Thursday, 11 July 2019

Questions (966)

Jack Chambers


966. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if expenditure estimates for capital projects under Project Ireland 2040 under the remit of her Department and agencies match projected cost requirements in tabular from; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30961/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

My Department will invest some €1.2 million in capital expenditure as part of Project Ireland 2040 -  the National Development Plan.  To direct this investment, my Department has developed a detailed sectoral investment plan, Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage, which sets the high-level, strategic capital investment priorities for the Department from 2018 to 2027.   The investment plan sets out three strands of activity, capital investment and infrastructure programmes, capital grant schemes and major capital projects, across the following programme areas:

- €725 million towards enhancing our cultural infrastructure, incorporating,

- A €460 million investment in our National Cultural Institutions and,

- €265 million for a national Culture and Creativity Investment Programme;

- €285 million towards a heritage investment programme; and,

- €178 million towards investment in our language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands.

My Department manages its annual capital expenditure in the context of both these programmatic allocations and the 5-year multi-annual Departmental capital allocations outlined in the National Development Plan. Investment programmes and capital grant schemes progress on a multi-annual basis, while major capital projects are being undertaken as part of the National Cultural Institutions Investment Programme. 

Capital projects are appraised, planned, implemented and evaluated in line with the Public Spending Code and best practice guidance outlined in the Capital Works Management Framework published by the Office of Government Procurement.

Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage outlined indicative investment levels for capital projects in each of the National Cultural Institutions. These are not project budgets, but are rather intended to guide the scale and scope of proposed capital investment in each National Cultural Institution.

As provided for by the Public Spending Code and the Capital Works Management Framework, broad budgetary parameters are established and approved on the basis of the detailed appraisal of the capital project in question. Accordingly, it is not possible to provide an expenditure estimate until a detailed appraisal has been completed and budgetary parameters for the project in question have been approved. In line with the Capital Works Management Framework, the project budget is assessed at key stages of the project lifecycle, including throughout the planning and design and implementation phases.

Given that the sites upon and buildings within which many of our National Cultural Institutions reside are themselves distinctive parts of our built and architectural heritage, capital works will necessarily be complex and significant investigation work will need to be undertaken to further establish the risks and costs association with each project.  Moreover, it is important to ensure that the Institutions can, insofar as possible, remain open to the public throughout construction. Accordingly, a number of the capital projects at the National Cultural Institutions may be undertaken in discrete phases, to assist both planning, cost control and to ensure continuity of services to the public.

I have approved the detailed appraisals of two major capital projects within the National Cultural Institutions Investment Programme: a four-year redevelopment of the National Library of Ireland involving the upgrading of the East and West Wings of the Library, and the provision of secure environmentally-controlled archival repository at the National Archives. The National Archives project is being carried out in partnership with the Office of Public Works, and the National Library project with the Office of Public Works and the National Library.

The first phase of the National Library of Ireland redevelopment project, comprising the completion of a new book repository in the East Wing of the Library comprising 4,700 linear metres of storage and the movement of 350,000 volumes, was unveiled last month. The final cost of the first phase was broadly in line with the project budget.

It is intended to undertake the tender for the National Archives Repository Redevelopment later this year. Accordingly, the cost plan for the Redevelopment is currently under review following planning and design phase and prior to going to tender, in line with the requirements of the public spending code.