Wednesday, 25 February 2004

Questions (45, 46)

Willie Penrose

Question:

127 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the events planned to take place in Dublin from 30 April to 1 May 2004 to mark the accession of the applicant countries to the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6124/04]

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Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

136 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he will provide details of the 1 May 2004 celebrations to mark the accession of new states to the European Union; and the cost involved. [5971/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 127 and 136 together.

Under the cultural programme of the Irish Presidency of the EU, which I launched on 7 January 2004, each of the new member states will be officially welcomed into the EU by an Irish city or town during a special day of welcomes on Saturday, 1 May. The participating towns and cities are Bray, Waterford, Cork, Limerick, Killarney, Galway, Sligo, Letterkenny, Drogheda and Kilkenny. This day will be at the heart of the national celebrations and will involve each of the ten towns and cities hosting distinct and engaging European fairs. A fireworks extravaganza in Dublin will commence celebrations in the capital on Friday, 30 April.

Dublin will also see Merrion Square transformed into a colourful bazaar with marquees, stands and stages making up the European fair on Saturday, 1 May. It is expected that over 100,000 visitors will pass through the fair over the weekend to enjoy the experience of unique and interesting produce from the new EU member states and participate in this fun cultural activity. A major concert of Irish and international stars will take place in O'Connell Street in Dublin on the evening of 1 May and will be a highlight of the weekend. The concert will be produced by RTE and the BBC.

From 22 April to 3 May, there will be a presentation of Vectorial Elevation, a unique artwork which is the largest on-line. We will locate 24 searchlights on and over the buildings in O'Connell Street and every six seconds, from dusk to dawn, a new design will be rendered on the sky for all to see. A large screen will display the signature and comments of the author.

The total projected costs for these celebratory events is €2.144 million.

Question No. 128 answered with QuestionNo. 117.