As the Deputy will be aware, the Government announced a series of rationalisation measures in the Public Service Reform Plan on 17th November 2011. Certain of these measures that relate to National Cultural Institutions funded from my Department's Vote Group are currently being advanced, as required under the Reform Plan. These include the following:
Combine Irish Museum of Modern Art, Crawford Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Ireland, while retaining separate identities;
Merge National Archives and the Irish Manuscripts Commission into the National Library, while maintaining separate identities; and
Examine the issue of shared services and the board structure of both the National Library and the National Museum.
As the Deputy will also be aware, the priorities set out in the Programme for Government for the rationalisation of State agencies provide that such rationalisation must be cost effective and lead to a more transparent, accountable and efficient public service. The Deputy will appreciate, however, it is not possible at this stage to outline projected savings for each body to be rationalised. However, the implications arising have been under examination within my Department with a view to identifying savings, as well as opportunities for efficiencies and more effective service delivery. This process has involved consultations by my Department with each of the relevant institutions. In addition, I have met the Chairs of the various institutions involved in this process in order to afford them an opportunity to express their views on the actions in the Government's Public Sector Reform Plan. Meetings have also taken place with a range of stakeholders and interested parties on these issues. My Department has taken into consideration the various proposals put forward by the institutions and other interests.
I have sent my proposed approach on the implementation of the Government Decisions on the rationalisation of the relevant national cultural institutions to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in recent days. As this will be subject to consideration by Government, I am not in a position at this juncture to go into the matter in any detail. I was, of course, able to give the House an insight into my overall thinking on these matters during the recent Private Members' Debate.