Other Questions. - Cultural Development Incentives Scheme.

James Leonard


11 Mr. Leonard asked the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht the proposals, if any, he has to allocate funding under the cultural development incentives scheme for projects in the constituency of Cavan-Monaghan. [4622/97]

The closing date for receipt of completed applications for assistance under Phase II of the cultural development incentives scheme, which was advertised on 15 November 1996, was 10 January 1997. A detailed assessment of all applications received, including two applications in respect of projects in County Cavan and four applications in respect of projects in County Monaghan, is under way. Following completion of the assessment process, the advisory committee for the scheme will make recommendations to me regarding the level of funding, if any, that should be offered to individual projects. The purpose of this process is to ensure that the best projects, taking all factors into account, emerge and are offered support. I am aware of the Deputy's interest in the matter and I expect decisions will probably be made in early April.

How can the Minister justify allocating £39 million, under the cultural development incentives scheme, to 24 counties while excluding counties Cavan and Monaghan? How can he justify allocating £9 million to his own county of Galway when there were outstanding projects for Cavan and Monaghan? There is no shortage of newspaper reports in which the Minister was condemned out of hand for his neglect of those two counties.

This figure arose because people included the capital moneys for which I had responsibility. For example, I have responsibility for piers in Inis Meán and Inis Mór. When these capital moneys are added to the other moneys a certain percentage is arrived at. To the best of my knowledge the sum spent in Galway, under this scheme, is about £1.345 million out of an allocation of £23 million. The arts projects are assessed by the Arts Council while museum projects are assessed by the Heritage Council. The projects are put on a shortlist and sent to an evaluation committee, on which the General Council of County Councils, the County Managers' Association and others are represented. The committee draws up a shortlist which it submits to me.

When the Deputy checks the facts I am sure he will want to withdraw the suggestion that I spent £9 million on projects for my constituency. The funding related to the Town Hall in Galway, and there was another allocation of approximately £345,000. The allocations to date are as follows:

Letterkenny Theatre, £1.5 million; Portlaoise, £1.3 million; Cork Public Museum, £900,000; Waterford Theatre Royal, £562,000; Everyman Palace Theatre, Cork city, £350,000; Limerick city Gallery of Art, £687,500; Cork city Art House Cinema, £100,000; Edenville House, Roscommon, £250,000——

I have the list.

——Doolin, County Clare, £90,000; Cork Opera House, £375,000——

The Deputy wants to know about Monaghan and Cavan.

——Macroom, £150,000; Dún Laoghaire, £1 million; Blanchardstown, £1 million; Tallaght, £1.1 million and the Hugh Lane Gallery, £500,000. I could go on.

There is no need to as I have the list.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle

The Deputy has asked a question and he should listen to the reply.

On the figure of £350,000, the Galway Arts Centre received £250,000, a cultural centre in Inis Oirr received £90,000, and the Galway Municipal Theatre received the remainder. The other figure included projects in Westport and Westmeath. The applications for projects in Cavan and Monaghan will be treated fairly. I agree with the Deputy about the importance of funding for arts and cultural projects in these counties. However, it is not correct for him to say false reports about me in the newspapers are true.

I do not care under what heading the funding is allocated as long as we receive it. However, the projects for these counties were rejected. The Minister sent me the list he read in reply to a parliamentary question. Counties Cavan and Monaghan have been neglected by the Minister in so far as arts and cultural issues are concerned. We have not got one penny for projects during the past three or four years and there is no guarantee the current applications will be approved. I will raise this matter again after the Minister has adjudicated on the applications.

I assure the Deputy that applications from counties Cavan and Monaghan will be treated in the same way as applications from other counties. The Deputy is correct to be anxious about these counties but I am sure he would not want me to operate the system unfairly so that it benefits specific counties.

We were ignored in 1995 and 1996.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle

That concludes questions for today.

Written Answers follow Adjournment Debate.