map of the centre of Dublin with Henry Street, Moore Street, Earl Street, even Of Lane and then Drogheda Street so that if you looked at the map of Dublin in the 18th century you saw Henry Moore, Earl of Drogheda, written across it. That is arrogance personified. I do not care who lived in those houses and who paid for their building. The important thing is the Irish craftsman, artists, stuccoers, bricklayers, carpenters and so on who constructed the houses.

The preservation of this environment is very important if we are going to do something permanent. The danger of an event like Dublin's year as European City of Culture is that it will be almost entirely event-orientated. We will have fireworks, street parties, the kind of community arts festivals of which Senator Haughey spoke which are vitally important but the problem is, if one only has a party then after the party one is left picking up the bottle tops and cigarette ends and there is absolutely nothing left behind. For that reason it is important to concentrate on doing things that will last.

We have linked our festival next year in celebration of James Joyce to the preservation of a very important House, No. 35 North Great George's Street, which is being rehabilitated as a cultural centre in memory of James Joyce whose name has been mentioned so many times this evening. We have secured a grant of £300,000 from European Structural Funds and this has to be matched domestically before we can draw any more money after the initial £50,000 we have drawn down. I hope that Irish business will take this message on board and be prepared to sponsor us to the greatest extent possible. They now have a bargain because for every £ they give us it is matched by an equivalent amount from the European Community so the impact is immediately doubled. It would be important that we have a showcase in memory of James Joyce. When he left this city he said that Ireland, and Dublin in particular, represented for him the centre of spiritual paralysis. It was a focus of this kind of paralysis. He said that the brown brick houses represented the incarnation of Irish spiritual and cultural paralysis. If we can take over a house, restore it, put in a library, put in Waterford Glass chandeliers like we have here, put down Donegal Carpets, the best of Irish manufacture, then when people come from abroad and see this magnificent environment they will say, "what beautiful chandeliers". We can say, "of course, Irish manufacture we are celebrated for it." That is the hopeful side of things.

I would like to comment on some of the less hopeful things. I have deliberately put it into a positive context. With regard to the built environment and the 18th Century buildings and so on, I am very glad we have a Dublin writers' museum. I welcome it and I pay tribute to the efforts and the work of Dublin Tourism, Matt McNulty and so on. However, it is a public scandal that the Dublin Vocational Education Committee were allowed to get away with the destruction of that building. It was vandalised with the connivance of the VEC; ceilings, staircases and fireplaces were ripped out of it over a period of a couple of years, while people like Ian Lumley, Frank McDonald and myself were howling about it. They did not have caretakers. They did absolutely nothing. They turned a blind eye to it. I estimate that restoration work has cost the taxpayer at least £225,000. Why does the VEC not have to pay for that?

Acting Chairman

Senator, I must interrupt you there. You are straying somewhat beyond the terms of the motion. At this stage, I would ask you, in accordance with the Order of Business, to move the adjournment of the debate.

Debate adjourned.