Thursday, 17 April 2014

Questions (27)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

27. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht his plans to use the former Houses of Parliament building on College Green for cultural events; if any national cultural events will take place there in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17788/14]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

As the Deputy is aware, following ongoing discussions between my Department and the Bank of Ireland, the facilitation of a Cultural and Heritage Centre at the Bank of Ireland Branch at College Green, Dublin 2 was recently announced. The Bank of Ireland at College Green is one of the most iconic buildings in Dublin City. It was the first purpose-built Parliament in Europe, completed in 1739, and served as Ireland’s Parliament until the Act of Union in 1801. The space for the Centre will be made available to the State for a ten year period, to run alongside the Decade of Centenaries. It is envisaged that exhibitions at the Centre will include a significant focus on key events in Irish history – up to the centenary of the Civil War – which led to the creation of modern Ireland, whilst also including a strong cultural component.

Bank of Ireland will cover the costs of refurbishing the space and operating the Centre. My Department, in partnership with the Bank, will manage, operate and animate the Centre. I very much welcome Bank of Ireland's decision to make the space available and would like to thank the Bank for strongly supporting this initiative.

As the matter is at an early stage of development, it is not possible yet to offer specifics about the programme of events or the operation of the centre. However, I believe the work to be carried out in the centre will have a significant impact on enriching the cultural programme during the Decade of Centenaries and over the next 10 years.