Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions

I wish a good morning to the Minister, the Minister of State, Deputies and the staff of the Houses and welcome them all here as we begin another day's work. Our questions this morning are to the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. I remind Members that the procedure is they have 30 seconds to ask a question or less time if they can do so, with two minutes for the Minister to reply, one minute for a supplementary question, one minute for the Minister, a final supplementary question and a final minute for the Minister. I will be very strict on these times to be fair to every Deputy and the Minister. When the time is up, I will tell Deputies and the Minister it is time to finish.

Historic Towns Initiative

Niamh Smyth


1. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if specific consideration will be given to the protection and restoration of market towns and their centres in the context of a future historic towns initiative; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16781/19]

I understand Deputy Aindrias Moynihan is taking the question.

This question relates to the historic towns initiative, a small but important fund which can have a great impact on communities where it is deployed. It provides an opportunity for market towns to restore buildings and facilities such as the Briery Gap in Macroom, County Cork, which stands adjacent to the fantastic market square. Is the Minister considering additional funding in this area and supports to the historic towns initiative?

My role with regard to the protection and management of our architectural heritage is set out in the provisions of relevant legislation, as are the roles of local authorities and the responsibilities of owners.

The historic towns initiative is a joint undertaking between my Department and the Heritage Council. Historic towns include those of medieval and pre-medieval foundation, plantation towns, planned estate towns and those established around local industries. While almost all Irish towns are historic in origin, the historic towns initiative guidelines state a town seeking to benefit from the initiative should possess significant cultural and heritage assets and have a distinctive sense of place.

Each local authority is invited to apply in respect of one historic town with an indicative minimum population of 1,500 inhabitants. Priority is given to projects that are plan-led and likely to make a meaningful contribution to the heritage-led regeneration of the town.

The existing initiative commends itself fully to market towns for their consideration. While it is not a criterion for funding, all the towns awarded grants can be described as market towns. On 27 February, with the Heritage Council, I announced funding of €1 million shared by six towns under the 2019 programme round. These towns are Kilrush, County Clare, Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ballina, County Mayo, Navan, County Meath, Boyle, County Roscommon, and Nenagh, County Tipperary.

Deputy Niamh Smyth has inquired about the Market House, Castleblayney. Monaghan County Council was granted €140,000 in funding under the historic towns initiative. I am not sure if Macroom has applied for funding but it will be open again next year.

I thank the Minister for her reply.

The scheme as it stands is limited. Some counties have multiple projects which they would like to put forward for the scheme. While the €1 million in funding made available is welcome and will make a difference to various areas, it is also limited. For example, redevelopment of the Briery Gap in Macroom would cost in excess of €4 million but there is only €1 million available in the entire fund.

What other options is the Minister considering for projects such as this? Is there an opportunity to broaden it out in order that local authorities which have more projects can put them forward to be considered?

The term “market town” has no legal effect but it is still used loosely to describe a town which functions or functioned historically as a commercial centre for a rural hinterland. All the towns given grants under the historic towns initiative could be described as market towns but this is not a criterion for funding. The grant circular suggests an indicative minimum population level of 1,500 inhabitants and asks local authority applications to set out various criteria such as the significance of the town and its heritage.

There are supports available for local authorities interested in applying for the initiative. Information is available from the Heritage Council and from its website. In the past, the Heritage Council has held well-attended workshops for local authority personnel who are interested in applying for the scheme. It is proposed to run similar events in the future. In November 2018, I announced €4.3 million in funding for the built heritage investment scheme and the historic structures fund in 2019. This scheme is for the repair and conservation of structures on local authority records of protected structures. There is also funding available from the Department of Rural and Community Development.

I have outlined the cost of the redevelopment of the Briery Gap in Macroom at €4 million and I note funding has been made available in respect of the Market House in Castleblayney. However, it falls short of what would achieve a good result there. Is the Minister willing to commission a short, targeted survey of the level of funding required for projects such as the market towns with a view to ascertaining if the scale of funding is adequate? Are there ways of broadening it out to ensure the towns and the aforementioned projects can reach their full cultural and tourism potential?

There is always room to streamline and improve existing schemes and funds. I am satisfied with the amount of grants available, €1 million, for market towns in 2019. Towns which have benefitted are Kilrush, Letterkenny, Ballina, Navan, Boyle and Nenagh. In 2018, a further €1 million was given to market towns such as Youghal, Ballinrobe, Kells, Carrick-on-Suir, Portlaoise and Kilmallock, County Limerick.

Monaghan County Council had applied for funding for works to the Market House in Castleblayney and was granted €140,000. These works were to commence the process of stabilising the building. That application was later withdrawn, however, by the local authority because of its growing appreciation of further works which needed to be done and the likelihood, therefore, that the funding awarded would not have made a significant difference to the future of the building, which needs a much larger-scale intervention. There was a Commencement matter in the Seanad specifically on the Castleblayney project on 19 February 2019.

Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla

Aengus Ó Snodaigh


2. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cén dul chun cinn atá déanta maidir le Bille na dTeangacha Oifigiúla (Leasú) 2019 a fhoilsiú. [16780/19]

Cén fáth nach bhfuil Bille na dteangacha oifigiúla (leasú) foilsithe go dtí seo? Cén moill atá ar an bhfoilsiú sin?

Mar chúlra, is iarracht é an Bille seo, trí na ceannteidil éagsúla, timpeallacht a chruthú ina mbeidh ról níos lárnaí ag an teanga in obair an Stáit, go mbeidh an teanga níos feiceálaí, agus go mbeidh fáil níos leithne ar sheirbhísí trí Ghaeilge. Agus an Bille á thabhairt chun cinn, cuireadh tréimhse chomhairliúcháin ar bun leis na páirtithe leasmhara. Leagadh na ceannteidil faoi bhráid Chomhchoiste na Gaeilge, na Gaeltachta agus na nOileán agus foilsíodh tuarascáil ag eascairt as an bpróiseas seo roimh shamhradh 2018. Tá an tuarascáil sin scrúdaithe anois ag mo Roinn i gcomhthéacs dhréachtú an Bhille. Beidh sé mar ollchuspóir sa Bhille go mbeidh 20% de na daoine nua a earcaítear don tseirbhís phoiblí inniúil sa Ghaeilge, go mbeidh gach oifig phoiblí atá lonnaithe sa Ghaeltacht ag feidhmiú trí Ghaeilge, agus go mbeidh comhlachtaí poiblí in ann freastal ar an éileamh ón bpobal ar sheirbhísí trí Ghaeilge. Is í an earcaíocht croílár na ceiste agus táim dóchasach gur féidir tógáil, ar bhonn chéimiúil, ar líon na bhfostaithe le Gaeilge sa státchóras agus, ag eascairt as sin, go mbeifear in ann feabhas a chur ar sholáthar seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge, mar is cóir. Tá oifigigh mo Roinne ag obair faoi láthair i gcomhair le hOifig an Ard-Aighne chun Bille na dteangacha oifigiúla (leasú) a dhréachtú. Tá an Bille san áireamh i gclár reachtaíochta an Rialtais le foilsiú roimh an samhradh agus tá mé tiomanta chun é sin a dhéanamh.

Mar is eol don Teachta, toisc go raibh Oifig an Ard-Aighne agus na dréachtóirí dírithe ar cheist an Bhreatimeachta, bhí moill in 2019 ar aon reachtaíocht seachas na sé Bhille ar tugadh tosaíocht dóibh.

Pléadh ceist an Bhille seo ag cruinniú coicís ó shin. Bhí teagmháil idir Oifig an Ard-Aighne agus mo Roinn ó shin. Chuir mo Roinn breis eolais ar aghaidh maidir le ceannteidil an Bhille. Tá Oifig an Ard-Aighne ag déileáil leis na ceannteidil sin. Tá an oifig sin ag breathnú ar aghaidh ar ullmhú agus dréachtú an Bille tábhachtach seo.

Tuigim an fhadhb a bhí ann maidir leis an mBreatimeacht ach, má leanann plé ar an mBreatimeacht ar feadh bliana eile, beidh moill ar an reachtaíocht seo toisc go bhfuilimid ag brath go huile is go hiomlán ar dhréachtóirí, mar a luaigh an tAire Stáit. Táim buíoch go raibh cruinniú ag an Aire Stáit leis na hurlabhraithe sa Dáil agus leis na dréachtóirí ar an ábhar seo ach, sin ráite, tá frustrachas ar phobal na Gaeilge, sa Teach seo ach go háirithe, mar gheall ar an mhoill atá ar dhul chun cinn an Bhille seo.

Níl an frustrachas orainn amháin. Sa tuarascáil a d'fhoilsigh an Coimisinéir Teanga níos luaithe sa mhí, dúirt sé: "B’ábhar díomá dom, áfach, nár tapaíodh an deis an bhliain a mharcáil ar bhealach a d’fhágfadh rian buan go reachtúil, trí na leasuithe atá beartaithe a dhéanamh ar Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla a fhoilsiú i bhfoirm Bille agus é a thabhairt go ceannscríbe tríd an bpróiseas reachtúil ina dhiaidh sin." Tá sé ag rá go lom gur gá é seo a dhéanamh. Tá easpa an Bhille seo ag cur moille ar rudaí eile a bhfuil gá leo maidir le cearta teanga don ghnáthshaoránach. Impím arís ar an Aire Stáit dáta a thabhairt dúinn chun go mbeidh a fhios againn cén uair a bheidh an Bille foilsithe. Nuair a fhoilseofar é, beidh ról le himirt aige.

Ní bheidh mé ag cur an mhilleáin ar an mBreatimeacht as seo amach. Tá an obair sin críochnaithe anois ag na dréachtóirí agus ag Oifig an Ard-Aighne. Aontaím go bhfuil frustrachas ar dhaoine, an Coimisinéir Teanga san áireamh. Bhí mé i dteagmháil leis an tseachtain seo caite. Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil frustrachas ar Chathaoirleach an Chomhchoiste na Gaeilge, na Gaeltachta agus na nOileán, ar an Teachta Ó Snodaigh, agus ar urlabhraí gach uile pháirtí sa Teach seo agus sa Seanad. Tá frustrachas ar Chonradh na Gaeilge freisin. Tá frustrachas orm freisin ó thaobh na moille atá ar an mBille seo, ach tá a fhios agam go bhfuil na dréachtóirí agus feidhmeannaigh mo Roinne ag obair chun a chinntiú go mbeidh an Bille seo foilsithe roimh an samhradh. Tá sé sin an-tábhachtach do gach uile duine. Tá an-obair déanta ag an gcoiste ar an ábhar seo. Caithfimid leanúint ar aghaidh agus an Bille a fhoilsiú. Mar a dúirt mé, táim tiomanta é seo a dhéanamh chomh luath agus is féidir.

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Aire Stáit as am a thabhairt dúinn. Beidh an Bille foilsithe roimh an samhradh. Mura bhfuil, beimid anuas air arís dá bharr. Bhí géarghá leis seo ón uair a tháinig an Bille ar an bhfód ar an gcéad dul síos. Ó bunaíodh Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga, tá daoine ag déanamh gearáin faoi easpa seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge gur chóir go mbeadh ann. Níl ról ag an gCoimisinéir Teanga maidir leis na gearáin sin so ní féidir leis iniúchadh a dhéanamh. Tá sé sin ráite aige arís i mbliana. Dúirt sé an rud céanna gach uile bhliain ó thosaigh a oifig ag foilsiú tuairiscí. Bíonn méid áirithe gearán nach mbíonn sé in ann déileáil leo. Sin an fáth go bhfuil frustrachas ann agus gur gá go mbeidh deifir ann chun é seo a fhoilsiú. Táimid sásta tacú leis an Aire Stáit más féidir leis cloí leis an dáta agus má tá an Bille seo foilsithe roimh an samhradh. Déanfaimid ár ndícheall a chinntiú go mbeidh Bille nua ann roimh dheireadh na bliana.

Mar a dúirt mé, beidh mé ag coimeád brú ar m'fheidhmeannaigh, ar Oifig an Ard-Aighne, agus ar na dréachtóirí. Bíonn cruinnithe agam, mar phríomh Aire Stáit, le feidhmeannaigh Oifig an Ard-Aighne gach uile trí seachtaine nó thart air sin chun dul chun cinn reachtaíochta atá ar an liosta tosaigh, agus aon fhadhbanna leo, a phlé. Tá an Bille seo ar bharr mo liosta. Tá a fhios ag na dréachtóirí faoi sin. Tá siad ag obair ar an mBille. Tá an-tábhacht ag baint leis ó thaobh an phróisis earcaíochta, ó thaobh caighdeán Gaeilge, agus ó thaobh cuid de na fadhbanna a bhíonn i gcónaí á bplé ag an gCoimisinéir Teanga agus a bhíonn á bplé sna meáin, mar shampla, na rudaí a tháinig amach i rith na seachtaine maidir leis an síneadh fada ar ainmneacha daoine. Is drochrud é sin d'aon duine. Tá an ceart ag daoine a n-ainmneacha a bheith scríofa i gceart ag gach uile eagraíocht Stáit. Beidh sé sin leagtha amach sa reachtaíocht nua.

Oideachas trí Ghaeilge

Aindrias Moynihan


3. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aindrias Moynihan den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta nuashonrú a dhéanamh ar aon phlé a bhí aici féin nó ag oifigí na Roinne leis an Aire Oideachais agus Scileanna, leis an bhForas Pátrúnachta, le Gaeloideachas Teoranta, nó leis an gCoimisinéir Teanga maidir leis an gcaoi ar féidir roghanna tuismitheoirí i leith na Gaelscolaíochta a léiriú tuilleadh i bpróisis phátrúnachta as seo amach. [16797/19]

Tá faillí á dhéanamh ar an nGaolainn agus ar an nGaelscolaíocht toisc an córas atá ann chun Gaelscoileanna nua a bhunú. In ainneoin an éilimh atá ann, níl an líon scoileanna nua ar fáil. Tá sé seo ag teacht salach ar ghealltanais sa straitéis 20 bliain faoi mar atá sé. Caithfidh an tAire Stáit dul i ngleic leis seo agus é a phlé leis an Aire Oideachais agus Scileanna chun scoileanna breise a chur ar fáil sna háiteanna ina bhfuil an t-éileamh chun freastal ar mhuintir na Gaolainne.

Níl aon ról reachtúil agam maidir leis an bpróiseas pátrúnachta do scoileanna nua. Mar a cuireadh in iúl don Teach i mo fhreagra ar Cheist Uimh. 629 den 2 Aibreán 2019, áfach, bhí plé neamhfhoirmiúil cheana féin idir oifigigh shinsireach mo Roinn agus páirtithe leasmhara eile, an scátheagraíocht do scoileanna lán-Ghaeilge, Gaeloideachas Teoranta, An Coimisinéir Teanga agus Conradh na Gaeilge san áireamh, maidir le héileamh ón bpobal ar oideachas lán-Ghaeilge agus an próiseas chun Gaelscoileanna a aithint, ach go háirithe. Baineann tábhacht ar leith leis an tsaincheist seo d’obair mo Roinne maidir le cur i bhfeidhm na Straitéise 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge 2010-2030 agus, i bhfianaise sin, mar a gealladh don Teach le linn na díospóireachta maidir leis an Ghaeilge i rith Sheachtain na Gaeilge, tá i gceist agam an cheist a ardú arís le mo chomhghleacaí, an tAire Oideachais agus Scileanna.

An méid sin ráite, cuirim fáilte roimh fhógra an Aire Oideachais agus Scileanna le déanaí go bhfuil dhá Ghaelscoil nua i measc na scoileanna nua a bheidh le tógáil sa chúpla bliain atá amach romhainn. Tá sé léirithe, áfach, ó na pobalbhreitheanna a rinneadh le linn an phróisis is déanaí, go bhfuil éileamh áirithe ann i measc an phobail do níos mó soláthair san earnáil seo. Táim ag súil, mar sin, le deis a fháil labhairt le mo chomhghleacaí, an tAire Oideachais agus Scileanna, chun féachaint an bhfuil bealaí ann le freastal ar an éileamh sin.

Bhí díospóireacht againn sa Teach i rith Sheachtain na Gaeilge agus d'ardaigh an chuid is mó de chainteoirí an cheist seo. Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil an t-éileamh ann. Mar a dúirt mé, tá sé sin pléite idir mo Roinn agus an Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna agus idir mé féin agus mo chomhghleacaí, an tAire, an Teachta McHugh, go neamhfhoirmiúil ó thaobh an phróisis. Is é an tAire, an Teachta McHugh, atá freagrach as an gceist seo go hoifigiúil.

Ar an gcéad dul síos, glacaim leis gurb é an tAire Oideachais agus Scileanna an ceannródaí maidir leis seo ach, mar Aire Stáit a bhfuil freagracht air as an nGaeltacht agus as an nGaolainn, is ar an Teachta Kyne atá an fhreagracht chun a chinntiú go bhfuil an straitéis á comhlíonadh agus go bhfuil freastal á dhéanamh ar mhuintir na Gaolainne. Tá an t-éileamh ann. Glacaimid go léir leis sin. Feicfimid go bhfuil bearna mhór ann ó thaobh an éilimh sin. Níl ach thart ar 10% de na scoileanna ar fad, idir bunscoileanna agus iar-bhunscoileanna, ina scoileanna lán-Ghaeilge in ainneoin go bhfuil thart ar 23% de dhaoine sásta freastal ar an sórt scoile sin de réir staidéar de chuid an ESRI. Mar a luaigh an tAire Stáit, tá dhá scoil nua aitheanta ag tosach na bliana, ach ní líonfar an bhearna sin riamh má leantar leis an ráta sin - dhá scoil as deich. Caithfidh go mbeidh níos mó ann go práinneach. Deineadh an patrúnacht sin a scaoileadh ag tús na bliana in ainneoin go raibh a fhios againn go raibh bearna ann anuraidh. D'fhéadfaí a bheith tar éis feabhas a chur ar an scéal dá mba rud é go raibh níos mó práinne. Iarraim ar an Aire Stáit luí go daingean ar an Aire Oideachais agus Scileanna agus a chinntiú go mbeidh dul chun cinn anseo go práinneach.

We are going to have to stick to our times. I call the Minister of State, Deputy Seán Kyne.

Tá an Teachta ceart ó thaobh na straitéise de. Is mise atá freagrach as an Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge agus gan an dá ghníomh atá san áireamh sa phlean gníomhaíochta don Ghaeilge maidir le cur i bhfeidhm na straitéise a foilsíodh anuraidh, deirtear i gníomh 1.3.3 go gcruthófar idir 2019 agus 2022: "deiseanna do leathnú ar an oideachas trí mheán na Gaeilge lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht i gcomhthéacs na 42 scoil nua a bhunófar, agus bunú Gaelscoileanna, Gaelcholáistí agus Aonaid Lán-Ghaeilge mar chuid den phróiseas pátrúnachta nua san áireamh". Anuas ar sin deirtear i gníomh 1.3.4 go ndéanfar le linn tréimhse feidhme an phlean: "measúnú ar an éileamh ar sholáthar méadaithe do scoileanna a fheidhmíonn trí mheán na Gaeilge mar chuid den Phróiseas um Athchumrú Scoileanna." Is ar an Aire Oideachais agus Scileanna atá an freagracht as an dá thaobh seo a chur i bhfeidhm ach mar is eol don Teachta, tá coiste monatóireachta ag déanamh monatóireachta ar chur i bhfeidhm an phlean bunaithe ar na nithe sin agus tá feidhmeannaigh ón Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna, ó mo Roinn agus ó Ranna eile a bhíonn ag suí síos chun na ceisteanna sin a phlé.

Tá a fhios againn le fada go bhfuil an t-éileamh ann agus tá a fhios againn go bhfuil an córas lochtach. Mar sin, caithfí gníomhú le níos mó fuinnimh agus níos mó práinne. Scaoileadh ar aghaidh an beart deireanach de na scoileanna, in ainneoin is go raibh an córas lochtach agus go raibh an bearna ann. Caithfí a bheith níos práinní mar gheall ar freastail a dhéanamh ar mhuintir Gaolainne agus ar Ghaelscolaíocht. Tá bearna ann, tá éileamh ann agus caithfí a bheith níos práinní leis. An dóigh leis an Aire Stáit go bhfuil práinn go leor nó iarracht go leor á dhéanamh ag an Aire? Ní dóigh liomsa go bhfuil. An bhfuil an tAire Stáit sásta leis an gcóras mar atá sé? Cé chomh tapa is a bheidh réiteach ag an Aire Stáit? Tá locht ann, tá bearna agus caithfí dul i ngleic leis go tapa.

Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil éileamh ann. Fáiltím go bhfuil cinneadh déanta ag an Aire dhá scoil nua a bhunú tríd an bpátrúnacht Gaolainn agus tá sé sin fíorthábhachtach. Mar a dúirt mé, tá dul chun cinn suntasach déanta sa phlean a d'fhoilsigh muid i mí an Mheithimh anuraidh cheana féin chun tús a chur leis a chur i bhfeidhm. Tá coiste stiúrtha ann atá freagrach as monatóireacht a dhéanamh ar chur i bhfeidhm bunaithe agus bhí dhá chruinniú ag an gcoiste stiúrtha sin. Tá an plean leagtha amach. Tá sé leagtha amach freisin go bhfuil amchlár ann don Roinn chun na gníomhartha a chur i bhfeidhm. Beidh mo Roinn agus an Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna i dteagmháil le chéile. Tá an coiste stiúrtha ag déanamh monatóireachta ar chur i bhfeidhm an phlean. Tá plean leagtha amach, tá an amchlár leagtha amach, tá an coiste stiúrtha-----


Lig don Aire Stáit críochnú.

Tá an plean ann, tá an t-amchlár ann agus tá an coiste stiúrtha chun é a chur i bhfeidhm ann. Tá chuile rud le chéile agus beidh dul chun cinn déanta.

City of Culture Initiative

Aengus Ó Snodaigh


4. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her views on whether an imaginative programme can be rolled out by Galway 2020 as the city celebrates the title of European City of Culture; and her further views on whether it was the right decision not to have an open call for additional projects for the 2020 programme. [16485/19]

This question is on the supposed imaginative programme we were hoping to see as part of Galway 2020. Was the right decision made in not having an open call for additional projects for the Galway 2020 programme? I ask that given the debacle in planning we have seen so far.

Galway 2020's ambition is to deliver an artistic and cultural programme that will exceed expectations and leave a lasting legacy for Galway city and county. Artichoke, under the leadership of Helen Marriage, was appointed in January 2019 to deliver the creative directorship role for the project. Artichoke is well known globally for the successful delivery of large-scale and unique cultural events and performances and has a proven track record in programming, funding and audience development. This expertise and creativity will be brought to bear in an imaginative programme for Galway 2020.

The Government has committed €15 million towards the funding of Galway 2020 as the European Capital of Culture. The terms and conditions for the provision of the funding are set out in a performance delivery agreement between my Department and Galway 2020. The agreement addresses the roles and responsibilities of the Department and Galway 2020 in the provision and expenditure of the grant, as well as the key deliverables and performance indicators attached to the drawdown of the grant, and the monitoring and reporting arrangements in place.

On 31 January 2019, my Department received the first management and auditors' report under the performance delivery agreement from Galway 2020, in advance of a monitoring meeting with the company the following week. The management report sets out the progress made by Galway 2020 in recent months, including the appointment of a new chief executive, the appointment of new board members, the board and audit committee meetings held, the periodic reviews of risks undertaken, the progress on the development of the cultural programme including the European dimension, community engagement, staffing and the development of the partnership and monitoring and evaluation programmes.

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that Galway 2020 has just announced an exciting open call for communities to develop projects for the cultural programme for Galway 2020 as the European Capital of Culture. Funding of €200,000 will be awarded by Galway 2020 across the successful community groups to create and deliver thrilling projects that could transform their communities. These projects will form an integral part of the cultural programme for 2020.

The Minister will have more to time to expand on that. I call Deputy Ó Snodaigh.

It is welcome news that there is an open call. I question whether that fund of €200,000 will be enough to address existing needs. Will many of the artists and practitioners of the arts in Galway, who were left out of Galway 2020, be able to avail of it? Their contributions will help to leave a lasting legacy. My other concern is that the budget thus far has been heavily reliant on the State and local authorities. There has always been an expectation in every European Capital of Culture that a substantial amount of private funding will be attracted. Is the Minister happy with the level of private sponsorship secured to date for the projects and for the roll-out of Galway 2020?

I am satisfied that Galway 2020 is progressing well with developing an imaginative and effective European Capital of Culture programme and look forward to a successful and impactful year that will serve to highlight further the vibrant and diverse cultural offering both in Galway and in Ireland as a whole. I believe we will deliver that with the finances available. The total project investment for 2020 is €37.9 million. Turning to sponsorship in general, Ms Patricia Philbin, the former chief executive officer, CEO, of Galway County Council, is very enthusiastic and confident that the total target of €7 million will be achieved. The total received in sponsorship was €133,477 as of 31 December. There is still a ways to go but we are confident it will be achieved. Other funding is available, as Deputy Ó Snodaigh mentioned. Galway City Council is providing €3.9 million, Galway County Council is providing €2 million, the Government is providing €15 million and there is also EU funding of about €1.5 million. The sponsorship mentioned by Deputy Snodaigh has that target of €7 million. Other local and regional authorities are providing €900,000 and there will also be other non-direct funding of €9.7 million.

I agree with the Minister that Galway is best placed to deliver a welcome as the European Capital of Culture 2020. I say that given the range of artists living in the city. If an imaginative project was in place with proper funding, State and public, I would then be happy to rely on that approach. There is a long way to go, however, given only some €133,000 has been identified from the target of €7 million in private sponsorship.

The Minister's Fine Gael Party colleague, Councillor Padraig Conneely, has been very critical of that aspect, in particular. There needs to be more than just a wish to achieve the target because a shortfall of €7 million will undermine the entire project. Given that we are less than a year away, what steps can the Minister take to ensure private funding will be found? It is key to the project. Will the State have to step in to match the shortfall figure?

I do not expect there to be a shortfall. There is an EU monitoring panel for Galway 2020 which has implemented many of the recommendations made by the panel, aside from the performance delivery agreement into which my Department has entered with Galway 2020. The recommendations include the recruitment of new cultural leadership; the progression of the European dimension of the programme which includes a partnership with EUREKA 2020; capacity building programmes with EU partners in Germany, Austria and Belgium; the completion of partnerships for 31 EU artists; a review of the organisational structure; and the development of a communications strategy to include tourism and volunteer programmes, as well as city and county road shows early in 2019 and during the year. It is also working with NUIG on the evaluation and monitoring mechanisms, all of which are important to ensure we will have a really vibrant and fantastic year-long celebration of Galway 2020. There will be street spectacles, exhibitions, readings, concerts, dance school projects, children's events, musical performances, digital encounters, live art, theatre, circus, public art, heritage and food events. I could go on forever. It is going to be a wonderful programme which we are very confident will be a success.

Museum Projects

Joan Burton


5. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to secure a permanent home for a museum (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16769/19]

What are the plans of the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to secure a permanent home for the Women's Museum of Ireland, a museum that hopes to educate the public about the contributions made by women to the cultural, political and social history of Ireland and will she make a statement on the matter? However, Members will see that the printed paper in front of them contains no reference to a women's museum. The question, as printed, is: "To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to secure a permanent home for a museum (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter". In all of my experience as a Deputy, I have never experienced such censorship in tabling a question.

The Deputy has had 30 seconds in which to put her question. She will have two further opportunities to come back to the Minister.

In my copy it refers to “details supplied” and is elaborated on as referring to the Women’s Museum of Ireland. Therefore, I not sure to what the Deputy is referring. It was quite clear to me that she was talking about a women’s museum.

As the Deputy will be aware, the decade of centenaries has provided us all with an opportunity to examine in more detail the historical role of women in Ireland. My Department produced a pop-up museum to mark 100 years of women in politics and public life on the centenary of the 1918 general election when women were able to vote and stand as candidates in parliamentary elections for the first time. To date, this exhibition has enjoyed a successful run in both the Coach House at Dublin Castle and in Istabraq Hall in Limerick and has now opened in its latest location at Donegal County Museum in Letterkenny. The exhibition looks at the key women who have contributed in the past 100 years to shaping the State and also looks at social and political issues which affected women by providing a timeline of the century - the feminisation of Irish history. Sinéad McCoole did a fantastic job in curating the exhibition.

We are all conscious that the representation of women in history has only recently received the level of attention that is justified. It is important that young people have a full understanding of the history of our society as it is only then they will be able to learn from that history. In my view, the institution best placed to tell the story of our society is the National Museum of Ireland. The museum is planning to develop and deliver a new permanent exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts and History, which will explore the last 120 years of Irish history. The exhibition will outline the sociopolitical and cultural changes in our country during this time. I see it as an ideal opportunity to explore the role of women and the contribution they have made to the development of our society.

I ask for help from the Acting Chairman on this point. In all of my time in the Dáil I have never had a question censored in such a way as to fundamentally alter its meaning. This is a question about a programme which has been in existence as a virtual museum for a number of years. I asked if the Minister had plans to find a permanent home for the Women's Museum of Ireland. She has told us about pop-ups. Pop-ups are great and I attended the functions to which the Minister referred. I commend her on the pop-ups, but a pop-up is not a permanent exhibition, of the kind to which we are accustomed in celebrating the activities of men in the history, culture and arts of the country. I would like the Minister to explain why my question was censored and edited in the way it was. If there was a problem with it, the normal courtesy in this House is to contact the Member to tell him or her that there is a problem and suggest rephrasing may be necessary. I am used to that happening and also have questions transferred to other Ministers. This is important as it silences the issue related to the Women's Museum of Ireland. That is the question to which I am, respectfully, asking the Minister to respond.

I understand the Deputy's frustration, but if she has an issue, she should get back to the Ceann Comhairle's office about it. I have to keep to the time limits.

I have often seen questions with the words "details supplied" shown in brackets, whether it refers to a theatre or a museum, etc. I do not think it is specific to this question, but I am not the Ceann Comhairle and, as the Acting Chairman said, the Deputy should check with him. This certainly did not come from my Department because the particular museum referred to by the Deputy was outlined to me.

The National Museum of Ireland is best placed to examine the role of women in the history of Ireland. As a woman, I have a particular interest in the subject. There is the Women's Museum of Ireland, but it does not have a permanent home. The organisation seems to be particularly interested in the place of women in history and I have suggested there be formal engagement between the Women's Museum of Ireland and the National Museum of Ireland, although to date I understand there has not been any such engagement. The National Museum of Ireland plans to reach out to the Women's Museum of Ireland during the development of the History of Ireland gallery, which might go some way towards helping with what the Deputy suggests. What she has said has merit and is worth exploring.

Many countries have a number of museums devoted to women and various elements of their lives. The National Museum of Ireland has been hopeless on the subject of women. It has a small exhibition in Collins Barracks on Eileen Gray from Wexford who was probably the most famous designer in the early 20th century. In the south of France she built one of the most outstanding houses of early 20th century design. She is world famous. There is a full museum dedicated to her, although small and specialist. I am asking the Minister with responsibility for culture to think outside the box. For the 1916 Rising commemoration, the National Gallery of Ireland put on a very small exhibition in a room on the third or fourth floor dedicated to Constance Markievicz.

I am talking about full recognition of the role of women and their contribution to Irish and international history. The Minister should seize the opportunity to promote what women have done in Irish history.

As I outlined, there are exhibitions running, including Sinéad McCoole's archival collection which I am sure the Deputy has seen and which is currently being exhibited in County Donegal. The best people to work on this issue are in the National Museum of Ireland and the Women's Museum of Ireland. I understand a former employee of the National Museum of Ireland and a member of its education team, Ms Holly Furlong, is on the board of the Women's Museum of Ireland. There is the opportunity to explore the possibility of organising a permanent exhibition. If there is to be a permanent place for women's effects, it is important that it be rolled out across the country. It should be brought around the country in order that students and others would be able to see 120 years of Irish history. This is something that is being considered by the museum. There should be a way to incorporate women's place in it in order that we are not airbrushed out of history. It is of importance to me that it be considered. Therefore, I take the Deputy's comments very seriously and thank her for raising the matter.