Thursday, 11 July 2019

Questions (968)

Barry Cowen


968. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of capital projects being undertaken by her Department; the final agreed tender price; the estimated cost of each capital project in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31071/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

My Department has been allocated nearly €1.2 billion in capital expenditure under Project Ireland 2040 -  National Development Plan, 2018-2027. To delivery on 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.  This plan is being delivered through the following strands of activity: capital investment and infrastructure programmes, capital grant schemes and major capital projects.

The plan provides for an allocation of:

- €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 nine 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 the 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 estimated cost for a project 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 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 majority of 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.

To date, I have approved the detailed appraisal 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.

It is intended to undertake the tender for the National Archives Repository Redevelopment later this year.

The table below outlines the indicative allocation for each capital project currently being undertaken (indicating the broad budgetary parameters provided following the completion of a detailed appraisal under the Public Spending Code) and related contract sums.

National Cultural Institution

Indicative allocation

Contract Sum

National Library of Ireland


€1.618m in relation to contracts for phase 1

National Archives


€0.309m for enabling works.

Main contract to go to tender in 2019. 


A number of other projects under the National Cultural Institutions programme are currently progressing through the appraisals stages under the Public Spending Code including the Crawford Art Gallery, the Natural History Museum, the National Concert Hall, the National Gallery of Ireland and the Abbey Theatre.