I present to the committee the revised 2001 Estimates for Votes 41 to 43, covering the Arts Council, the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, and the National Gallery. My colleague, Deputy Coughlan, Minister of State, will speak on the subheads relating to the Gaeltacht, the Irish language and the islands.
On Vote 41 the amount secured for the Arts Council for 2001 is £36.519 million. I was particularly pleased with this allocation as the level of funding involved ensures the completion of the second Arts Plan, 1999-2001. Through this plan, the council has adopted a strategy which aims to re-evaluate, re-organise and radically reinvigorate the place of the arts at the heart of society. I support its approach which has the effect of providing more focused and targeted resources to the arts sector.
With regard to Vote 42, the administrative costs of my Department have risen to nearly £32 million, reflecting the increased staff levels and higher running costs associated with an expanding Department.
Subhead C1 provides grant-in-aid for the main cultural institutions. The cultural institutions include the National Museum, National Library, National Archives, National Concert Hall, Chester Beatty Library, Irish Museum of Modern Art and the National Archives Advisory Council. Overall, the allocation to this area increased significantly this year when account is taken of the once-off inclusion of funding of approximately £1 million for the purchase of the Eileen Gray Collection in last year's figures. The additional funding facilitated increases in the 2001 allocations to each of these cultural institutions. The 2001 figures include an additional amount to facilitate the national cultural institutions in developing their collections through the acquisition of appropriate materials and artefacts.
I am particularly pleased that a significant increase, from £682,000 in 2000 to £747,000 in 2001, was possible in the case of the National Archives. This allocation will facilitate the continuation by the National Archives of its conservation programme in partnership with Marsh's Library. Funding for the National Concert Hall has also increased, from £820,000 to £940,000. This increase reflects staffing costs but it allows for the continuation of the concert hall's important education and outreach programme.
The subhead C2 current allocations are for a number of small cultural projects and bodies. These include the Irish Manuscripts Commission, Marsh's Library, Irish Architectural Archive and the Hunt Museum. I am pleased to mention an increase from £107,000 to £200,000 in respect of Marsh's Library. This increase is facilitating the holding of a number of events and activities to mark the tercentenary of the foundation of the library in 1701.
In regard to subhead C3, 2001 will see the winding up of the cultural development incentive scheme (CDIS) which is being replaced by the arts and culture capital enhancement support scheme (ACCESS). A total of £36 million is being allocated to the latter scheme over the 2001-2004 period. I expect to be in a position to announce the projects that will benefit under this scheme in the near future.
In relation to the heritage fund — subhead C4, the Government approved the text of the Heritage Fund Bill on 3 April 2001, and I hope to have the Second Stage of the Bill taken before the summer recess. The Bill provides for the establishment of a heritage fund with an overall limit of £10 million. The purpose of the fund is to build up resources for use by the principal State collecting institutions to acquire items of moveable heritage. These items, which could include manuscripts, books and various works of art, would be rare, above £250,000 in value and be of national importance. In many instances, they could not be acquired otherwise. The collecting institutions involved are the National Museum, the National Library, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery and the National Archives. This year £3 million has been allocated towards the fund.
Turning to broadcasting matters, the committee will be aware that the Broadcasting Act, 2001, was signed into law on 14 March last. The Act provides for the introduction of digital terrestrial television (DTT), the regulation of broadcasting on all delivery platforms from a broadcasting perspective, clarification of RTE's public service remit, the establishment of Teilifís na Gaeilge (TG4) as a separate statutory entity, the abolition of the 3% levy on revenues payable by independent broadcasters and the establishment of a once-off £500,000 fund to assist local and community radio stations with capital costs.
As I said recently in the Dáil, I hope to make an order commencing the Act in its entirety shortly. Upon commencement, the Independent Radio and Television Commission will be renamed the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland and take on new powers and functions. These will include drawing up codes relating to matters of taste and decency in programming, codes of standards for broadcast advertising and sponsorship, and in particular, advertising directed at children, as well as rules relating to the enjoyment of broadcast programmes by the deaf and hard of hearing and the blind and partially sighted.
In addition to the enactment of the legislation, the public phase of the process of selecting the DTT multiplex operator got under way in May, when advertisements were placed in national and international papers inviting interested parties to take part in the process. I understand also that RTE has commenced the public phase of its transmission network sale process and began distribution of its pre-sale document to interested parties on 11 May.
With these developments the statutory and practical arrangements necessary for the introduction of digital television services and the regulation of broadcasting into the future are close to being finalised. Significant additional funding for TG4 has also been provided in subheads O1 and O2. I am confident from my discussions with the Minster for Finance that I can increase this finding significantly again in 2002.
The year 2001 is one for the Irish film sector. Staffing at the Irish Film Board will be increased from seven to 16. These additional resources, half of which will be at senior management level, are vital to ensuring that the Irish Film Board can implement its redefined dynamic role of directing the strategic plan for the Irish film industry. This role was signalled in the context of the recommendations of the film industry strategic review group report produced in 1999.
In November 1999, the Government also noted the proposal in that report for the extension of section 481 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997. In the December 2000 budget the Government confirmed its commitment to encourage and support investment in film production by extending the section 481 tax relief scheme for a further five years. In 2000, 28 projects, comprising 13 indigenous and 15 foreign productions, received section 481 certification authorising the raising of £62.6 million, giving rise to a spend of £72.9 million in Ireland. To date this year a total of 14 projects received section 481 clearances, thus authorising the raising of £35 million in section 481 relief and giving rise to an Irish spend of £54 million.
Another important development for film in Ireland is the Irish Film Board's company development initiative, which I launched recently at the Cannes film festival. This initiative is designed to help a number of start-up Irish production companies to grow over a number of years and to take advantage of the opportunities which are presenting themselves in the current market. I see this initiative as holding great potential to strengthen the overall indigenous industry for the longer term.
The 2001 capital allocation of £7.65 million to the Irish Film Board represents a 60% increase over 1999 in the funding of development and production loans. This reflects the Government's commitment to supporting the new role and direction for the board. The Irish Film Board (Amendment) Act, 2000, had the effect of raising the overall limit of expenditure, which may be incurred by the board in production and development fields from £30 million to £80 million.
Almost £8 million is provided for the Heritage Council in 2001. This includes a provision in subhead P1 for the purchase of a new headquarters building in Kilkenny. On the basis of the funding made available by the Minister, the Heritage Council intends to allocate £900,000 in respect of the Discovery Programme Limited, which is an archaeological research body. This year's level of funding to the council will also facilitate an increased spend on privately held structures which are under threat.
Subhead S provides for the maintenance and management of national parks and Wildlife and includes wages for industrial staff. In addition, the subhead provides funding for the significant compensatory and other costs associated with the implementation in Ireland of the EU Habitats Directive. Funds are also provided under this subhead for the capital development of visitor services related projects at several locations throughout the country.
A sum of £3.52 million is included for the ongoing maintenance and management of national parks and nature reserves, including the payment of wages for industrial staff. Our national parks continue to provide a particularly valuable recreational and educational facility for the public. Indeed, the threat posed by foot and mouth disease earlier this year, which regrettably necessitated the closure of most of our visitor sites for a period, certainly illustrated the importance of these facilities, both nationally and locally, to the tourist industry. Therefore, it is with considerable pride that I can again say that the facilities provided at our national parks represent money well spent and that the important role and standard of these facilities are widely recognised and appreciated by the public and by tourists alike.
A sum of £3.725 million has been allocated in 2001 for the improvement of visitor facilities. The principal projects covered by this provision are Mayo National Park Visitor Centre at Ballycroy; site acquisition for Clara Bog Visitor and Study Centre; Doneraile House restoration in County Cork and Killarney House improvements.
With regard to Waterways Ireland, these are exciting times for inland waterways in Ireland as the new cross-border implementation body, Waterways Ireland, settles into its role of providing a coherent all island strategy for the management of the inland waterways network. The headquarters of the body are in Enniskillen with regional offices in Scarriff, Carrick-on-Shannon and Dublin.
The provision for Waterways Ireland is £22.074 million. The allocation of £14.834 million for current expenditure includes the wages for about 300 staff. During the course of the year the work of these personnel includes an extensive programme of maintenance, which is critical to maintaining the infrastructure of the waterways and to developing boating and other amenities.
The capital allocation £7.24 million provides for the continuing development of facilities and new leisure destinations along the waterways. Works have recently been completed to extend navigation to Boyle, County Roscommon, and along the River Suck to Ballinasloe. Major improvement of the navigation in Limerick city is just complete and this is a major asset for the city and the region generally. All three facilities will be officially opened during the summer period. Further developments will be completed at Scarriff, Ballyleague, Shannonbridge and Ballyconnell this year.
Waterways Ireland has slowly, but surely, improved the Royal and Grand Canals and navigation is now possible on the Royal from Dublin to Abbeyshrule, County Longford. In time, the navigable link to the Shannon will be re-established.
Under subhead T1 an allocation of £100,000 is made to provide for expenses incurred in hosting the World Canals Conference in Dublin, Belfast and Lisburn last month. This world event, attended by delegates from all over the globe, was a great success and I heartily congratulate Waterways Ireland on its organisation.
The 2001 allocation for national monuments and architectural protection is £17.8 million. This figure includes an allocation of £8.343 million for capital works, which are funded under the national development plan. These funds are used to finance a wide range of important infrastructure projects in various parts of the country. A sum of £1.178 million has been provided for work being undertaken to underpin the conservation of our architectural heritage. The legislative and financial aspects of the package of measures for strengthening the protection of the architectural heritage, which I brought forward in conjunction with the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, have been brought into operation. These involved the revision of the planning Acts to provide more stringent protection to structures of architectural significance and an Act to place the national inventory of architectural heritage (NIAH) on a statutory basis. The NIAH will be a key resource in assisting planning authorities in their efforts to achieve the protection of the architectural heritage. To date, 18 town surveys and one interim county survey have been published. This year's programme will see the publication of a further four town surveys and five interim county surveys. I intend that the primary survey will be completed within the next 12 years and that the data obtained will be used for the purpose of recommending to planning authorities that specific properties be included in their record of protected structures.
Funding for the historic properties service of £13.471 million and for guides' pay at national monuments and historic properties of £2.303 million is sourced from subhead U of my Department's Vote. The provision for the current year represents an increase of £591,000 over the 2000 outturn. While the overall allocation is substantial at £15.774 million, the funds are used for a wide range of activities including the conservation, management and development of 21 historic properties in State care, the provision of public access to these properties and the provision of a high quality guide service for approximately 70 sites.
Projects funded from the capital allocation of £6.576 million under the national development plan include the restoration of the Palm House at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin; the reroofing of the west wing and other restoration works at Castletown House, Celbridge; repairs to the roof of the Pearse Museum, St. Enda's Park, Rathfarnham, and the phased restoration of the pleasure gardens at Fota, County Cork. Provision of £1 million is also made under the national development plan for minor capital projects at various historic properties.
Subhead X provides for the promotion of my Department's cultural facilities in Ireland and overseas. One project involves the publication of a quarterly basis of a booklet, "Dublin a magical trail of culture", highlighting the events, concerts, plays, lectures and exhibitions in eight national cultural institutions. The institutions involved are the Chester Beatty Library, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the National Archives, the National Concert Hall, the National Gallery of Ireland, the National Library of Ireland, the National Museum of Ireland and the National Theatre. A website, heritageireland.ie, markets the cultural institutions and heritage sites which have a guide service. The development of business relationships with tour operators and the assembly of digital image banks for the tourism sector are also facilitated by the provision.
These marketing provisions are very important. Consistently, market research cites the quality of cultural and heritage attractions as key determinants of the satisfaction of visitors to our country.
The 2001 allocation of £11.094 million shows an increase of 234% on the 2000 figure for Vote 43 — the National Gallery. This provision reflects the commitment of the Government to the completion of the major extension of the National Gallery on Clare Street. It will also facilitate the securing of exhibits, increase staffing and cover increases in pay and general running costs. I ask you now, Chairman, to call on the Minister of State who will deal with her specific areas within the Department.