Well, I am afraid that by no legal subtlety could I bring Deputy Goulding's skeleton under the head of treasure trove. However, Deputy Goulding's reference to this matter shows that an interest is being taken in the necessity for keeping these articles in the country. We are dealing with the problem. It is not easy to frame legislation, and if you had legislation it might be extremely difficult to enforce it in connection with small objects. Deputy Hogan asked for information with regard to certain dialects. At the present moment the Munster dialect is being dealt with by means of a certain number of records—to a certain extent they are experimental—partly because there is, as things stand at present, apparently more danger of the Munster dialect in the places where it is spoken dying out than in the case of the Western. Other large districts, such as those in Connaught, and even in Ulster, we hope it will be possible to deal with at a later stage if the experiment is successful. The actual records that are being prepared at the moment, therefore, deal with those dialects that seem to be most in need of recording.
Deputy Esmonde is under a misapprehension in thinking that the National Library assistants are not civil servants. They are civil servants in the full sense of the term, and they are dealt with as civil servants. The matter has been fully considered, and that was the conclusion that was come to as to the scale of pay to which their particular rank in the Civil Service entitled them. Another question was raised about money. Everyone would like the National Library to have more money, but if you increase one Vote after another in small matters when a serious case is put up for it there will be a considerable difficulty when you come to tot up the whole. Deputy Esmonde also asked about the School of Art. There has been an inquiry of the kind mentioned, but I have not yet received a complete report from that Commission.
The general question of the Museum was raised by Deputy Alton. He referred to an answer I gave on the matter. I forget what it was. I know that the Museum authorities themselves agree with this, and anything that I say is not to be taken in the slightest as a criticism of them; they are in agreement with the point of view I am going to explain. As things seem to have developed here it does seem to be out of place and unnatural, when you go into the Museum in our capital, to find that the first thing you see is a number of reproductions of ancient sculpture. I understand from those who are capable of judging of their artistic merits that they are not very good reproductions. You find a miscellaneous collection as well in the rotunda. In the principal hall you find, if you look very carefully, a few Irish objects, and you find a large number of other things, some valuable and some not. To start off, the Museum, to some extent, suffers from lack of space. It suffers also, as possibly most museums suffer, owing to the lack of sufficient storage accommodation, and perhaps from trying to display too much. We have come to the conclusion that a re-arrangement is necessary, and that it will be necessary to store a great deal more. Roughly speaking, the plan that I have in mind is something like this: in the entrance hall, that is, in the rotunda, there will be something concerned with Ireland, but as the light is bad there the principal objects will not be displayed there. But in the large central hall—the proper place— we will have what undoubtedly is one of the most valuable collections of ancient gold ornaments in the world, records of Irish civilisation, properly displayed. Round the raised portion we will have illustrations of other types of civilisations. In the other rooms off that we will have, I hope, mainly original objects from Mediterranean and other types of civilisations. In that way by keeping the specimens of Irish civilisation where they ought to be, in the very heart and centre of the Museum, we hope at the same time not to neglect the other sides of the Museum and to bring it into touch with what is the actual kernel of the Museum.
All that will take time. We have to make arrangements for the temporary disposal of the casts. I am not suggesting that we are going to remove all the casts or reproductions. That would be neither possible nor desirable. However much these may be appreciated by the few, and however valuable they may be to a few students perhaps, so far as we are concerned at present they are occupying space that we need. Therefore, we have arranged to find temporary homes in various places for their disposal. We hope to be able gradually, therefore, to proceed to the reorganisation of the Museum in that way. There is no necessity, for instance, if you have four hundred objects of the same kind, to display the four hundred. And there is no reason, if you can find a valuable piece of Irish silver or glass, that it should be lost, so to speak, in the other collection that is there. In that way, we are trying to make the Museum more attractive and a great deal more instructive than it is. In doing that we have the full concurrence of the officials at present in the Museum who are familiar with the work. Therefore, that re-arrangement is in no sense at all any criticism whatever of the valuable work that they have given to the Museum.
We recognise that the staffing of the Museum is depleted. Arrangements are being made to consider the question as to what the permanent staff of it should be. I hope to be able to deal with that gradually and to fill these posts. As I have said already, one of the greatest difficulties that we will have to contend with is lack of space. All museums tend to get overcrowded at times. As a museum ours is particularly badly built. It may be anything else you like, but as a museum it is most unsuited for its purpose, as unsuited as one could possibly imagine. As a museum for displaying objects it is certainly one of the worst buildings that is used for such a purpose. A lot of our public buildings are pretty bad, especially the older types of buildings. In the case of the Museum the architects made up their minds to display themselves rather than the objects the Museum was to hold. We will have that difficulty as regards finding space. We will also have a difficulty in finding storage space for objects that we may decide to put aside. There is no need why these objects should be available to the general public, but it is desirable that they should be available to students.