Other Questions

Bullying in the Workplace

Peadar Tóibín


22. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if her attention has been drawn to new allegations that have been made regarding abuse and bullying in the National Museum of Ireland. [10093/18]

Over the past number of years the National Museum of Ireland has been racked with allegations of bullying and sexual harassment. Millions of euro have been spent so far on consultants, reports, sexual abuse experts and High Court payoffs. This, of course, does not include the very real damage that has been done to the lives of a large number of people who simply wanted to work in the premier heritage location in Ireland. Is the Minister aware of any new allegations of sexual harassment and bullying in the National Museum of Ireland?

My Department has been informed of new allegations of bullying and harassment in the National Museum. The Deputy will appreciate that I cannot discuss individual cases. The Deputy will also be aware that the National Museum of Ireland is a statutory body under the National Cultural Institutions Act 1997 and I have no responsibility for the day to day operations of the museum.

While I cannot get involved in human resource matters, which are a matter for the executive and the board of the museum, my Department has provided additional support, including sanction for three specific HR positions and two temporary positions for the corporate services area of the museum.

The chair and the new board were appointed in July 2016 and are implementing change in the museum, as well as preparing new plans to improve the museum's services to the public over the coming years. My Department and I are supportive of these plans.

Separately, in light of allegations of abuse of power and sexual harassment elsewhere in the arts sector, my Department has identified a number of actions to be taken in relation to bodies reporting directly to my Department, including our national cultural institutions. These include arranging dedicated workshops for board members and senior staff of bodies reporting to the Department dealing with governance. There will be a particular emphasis on issues relating to bullying, abuse of power and sexual harassment in the workplace.

I consider that the support for the board, which I have outlined, is the most appropriate way for my Department to deal with issues of bullying and harassment.

The Minister's response is very unsatisfactory in a number of ways. Obviously she is new to the Department and she may not be aware of the deep and ongoing crisis that has engulfed the National Museum. Significant damage has been done to a large number of women who have worked in a building 100 yards from where we sit. These women were in the care of the State because the State had a role during that time as the Department was involved in those particular HR issues. These women could not receive justice. The only way they could do so was to go to the front pages of the national newspapers and tell their stories. The most frustrating thing about this is that I have been told that at the start of these allegations a senior person in the National Museum of Ireland gave a report of what happened to the Department, and the Department did not carry out anything. The report does not exist at present. If that initial report had been acted upon none of the subsequent allegations made by those women would have happened. Sitting on hands so far has only meant more people have had to suffer. I urge the Minister to take a hands-on approach to resolving this issue.

I have tabled a question on the matter to which the Minister referred, regarding a report on harassment and bullying in another institution. In the context of this being a matter in a number of institutions, and we have had reports recently on The Gate Theatre, will the Minister publish and advise what she proposes to do to empower workers, particularly young workers, whether women or men, to be able to be in a safe work environment? If they encounter harassment and bullying what can they do to ensure they can stop it?

I do not accept the fact that no steps have been taken to try to eradicate harassment in this particular area. I have the utmost sympathy for women and men who go through any bullying or harassment in the museum or any other cultural institution.

There is positive engagement with the National Museum of Ireland and a head of human resources was put in place, on an 18 month contract, on 26 February. There are also two temporary HR staff in place. In my role as Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht I am in a position to support the National Museum of Ireland in ensuring these issues will not arise into the future. A complaint made on 22 February has been submitted to the State Claims Agency which notified me by letter yesterday that as the National Museum of Ireland was the employer, not me, as Minister, it would be dealing with the matter internally. Obviously, I cannot go into the detail of the case.

As I mentioned, workshops for directors and boards are being held by my Department and the natural cultural institutions have been issued with reminders of their responsibility to follow through on their obligations under employers' legislation. The Department also supports the provision of training for staff of the national cultural institutions and it is very important that that be done.

Adrienne Corless, a former staff member of the National Museum of Ireland, stated about her experience that she would rather vomit slugs than name the truths of her experience in working at the National Museum of Ireland but that if she did not do so, she would spend the rest of her life living with slug-like lodgers from her past working life eating her up from inside. The deep ramifications of what happened in the National Museum of Ireland are still surfacing. The Minister will be aware of the recently listed third third High Court case of bullying at the National Museum of Ireland. There are still questions about a large number of secondments, one of which has been ongoing for the past four years at a cost of €100,000 per annum. I believe that what happened was, in part, the result of a laissez-faire attitude on the part of the Department and previous Ministers. Will the Minister continue that process or will she bring it to an end?

I can assure the Deputy that there is no laissez-faire attitude on my part or within the Department in this area. In 2017 a staff forum, consisting of representatives of management and the staff, was set up to promote and foster good relations within the National Museum of Ireland. There was also a review of departmental documentation in 2017 which set out a number of recommendations, one of which was that we continue to support the chairperson and the board of the National Museum of Ireland in the introduction and implementation of measures to achieve enhanced HR capacity in the museum, which we have done. The National Museum of Ireland is also adhering to the code of practice, which is important. Also, an internal audit conducted in 2017 recommended the establishment of a dedicated HR unit at the museum. The HR policy was reviewed and updated and there is continual HR training for line managers across all areas of the museum. It is also proposed to develop a museum development plan setting out a long-term direction of travel for the museum.

I accept that there should never be a workplace in which people have to suffer the indignity of harassment or abuse in any form. I will be taking any step I can in that regard.

On Deputy Joan Burton's point about the Gate Theatre, I am working with it and the signatories to find solutions to all of the issues. There is an initiative taking place on 21 March, of which the Deputy may be aware, through which we hope to move matters forward and ensure this culture will not continue into the future.

National Orchestras

Joan Burton


23. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her policy on the National Concert Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9975/18]

As the person with responsibility for culture, what does the Minister propose to do to defend the National Symphony Orchestra and the National Concert Orchestra? Is she aware that player number in the National Symphony Orchestra is in the low 60s, whereas the proper strength of an international orchestra which the National Symphony Orchestra is in the mid-90s? What does she propose to do about this important element of our culture?

The Deputy will appreciate that there are existing legislative obligations on RTÉ in the provision of music. It has traditionally included the provision by RTÉ of orchestral music through the National Symphony Orchestra, as well as the National Concert Orchestra. Responsibility for RTÉ, in the first instance, rests with my colleague, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. However, as Minister with responsibility for culture and oversight of the National Concert Hall, it is important that there be strong provision of orchestral music in Ireland. I am conscious that the National Concert Hall which does come within my remit has always been proud to call it the home of the National Symphony Orchestra. The National Symphony Orchestra, in turn, provides the backbone of the National Concert Hall’s orchestral music programme through its weekly concerts. My Department and the Arts Council provide support for orchestral music in Ireland and I am fully aware of the premier role the National Symphony Orchestra plays in that regard.

With regard to the review, I understand it is an internal review which is being carried out by RTÉ. My Department has not been directly involved in it. However, officials from my Department have met officials from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to discuss the matter. They have been informed that the review is to make recommendations on the best configuration of the orchestras. They were also informed that RTÉ had acknowledged that the orchestras were integral to its arts and cultural programming and formed a key part of its arts and culture strategy. 

My Department will maintain close contact with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment on this matter and both Departments will consider the outcome of the RTÉ review when it is complete. I understand a final report will be delivered to RTÉ shortly.

I thank the Minister for her reply and acknowledgement that, as Minister with responsibility for culture, she has a role when it comes to our national orchestras. I have in my hand a copy of the very expensive national development plan, strategy No. 7 of which references enhanced amenity and heritage and the value of cultural heritage but nothing more in this area. Given that the Government is spending at least €1.5 million in promoting the plan, I thought that by now Ministers would know off by heart what is included in it. The RTÉ orchestras are being slowly and steadily eviscerated by reducing player numbers. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. In 1948 the strength of the orchestra was 62, which figure rose eventually to a height of 93 in the late 1980s. As I said earlier, its membership now stands at 68. I am sure that in her role the Minister attends the National Concert Hall and that as such she will be aware that 68 players do not constitute a full strength orchestra. Our young musicians are working around the world because they cannot find jobs at home. Many of them would love to come home.

Dee Forbes has stated the RTÉ internal review should be completed by the end of this month. RTÉ announced the review via a press release in November 2017. Its overall funding position is well known. It is incumbent on RTÉ to consider and assess its role in the provision of orchestral music into the future. In that context, the review will consider what current and future audiences want, how they will engage with us and how RTÉ's orchestral music will be heard in venues, on screens and radio across the country. There is a difference between the National Symphony Orchestra and the National Concert Orchestra in terms of size and audiences. It is a matter for RTÉ to decide whether it will maintain both orchestras. Officials of my Department met officials of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment on 12 January to discuss the issue. The Deputy will be aware that RTÉ has a statutory requirement to establish and maintain orchestras, choirs and other cultural performing groups. I look forward to reading the report. While I cannot anticipate what the outcome will be, I look forward to discussing matters further with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

One can kill something outright or one can have a slow strangulation and wearing down of a really important institution like the National Symphony Orchestra. Lots of small countries in Europe have four or five major symphony orchestras but the strength of our national orchestra has fallen to 68 players. A number of people have retired, others have left and a complete hold has been placed on recruiting new players. It is not that we lack musical talent in Ireland because we have many fantastic young musicians, qualified up to PhD level and beyond, who are now playing in orchestras and ensembles all over the world. It is not possible for them to come back home because the RTÉ symphony orchestra is not recruiting. That orchestra is a major source of employment for musicians and is vital to the musical heritage of this country.

I am delighted that the Minister has met the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Denis Naughten, to discuss this matter. However, the Government has just launched a major report, part of which is about enhanced amenities and heritage. How come the word "culture" does not feature in the new national development plan? How come one of its objectives is not enhancing, maintaining, enabling and empowering our culture?

Deputy Burton mentioned the National Concert Hall, NCH, earlier and it is important to point out that the NCH is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. It held a celebratory event on 16 February last. The concert hall is home to RTÉ's National Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Choir Ireland, the Irish Baroque Orchestra, the Music Network and Music Generation and hosts approximately 1,000 events per annum. Its mission is to foster and celebrate the appreciation, knowledge, enjoyment and love of music as an integral part of Irish life.

I would also add that my Department provides funding to many different orchestras. In terms of music and ensuring that it is a vital part of cultural life in Ireland, my Department provides funding for the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland and the Peace Proms, while Culture Ireland also funds music-----

What does Culture Ireland fund?

-----through its capital scheme-----

Culture Ireland is a propaganda outfit.

-----which saw a €245,000 increase this year.

RTÉ itself said in a press release that it is the primary custodian of symphonic and orchestral music in this country. It is the biggest employer of musicians and, ultimately, we hope that we will be able to work this out.

Traveller Culture

Gino Kenny


24. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the steps she will take to highlight Traveller culture in a positive and meaningful way in view of the fact that Travellers are a distinct ethnic minority; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10100/18]

On March 1 last year there was an historic, if belated, acknowledgement of Traveller ethnicity and culture. Beyond the symbolic importance of the recognition of Traveller ethnicity and culture, what practical steps and policies is the Minister with responsibility in the area of culture going to take to practically celebrate, acknowledge and promote Traveller culture as a crucial part of Ireland's historic identity and culture?

As I advised the House in my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 267 of 6 December 2017, my Department's commitment to supporting diversity and inclusion is reflected in its policies and operations and in those of the bodies under its aegis.

One of the stated aims of Culture 2025, which is my Department's national cultural policy document, is to create opportunities for increased citizen participation, especially for those currently excluded or at risk of exclusion, with a key value being the right of everyone to participate in the cultural life of the nation. This right runs throughout people’s lives, irrespective of where they come from, where they live, their religious beliefs or their economic or social backgrounds. In line with these policy objectives, my Department's Creative Ireland programme continues to promote the Traveller mentoring programme and in 2017, through Cork City Council, funded the renovation of the Traveller culture exhibition at Cork Public Museum in 2017, with the refurbishment designed by visual artist and Traveller, Leanne McDonagh.

In 2017 the Irish Film Board and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, BAI, provided €625,000 in funding for Carmel Winters' film, "Float Like a Butterfly", which is due for release this year and is set among the Traveller community. The Arts Council supports the Traveller community under the arts participation and the artist in the community schemes. Managed by Create on the Arts Council’s behalf, these schemes encourage artists to work in a culturally diverse context including among the Traveller community. The work of artists from the Traveller community has also been recognised this year with the election to Aosdána of playwright Rosaleen McDonagh and the awarding of the Arts Council’s next generation bursary award for 2017 to visual artist Leanne McDonagh.

The cultural institutions are also active in this space. In 2017 the Chester Beatty Library partnered with the National Concert Hall as part of Dublin City Council’s Dublin Culture Connects programme under which the poet Stephen James Smith is working with the Traveller women’s group at Labre Park in Ballyfermot to look at shared stories. The National Museum is planning a major exhibition with the Traveller community to be hosted in the Museum of Country Life from June 2018. The exhibition will focus on the traditions, customs and history of the Traveller community over the years.

Additional information not given on the floor of the House

My Department is also represented on the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy Steering Group, which monitors the implementation and progress of the recently published the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021. I look forward to working with my Department and those bodies under its aegis in developing these important initiatives.

All of those things are welcome and at some levels, we are moving forward. I also note that 15 March, the national Traveller day of culture will see an important event on Traveller history and ethnicity at the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham. These are all positive things but actual participation in culture starts with the basics where, quite frankly, we are not moving forward. While these are not directly within the Minister's remit, she should consider them as part of the project of making the formal acknowledgement of Traveller ethnicity a reality. Accommodation is one of the most basic elements of Traveller culture but Travellers in this country are 11 times more likely to be homeless. Against the background of disastrous homelessness generally, Travellers are disproportionately hit. Indeed, politicians, including the Minister in the past, have played fast and loose on the issue of Traveller accommodation but we need to move forward on that. In the area of education, we need to reinstate the visiting teacher for Travellers and to provide extra resource teachers in schools for Travellers. We must also include Traveller history and culture in the school curricula.

Regarding my own Department, page 6 of the Culture 2025 document specifically mentions that all people, no matter where they come from, should be included in our culture plans. Culture also has an important role to play in promoting tolerance, inclusivity and social cohesion in our increasingly diverse society. It should be accessible to everyone, irrespective of origin, place of residence, religious beliefs or economic or social background.

I was here in the Dáil when the former Taoiseach, Deputy Enda Kenny, made a statement in recognition of Traveller ethnicity on March 1 last year. The then Taoiseach also visited my constituency and met the Southside Travellers Action Group, who were absolutely delighted that their ethnicity would be formally recognised. Deputy Kenny said that Travellers told him that it took 30 years for a Government to listen to them across the table. He went on to say:

The representatives spoke passionately about how this strong message from the State would be a very important symbolic and positive step in acknowledging the uniqueness of Traveller identity. They felt it would resonate strongly among the community and help counter the stigma and shame felt by many, particularly young people, and increase feelings of respect, self-esteem and inclusion.

I acknowledge the historical importance, albeit belated, of the recognition of Traveller ethnicity last year but now we need to move to practical policies and actions. My point is that we have a long way to go. The situation for Travellers in this country is truly shocking. They are seven times more likely to commit suicide and one in 11 young Traveller men die by suicide. Traveller men live 15 years less and Traveller women live 11 years less than their settled counterparts. Infant mortality is four times higher and as I said already, Travellers are 11 times more likely to be homeless. We need to address these issues in the areas of health and accommodation. I would like to see movement on these issues and practical timelines put in place.

There is no budget and no timeline for the national Traveller and Roma inclusion strategy; therefore, it is aspirational rather than a practical policy.

The Deputy makes valid points about members of the Traveller community. They have difficulties, perhaps more than other groups, in dealing with many of the issues that confront them. The Government must do all it can to assist them in reaching their goals in life. I have attended many good events in my constituency aimed at dealing with this issue.

From a broader perspective, the National Museum of Ireland exhibition will be hosted in the Museum of Country Life from June. The idea of the Traveller journey exhibition which will run until May 2019 was originally proposed to members of the western regional Traveller health network who developed the concept at a social inclusion event co-hosted by the museum, Mayo County Council and the Mayo Traveller Support Group in October 2015. A budget of €100,000 is being allocated for the exhibition.

On other aspects of the work of my Department, the director of the National Library of Ireland will be attending a national Traveller ethnicity event this week, unless it is postponed. It might have been postponed already. It was due to take place tomorrow. The director will speak on another occasion about genealogy and other source material the National Library of Ireland has available for the study of Traveller family histories.

Heritage Sites

Bernard Durkan


25. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to make provisions for various issues in the cultural and heritage area which, in turn, are likely to have a beneficial economic impact; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10153/18]

This question, like similar ones Deputies have pursued in the past, relates to the extent to which we should continue to encourage and generate greater interest in the wealth of our heritage and culture for the benefit of the population and internationally, with obvious beneficial economic consequences.

As the Deputy is aware, the Government invests in culture and heritage for their intrinsic value but also recognises the valuable economic contribution the sectors can make.  For example, the creative economy is now recognised as a leading sector in generating economic growth, employment and trade in many advanced economies. In 2010 it was estimated that the cultural and creative industries contributed around 2.6% of the total GDP of the European Union, providing around 5 million jobs across the 27 EU member states. In Ireland, in the same year, a report commissioned by the Arts Council estimated that the creative industries overall contributed more than €4.7 billion to the economy, equivalent to approximately 3% of GDP, while the number of jobs supported in aggregate amounted to 78,900. This underpins the importance attached to culture and heritage in the recently launched Project Ireland 2040, the comprehensive national planning framework and associated ten-year national development plan which provides for a significant investment of in excess of €1 billion in culture and heritage in the next ten years.  It also provides for an additional €178 million to support the Irish language, a key element of our cultural identity, and protect our unique Gaeltacht and Island communities.  The level of this investment which is unprecedented under a national development plan will inevitably have a beneficial economic impact.  I will shortly launch this element of the plan. I was hoping to launch elements of it with the Taoiseach, the Minister for Finance, Deputy Pashal Donohoe, and my colleague, the Minister of State at the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Deputy Joe McHugh, but it has been postponed until a later date.

The national cultural institutions investment programme worth €460 million will see economic opportunities for the construction sector in the short run but will have a long-term economic benefit to Dublin and Cork from its tourism dividend, as well as providing much needed upgrades at these important national institutions.  As part of the culture and creativity investment programme under the national development plan and aligned with the Creative Ireland programme, we will be investing heavily in the audio-visual industry as a cornerstone of the creative industries and bringing an economic dividend for the sector and the areas in which audio-visual content, including films, is produced.  

Additional information not given on the floor of the House

On the heritage side, we will invest €285 million in a broad range of projects across the country, from enhancing visitor facilities at national parks and nature reserves and providing incentives for the restoration of the historic cores of towns, villages and cities to works to protect national monuments and inland waterways.  All of these investments will yield a positive economic impact from the jobs created from the works to the long-term benefits to local economies from the improved tourism offering, particularly in the national parks which are primarily on the route of the Wild Atlantic Way and present an opportunity for enhanced tourism development, as well as conserving the beauty of natural landscapes.

I thank the Minister for her comprehensive reply and congratulate her on her activity in the area and her intentions. To what degree does she intend to broaden the level of interest in cultural issues through the education system and the media generally, including international media outlets, in an effort to promote tourism and continue to encourage the creation of employment through participation from abroad as well as from home?

My Department will be working closely with other Departments in order to ensure we will implement the plans set out in the national planning framework and the national development plan, Project Ireland 2040. There is a later question on creative youth schemes.

It is the next question.

I thank the Deputy. I will speak about that issue. Suffice it to say it is a pilot project involving 150 schools. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan spoke about education. It is very important we bring forward the scheme. We are investing €460 million under the national cultural investment programme which will be really transformative in bringing many of the national cultural institutions into the 21st century. Many of the projects are at appraisal, planning and design stage, while many are flagship projects. We will be hoping to move to the delivery phase in the coming years and will be able to add to the list into the future.

On the heritage side, some €285 million has been allocated which will create employment and help us to invest in national parks and nature reserves. The number of visitors has increased from 2.5 million to 4 million in just over ten years. We need to have the infrastructure we require to ensure we can cope with the steady increase in the number of visitors. It will also help in promoting tourism.

To what extent is it intended to use promotional means to popularise heritage sites? I once had the privilege of visiting the rock of Masada when its importance was emphasised. We have many sites in this country that date back more than 5,000 years to the time of the pyramids. To what extent does the Minister foresee opportunities arising to merge our cultural, heritage and historical sites in a package to attract national and international interest?

The national development plan emphasises the amenity value of the natural built heritage. It is a €285 million investment plan. I have mentioned the national parks and nature reserves and how we need to be in a position to cope with the number of new visitors with better infrastructure. We want to help our invaluable natural assets and have hubs for outdoor activities and to promote tourism.

On the built heritage, to which the Deputy referred, it is the historical core of cities, towns and villages. We must protect and try to regenerate it, where possible. We must also protect castles, forts and mounds. The inland waterways are not just an engineering marvel but also an amenity within the national tourism offering. I intend to ramp up investment into the future, including in the restoration of the Ulster Canal. The plan also provides for implementation of national guidelines for the protection of our unique landscapes. We will be able to implement the national biodiversity plan into the future.

School Curriculum

Tom Neville


26. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the way in which creative schools will put the arts and creativity at the heart of children's and young person’s lives. [9871/18]

I want to ask the Minister about the way in which creative schools will put the arts and creativity at the centre of the lives of children and young people.

On 12 February I launched Scoileanna Ildánacha-Creative Schools. This pilot initiative is a vital element of the recently launched creative youth plan and a cornerstone of pillar 1 of the Government's Creative Ireland programme.

Creative Schools is being led by the Arts Council, with support from my Department and the Department of Education and Skills.  Up to 150 schools across the country will participate in the pilot project and work with Creative Associates to develop their own unique programmes of arts and creative work, connecting them to the full range of local and regional cultural resources and opportunities.

Creative associates are artists, creative practitioners and educators. They are recruited by the Arts Council, which will support each school in the development and implementation of its plan and forge partnerships with the wider arts and cultural community. In addition, all schools will receive a range of supports, including a once-off grant of €2,000 and training for teachers in the school. Interested schools can find information on how to register and apply on the Arts Council website. This measure is one of 18 contained in the creative youth plan, which will be progressed over the next two years in partnership with the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Arts Council. At this plan's core is a firm belief that creativity and culture should be at the heart of education for all our young people. I look forward to working with all our key partners to deliver for our children and young people.

I welcome the initiative and stress the need for the creative arts to have a profile within the education system. Throughout the years arts subjects have often been seen as the Cinderella of subjects within the system. Children who have difficulties with other parts of the school curriculum may find expression through arts. I am not only talking about visual arts, but performance arts and music as well. Arts education should be broadened into as expansive a programme as possible. There are approximately 150 schools in the pilot scheme and I encourage schools to apply. We should broaden this out because, as I said in the House before, the arts allow people, who may not be able to do so academically or through psychomotor skills, which involve the more practical subjects, to express themselves. Having arts in their education also leads to the development of their emotional well-being.

I accept the points the Deputy made. The Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Bruton's Department and my Department did extensive work on this initiative. It is a pilot project which I hope can be rolled out. The closing date for applications is 5 March 2018. The Creative Ireland team in my Department held 39 public meetings. Both Departments felt that mainstream teaching of and learning the arts as a part of general education need to be intertwined in some way. We are hoping that schools which apply for this initiative will benefit from learning through the arts. As the Deputy said, the arts have been the Cinderella subjects in the past, although I hope that will change.

The schools are selected using the following criteria: benefits for learning and development; capacity for participation; the voice of children and young people; and the need to include a range of schools. There will be several different types of schools included.

According to research, the creative arts foster the development of children's cognitive abilities. Exploring and participating in creative play triggers the use of children's imaginations, which in turn stimulates and expands their mental capacities. Given this insight and what has been recognised in schools, and coupled with the 300 hours of emotional well-being work which has been added to the education system, I ask that the arts remain a priority in the educational system. This particularly concerns funding. As we have seen in the past, if the country hits hard economic times, one of the first areas to be cut is the arts. We need to reverse that trend and change this type of psychology in looking at the arts. We need to give the arts the profile they deserve. It is often difficult to explain the benefits of the arts. Those benefits are enormous and very difficult to put into words. The momentum is building, which I welcome, and we must keep that focus.

I refer to the programme of artists working in schools, which was developed by the previous Government. I cannot understand why this is not being rolled out to all schools in the country and, in particular, to DEIS schools where creative artistic work is absolutely essential to children's social and academic formation. Can the Minister explain why many DEIS schools will have to wait beyond 2020 for this initiative?

In terms of impartiality, and this is a pilot initiative, the assessment team will seek to select a diverse range of schools. That will include primary and post-primary schools and urban and rural schools across different geographic areas, including DEIS schools. It is anticipated that every school will eventually get to participate. However, the pilot will include DEIS schools, Irish language schools, Youthreach centres and special schools. As I said earlier, the closing date is 5 March 2018.

Alluding to what Deputy Neville said earlier about the arts in schools, the creative associate will support and be the liaison between the Departments and the schools. The associate will be key to how this pilot project actually works. The project will include many different activities. One example might be developing young people's critical thinking skills by working with a theatre critic to respond to a performance at a local theatre. It could involve a writer working with parents, teachers and children on storytelling, to improve their engagement with reading. It could involve an animator and a coder working with disengaged young people on how to create video games based on their interests. It could explore issues of transition from primary to post-primary education through the composition of music. The scheme could involve a visual artist working with teachers to improve their confidence in using visual arts in the classroom.

Maoiniú Údarás na Gaeltachta

Éamon Ó Cuív


27. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cé mhéad airgid a chuir sí ar fáil d’eagraíochtaí pobalbhunaithe agus comharchumainn Ghaeltachta tríd Údarás na Gaeltachta in 2016 agus 2017; cé mhéad den airgead sin a chaith an t-údarás sa dá bhliain sin faoi seach; cé mhéad atá curtha ar fáil do na heagraíochtaí seo don bhliain 2018; cén ardú a bheidh i gceist do gach eagraíocht; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [9807/18]

Táimid ag iarraidh am a shábhail chun dhá cheist i nGaeilge a ghlacadh.

Mar is eol don Teachta Ó Cuív, is tríd phróiseas na Meastachán agus na cáinaisnéise a dhéantar leithdháileadh ar an soláthar airgid a chuirtear ar fáil ar bhonn bliantúil do mo Roinnse agus, go deimhin, do na Ranna Rialtais go léir. Is as an soláthar airgid a chuirtear ar fáil go bliantúil d'Údarás na Gaeltachta faoi fho-mhír C7 de Vóta mo Roinne a chuirtear cúnamh ar fáil d’eagraíochtaí pobalbhunaithe agus comharchumainn Ghaeltachta. Ar ndóigh, ós rud é gur eagraíocht neamhspleách reachtúil í Údarás na Gaeltachta, tuigfidh an Teachta gur faoin eagraíocht féin atá sé breithniú a dhéanamh ar chonas an chistíocht sin a chur chun fónaimh i gcomhthéacs na gcúraimí atá sainithe di, lena n-áirítear na cúraimí a bhaineann leis an bpróiseas pleanála teanga agus le forbairt pobail araon.

Ina thaobh sin, is €3 milliún agus €3.25 milliún a cuireadh ar fáil don údarás faoin bhfómhír áirithe seo in 2016 agus 2017 faoi seach. Ní miste a mheabhrú don Teachta go bhfuil €3.35 milliún curtha ar fáil don údarás faoin bhfómhír seo do 2018. Is ionann sin agus allúntas reatha breise de €100,000 i mbliana.

Maidir leis na comharchumainn Ghaeltachta agus na heagrais phobalbhunaithe, cuireann Údarás na Gaeltachta deontais reáchtála ar fáil dóibh chun a gcláir fhorbartha a chur i bhfeidhm agus cuidiú leo a gcuid costais bainistíochta agus barrchostas a chlúdach. Seo a leanas an briseadh síos ar an gcúnamh ar fad a d’íoc Údarás na Gaeltachta leis na comharchumainn Ghaeltachta agus na heagrais phobalbhunaithe le cuidiú airgid na Roinne in 2016 agus 2017.





Comharchumann Oileán Árainn Mhór Teo



Comharchumann Forbartha Ghaoth Dobhair Teo



Bhain €28,750 a íocadh in 2017 le 2016.

Comharchumann Oileán Thoraí Teo



Pobal Eascarrach Teo



Comharchumann na nOileán Beag Teo(Ancaire)



Íocadh €8,000 in 2016 a bhain le 2015

Lár Chomhairle Pharóiste Ghleann Teo



Bhain €23,865 a íocadh in 2017 le 2016.

Céim Aniar Teo



Iomlán Dhún na nGall



Comhlacht Forbartha Áitiúil Acla Teo



Comhar Dún Chaocháin Teo



Coiste Cultúr Teanga & Forbartha Tuar Mhic Éadaigh Teo



Comharchumann Forbartha Ionad Deirbhile Teo



Íocadh €10,000 breise leo chun dul i ngleic le costais a thit ar an gcomharchumann de bharr an tragóid a bhain le hingearán R116.

Iomlán Mhaigh Eo



Comharchumann Shailearna Teo



Comharchumann Forbartha Árann Teo



Comhlacht Forbartha an Spidéil CTR Teo



Comhairle Ceantar na nOileán Teo



Comhar Caomhán Teo



Bhí sciar i gcomhair pinsin nár íocadh in 2017.

Comharchumann Dhúiche Sheoigheach Teo



Comhar Chuigéal (Leitir Mealláin) Teo



Forbairt Pobail Mhaigh Cuilinn Teo



Bhain €7,850 a íocadh in 2017 le 2016.

Forbairt Chonamara Láir Teo



Comharchumann Mhic Dara Teo



Comhlacht Forbartha Inis Meáin CTR Teo



Bunaíodh Comhlacht Forbartha Inis Meáin in 2016. Níor íocadh deontas iomlán leo sa mbliain sin.

Iomlán Ghaillimh



Comharchumann Ráth Chairn Teo



Iomlán na Mí



Comharchumann Forbartha Chorca Dhuibhne Teo



Comharchumann An Leith Triúigh Teo



Forbairt na Dromoda Teo



Comhchoiste Gaeltachtaí Chiarraí Theas Teo



Iomlán Chiarraí



Comharchumann Chléire Teo



Comharchumann Forbartha Mhúscraí Teo



Iomlán Chorcaí



Comhlucht Forbartha na nDéise Teo



Iomlán Phort Láirge






Tuigim ón Údarás nach bhfuil cinneadh déanta ag an mBord go fóill maidir le leithdháileadh a dhéanamh ar an soláthar méadaithe atá curtha ar fáil i mbliana.

Tá an tAire Stáit ag rá mar sin, gur cuireadh €100,000 breise ar fáil faoin bhfomhír sin. Tá 32 eagraíocht pobalbhunaithe agus chomharchumann ann. Is ionann sin agus €3,000 breise dóibh. An bhfuil an tAire Stáit sásta go bhfuil deontas dóthanach acu lena ngnó a dhéanamh go héifeachtach nuair a chuirtear é i gcomparáid, mar shampla, leis an deontas a íoctar leis na community development programmes, CDPs?

Tá cuidiú de dhíth amach anseo. Cinnte, tá 32 eagraíocht i gceist. In 2016, bhí €347,615 ar fáil i mo chontae féin, Dún na nGall, agus in 2017, bhí €462,124 ar fáil. I Maigh Eo bhí €187,600 ar fáil in 2016, agus bhí €210,000 ar fáil in 2017. I gceantar an Teachta féin i nGaillimh, bhí €557,388 ar fáil in 2016, agus bhí €648,837 ar fáil in 2017. Sin na figiúirí faoi choinne 2016 agus 2017. Tuigim ón údarás nach bhfuil cinneadh déanta ag an mbord go fóill maidir le leithdháileadh a dhéanamh ar an tsoláthar.

Tá go maith. Tá an t-am istigh. Úsáidfimid an cúpla bomaite atá fágtha chun dul ar aghaidh go tapaidh go dtí Ceist Uimh. 28 in ainm an Teachta Catherine Connolly.

Scéim Éire Ildánach

Catherine Connolly


28. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Catherine Connolly den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cad iad na pleananna agus na socruithe atá eagraithe trí Éire Ildánach do Bhliain na Gaeilge. [10079/18]

D'fhógair mé ar 13 Nollaig 2017 go raibh Bliain Na Gaeilge 2018 faofa ag an Rialtas. Ag tógáil ar rath An Teanga Bheo, a bhí mar shraith faoi Éire 2016: Clár Comórtha, agus i bhfianaise go mbeidh Conradh na Gaeilge ag ceiliúradh 125 bliain d'athbheochan na Gaeilge in 2018, feictear gur togra tráthúil í Bliain na Gaeilge 2018 chun ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar an teanga go náisiúnta agus go hidirnáisiúnta. Ag obair sa Roinn le mo chomhghleacaí, an tAire, an Teachta Madigan, tá an maoiniú a thugtar do na húdaráis áitiúla méadaithe faoi dhó againn trí chlár Éire Ildánach chun cuidiú leis na húdaráis cláracha cultúrtha agus cruthaíochta a fhorbairt go háitiúil.

Sa chomhthéacs seo, d'iarr an Roinn ar na comhordaitheoirí áitiúla imeachtaí a eagrú a bhainfeadh le Bliain na Gaeilge. Chuir foireann Bhliain na Gaeilge tuairimí faoin chaoi inar féidir tabhairt faoi seo ag cruinniú comhordaitheoirí san Ard-Mhúseam ar 22 Feabhra 2018. Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil pleananna á n-eagrú cheana féin dá bharr seo. Chun tacú le gníomhaíochtaí na bliana, cheadaigh Foras na Gaeilge pacáiste airgeadais de €450,000 roimh dheireadh na bliana.

Tá meitheal oibre comhdhéanta d'ionadaíocht ó mo Roinn, Foras na Gaeilge, Údarás na Gaeltachta, RTÉ, TG4 agus Conradh na Gaeilge bunaithe ar mhaithe leis an togra a stiúradh. Anuas ar sin, tá breis agus 50 grúpa ag comhordú féilire d'imeachtaí cruthaitheacha, ealaíne agus pobail atá á n-eagrú ar fud an domhain in 2018, le roinnt tionscadal tábhachtacha a leanfaidh ar aghaidh tar éis na bliana seo. Tá sé i gceist go mbeidh cur chuige tras-Rialtais i gceist agus an bhliain á ceiliúradh. Tá clár imeachtaí Eanáir go Meitheamh foilsithe cheana féin agus is féidir imeachtaí breise a chlárú i gcónaí ar www.gaeilge2018.ie.

Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil an t-am istigh. Tá ceist shimplí agam. Céard iad na pleananna agus na socruithe atá déanta? Is bliain faoi leith í 2018 ós rud é gur Bliain na Gaeilge atá inti. Thug an freagra a léigh an tAire Stáit eolas dúinn faoi na rudaí atá eagraithe ag Conradh na Gaeilge agus eagraíochtaí eile, ach bhain mo cheist go díreach leis "na pleananna agus na socruithe atá eagraithe trí Éire Ildánach do Bhliain na Gaeilge". An bhfuil na nithe a bheidh ar siúl faoin chlár sin go speisialta leagtha amach in áit éigin?

Tá sé soiléir go bhfuil an-fhuinneamh ag an Rialtas chun fógraíocht a dhéanamh ar an bPlean Forbartha Náisiúnta 2018-2027, ach n'fheadar an bhfuil an fuinneamh céanna acu i dtreo Bliain na Gaeilge, a thugann seans dúinn síneadh amach chuig daoine lasmuigh de phobal na Gaeilge. Dúirt an tAire Stáit go bhfuil €450,000 curtha ar fáil. An bhfuil sé sin don chlár é féin nó don fhógraíocht? Níl sé soiléir go bhfuil clár fógraíochta cinnte ann chun Bliain na Gaeilge - an scéim ar fad - a chur os comhair pobail, go háirithe pobail lasmuigh de mhuintir na Gaeilge.

Tá na sonraí ar fáil ar www.gaeilge2018.ie. Tá na sonraí go léir fá choinne an phlean ag Conradh na Gaeilge. Tháinig an smaoineamh maidir le Bliain na Gaeilge ó Chonradh na Gaeilge, atá ag obair go dian agus go cóngarach leis na dreamanna uilig ar an talamh, ar nós na gcomharchumann, Údarás na Gaeltachta agus na h-eagraíochtaí deonaithe. Tá siad ar fad ag obair go dian ar cúpla smaoineamh maidir leis an bplean. Tá sonraí breise agam maidir leis na himeachtaí a bheidh ann i rith na bliana. Beidh mé sásta na sonraí sin a chur ar fáil do na Teachtaí a bhfuil suim acu iontu.

Míle buíochas. Sin deireadh le ceisteanna chun an Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta.