Estimates for the Public Services, 1995:

Vote 42 — Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht (Revised Estimate).
Vote 43 — National Gallery.
Vote 44 — An Chomhairle Ealaíon (Revised Estimate).

The suggested timetable for today's meeting has been circulated. This timetable is intended to assist in the discharging of our business in an efficient fashion but it is not rigid and I propose to adopt a reasonably flexible approach on the matter. Is the timetable agreed to? Agreed.

This select committee is considering the Estimates for the Department of Acts, Culture and the Gaeltacht. I am sure many Members will wish to contribute and we look forward to a constructive discussion.

Is mór an phribhléid dom na Meastacháin seo: Vóta 42, £60.665 milliún don Roinn Ealaíon, Cultúir agus Gaeltachta; Vóta 43, £1.74 milliún don Ghailearaí Náisiúnta agus Vóta 44, £16.25 milliún don Chomhairle Ealaíon don bhliain dar críoch 31 Nollaig 1995, a chur os comhair an Choiste seo.

Members of the committee will already have received a briefing note setting out the details of our Estimates with some background information, I do not, therefore, propose to dwell on the minutiae of the figures. References to the different areas of the Votes will be in the order set out in the 1995 Revised Estimates for the Public Service.

An exciting development is now taking shape in the new facility for the National Museum in the Collins Barracks complex. The provision of £10 million in the 1994 budget enabled work to be expedited on the first phase of the project. I am pleased to say that, with the co-operation of the Defence Forces — and I would like to acknowledge that — a complete conversion and transformation of the Clark Square segment of the site has taken place. Work is continuing in planning the first exhibitions to take place there is 1996.

Deputies will be interested to learn that the interim board, which I appointed last year to advise me on the future direction of the museum, including staff resources and the Collins Barracks requirements, has submitted its final report this week. I am deeply appreciative of the time and efforts which the members expended on producing this comprehensive report but as I am still examining their recommendations, I will not dwell on them today.

Construction and conversion work is also proceeding rapidly on the refurbishment of the clock tower building in Dublin Castle which will become the new home for the Chester Beatty Library. As I indicated last year, I envisage this to be ready for occupation by the library in 1997 and I am in negotiation with the trustees of the library regarding a new relationship between the library and the State, on foot of the significant investment involved on the part of the State.

Under the reorganised arrangements established between my Department and An Chomhairle Ealaíon, funding from my Department's Vote was determined for the National Concert Hall, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the National Theatre Society, acting on the advice of An Chomhairle. The new arrangements are of benefit to all concerned and I look forward to this continued source of advice in future years.

Members will be aware that the EU Operational Programme for Tourism is one of the operational programmes in which funds for this area are included. A significant proportion of the moneys available to me for the cultural elements of that operational programme have now been earmarked for the major cultural institutions through the Office of Public Works. I have also initiated a capital programme for the arts aimed at local projects which have a cultural as well as a tourism element. This scheme was substantially oversubscribed with some 170 applications asking for assistance. My Department is now in the process of assessing these applications and I am arranging for the establishment of a committee comprising representatives of my Department, An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the regions to make recommendations to me based on these assessments.

Subhead C2 includes a provision of £500,000 in respect of "L'Imaginaire Irlandais", a manifestation of contemporary Irish art and culture being organised for Paris and the French regions, commencing in the spring of 1996. It will immediately precede the Irish presidency of the EU. In all, £1.5 million will be spent by Ireland on this project.

The Heritage Act, 1995, was enacted recently. One of the main purposes of the Act is to establish a statutory corporation, to be known as An Chomhairle Oidhreachta or the Heritage Council, to perform certain functions in relation to the physical heritage. This body will replace the existing non-statutory National Heritage Council which was established in 1988 and which held its last meeting yesterday. It is appropriate that I take this further opportunity to express my thanks to the members of the council in general and in particular, to Lord Killanin for his excellent chairmanship.

The establishment of the Heritage Council, as I said in the Dáil, is part of a major package of heritage legislation, some of which has already been enacted and the remainder of which is currently being prepared by my Department. The National Monuments (Amendment) Act, 1994, was enacted last year and work is progressing on other proposals to amend the Wildlife Act and to provide new legislation in relation to parks and to give autonomy to the National Museum and the National Library. With the enactment of this body of legislation, we will have provided a solid, statutory basis for the protection of our heritage.

The broad functions of the Heritage Council will be to propose policies and priorities in relation to the identification, protection, preservation and enhancement of the physical heritage. A new and important function of the council will be a special responsibility in relation to buildings of architectural or historic importance in public ownership. I hope to be in a position to appoint the new Heritage Council in the coming weeks.

Following on commitments in the programme A Government of Renewal, the statutory position on my responsibilities in relation to the physical heritage has been clarified. First, by way of Government orders under the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act, 1939, the functions of the Minister for Finance under legislation relating to the physical heritage were transferred to me as Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht. Secondly, by way of the Heritage Act, 1995, the performance of the functions of the Commissioners of Public Works under legislation relating to the physical heritage has been placed under my supervision and direction.

Fuair mo Roinnse breis agus 1,000 iarratas tithíochta i 1994 — méadú 4 faoin gcéad ar 1993. Críochnaíodh thart ar 100 teach nua i rith na bliana le cabhair deontais maraon le beagnach 760 cás eile a bhain le hoibreacha feabhsúcháin, sláintíochta agus méadaithe.

Íocann my Roinnse deontais reachtála le comharchumainn áirithe sa Ghaeltacht agus, mar thoradh ar ath-bhreithniú a rinneadh ar ról na gcomharchumann sin, tá na huasdheontais reachtála méadaithe agam anois ó£20,000 go £33,000 in aghaidh na bliana i gcás na gcomharchumann ar mórthír, agus ó£22,000 go £40,000 i gcás na gcomharchumann ar oileáin Ghaeltachta amach ón gcósta.

Íocadh deontas faoi Scéim Labhairt na Gaeilge le beagnach 3,000 teaghlach an scoilbhliain seo caite. On eolas atá ar fáil go dtí seo, creidim go bhfuil an scéim nua tar éis cur le húsáid na Gaeilge i roinnt mhaith teaghlaigh sa Ghaeltacht. Cé go bhfuil an scéim nua teoranta do theaghlaigh sa Ghaeltacht féin, shocraigh mé, mar bheart eisceachtúil, go mbeadh teaghlaigh áirithe lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht a bhíodh ag fáil cúnaimh faoin seanscéim i dteideal cúnaimh faoin scéim nua freisin go dtí go mbeadh a gclann críochnaithe leis an dara leibhéal oideachais.

Anuraidh d'íoc mo Roinnse cúnamh i leith breis agus 23,900 foghlaimeoirí— 700 daoine fásta san áireamh — a chuaigh go dtí an Ghaeltacht chun feabhas a chur ar a gcuid Gaeilge. Bhíáthas orm a fhógáirt ag tús na bliana go bhfuil méadú go dtí£4 ceadaithe agam sa deontas laethúil a íoctar leis na teaghlaigh sa Ghaeltacht a chóinníonn foghlaimeoirí Gaeilge. Shocraigh mé freisin, i gcomhairle leis an Aire Oideachais, go ndéanfadh grúpa beag oibre, comhdhéanta d'ionadaithe ón dá Roinn le cathaoirleach neamhspleách, athbhreithniú bunúsach ar na coinníollacha ginearálta a bhaineann leis na coláistí Gaeilge. Táim ag súil le tuarascáil ón ngrúpa faoi Dheireadh Fómhair seo chugainn.

Tá soláthar caipitil de £17 milliún a chur ar fáil d'Údarás na Gaeltachta i mbliana le haghaidh forbairt na Gaeltachta. Tabharfar suim £2.45 milliún don Údarás mar chabhair chun costais riaracháin na heagraíochta a airgeadú. Is soláthar maith airgid é sin cibé slat tomhais a úsáidtear agus is léiriúé ar an tábhacht a chuirimse mar Aire agus a chuireann an Rialtas i bhforbairt na Gaeltachta.

Bhuail mé féin agus an tAire Stáit, an Teachta Carey, le déanaí le Cathaoirleach, comhaltaí agus ardbhainistíocht an Údaráis agus d'iarr mé orthu plean straitéiseach cúig bliana a réiteach a chlúdódh gníomhaíochtaí uile an Údaráis agus a luífeadh leis an soláthar airgid atá acu i mbliana móide na méadaithe a luaitear le haghaidh caiteachais phoiblí i bpolasaí an Rialtais. Chomh maith leis sin tá domhain-mhachnamh á dhéanamh agam ar structúr an Údaráis féin — atá ar an saol anois le breis agus cúig bliana déag — féachaint ar chóir leasuithe bunúsacha a dhéanamh air.

Ó thaobh cruthú fostaíochta de bhí 1994 ar an mbliain ba rathúla ag tionscail na Gaeltachta ó 1985 i leith. Cruthaíodh 1,072 phost nua ar an bhfód i rith na bliana i dtionscail faoi scáth an Údaráis agus, cé gur cailleadh 630 post, bhí glanméadú de 442 phost — rud a d'fág go raibh beagnach 6,300 dhuine san iomlán fostaithe go lánaimseartha faoi dheireadh na bliana i dtionscail a fuair cúnamh ón Údarás. Chomh maith leis sin bhí fostaíocht shéasúrach ag beagnach 3,300 duine.

I rith na bliana seo caite cheadaigh an tÚdarás líon mór tionscadal nua a bhfuil d'acmhainn iontu beagnach 1,500 post nua a chur ar fáil nuair a bheidh siad faoi lánseol. Bhí£19.6 mhilliún de chabhair Stáit i gceist do na tionscadail seo idir deontais agus scairchaipiteal agus mór-iomlán infheistíochta de bhreis agus £100 milliún nuair a chuirtear an infheistíocht ó fhoinsí eile san áireamh.

Tááthas orm gur éirigh liom i mbliana méadú go £2.25 mhilliún a dhéanamh ar an gcúnamh Stáit do Bhord na Gaeilge. Anuas ar a chuid gníomhaíochtaí féin, tá roinnt eagraíochtaí faoina scáth — ar nós Gaelscoileanna, An Comhchoiste Réamhscolaíochta agus Comhar na Múinteoirí Gaeilge — a mbíonn páirt shuntasach á glacadh acu i gcur chun cinn na Gaeilge trína gcuid oibre sa réimse oideachasúil. Ag an bpointe seo, ba mhaith liom mo bhuiochas a thabhairt don dream deonach a chabhraíonn go mór le cúis na Gaeilge san tír seo.

Is é Bord na Gaeilge freisin a bhfuil comhordúá dhéanamh aige i dtaca leis na cláracha gníomhaíochta atá le feidhmiú ag Ranna Rialtais agus ag eagrais san Earnáil Phoiblí d'fhonn feabhas a chur ar an bhfáil atá ar sheirbhísí Stáit trí mheán na Gaeilge sa Ghaeltacht agus sa tír i gcoitinne. Beidh an bord ag leanúint lena chuid oibre sa réimse seo agus beidh lán-tacaíocht le fáil aige uaimse agus ó mo Roinnse san obair thábhachtach seo. Ag an bpointe seo, nílimid ach ag déanamh iarrachta an chúis a bhorradh.

Is ó fháltais an chrannchuir náisiúnta trí Vóta mo Roinne a dhéantar Ciste na Gaeilge a airgeadú agus is ón gciste sin a thugann mo Roinn deontais bhliantiúla do na heagrais dheonacha Gaeilge, a mbíonn obair mhaith ar siúl go leanúnach acu ar son na teanga. Is trí Chiste na Gaeilge chomh maith a chuirtear airgead ar fáil do tograí ilghnéitheacha ar mhaithe leis an nGaeilge. Mar thoradh ar fhógra a cuireadh sna nuachtáin i mí Feabhra seo caite, fuarthas iarratais ar dheontais dár luach timpeall £3.4 mhilliún i leith tograí den chineál sin. Ag féachaint dó, áfach, nach bhfuil ach suim de thart ar £300,000 ar fáil le dáileadh, is léir nach mbeifear in ann ach freastal i mbliana ach ar líon an-bheag de na hiarratais a fuarthas. Tá an éileamh níos mó na an méad airgid atá ar fáil dom.

Tá mé fós ag scrúdú na bealaí is fearr chun Coimisiún a bhunú d'fhonn iniúchadh a dhéanamh ar na heagrais Ghaeilge, faoi mar atá leagtha síos sa chlár le haghaidh Rialtais Athnuachana.

On the broadcasting side, there has been a number of very significant developments. At the end of April this year I published a Green Paper on Broadcasting which I subtitled Active or Passive? Broadcasting in the Future Tense— nó mar atá san fho-theideal Gaeilge Gníomhach nó Fulangach? Fáthmheas ar an Réimse Craolacháin.

This Green Paper is a consultative document designed to stimulate a broad-ranging and constructive debate on the future of broadcasting in Ireland. It does not, in general, draw any conclusions but rather raises the issues which seem to be important in an attempt to set the framework for the debate. I believe that these issues can be distilled down to three fundamental questions. What is public service broadcasting? Is it relevant in today's broadcasting environment? If so, how can we best guarantee its future?

Developments in technology and the increasing convergence of telecommunications broadcasting and computer technologies have changed and are continuing to change the broadcasting map beyond recognition, and the speed of change is immense.

In chapter I of the Green Paper I have attempted to reflect the complexity of the emerging technological environment in relation to broadcasting and all the issues that must be seriously addressed by all involved in broadcasting in Ireland if we are to face into the next millennium with confidence in the light of these developments. As I have said in the Green Paper, the new technologies represent both a promise and a threat. Our task as legislators will be to maximise the promise and minimise the threat.

The importance that I attach to a wide-ranging consultation and discussion on these issues is illustrated by the fact that I am allowing a period of five months until the end of September for the submission of comments and ideas.

Recently I laid the first annual report of the RTÉ Independent Productions Unit before both Houses of the Oireachtas. Under section 4 of the Broadcasting Authority (Amendment) Act, 1993, RTÉ is required to make specific amounts of money available each year for the commissioning of television programmes from the independent production sector. The figure for 1994 was £5 million. The report indicated that in all 258 hours of independently produced programming, on which £5.28 million was expended from the independent productions account, were either made or committed to during 1994 and I feel that RTÉ are to be complimented on this. I have embarked on a consultative process with the independent sector to ascertain their views on the first year's operation of section 4 of the Act.

The committee will be aware that the Government recently appointed the members of the new RTÉ Authority with effect from 1 June 1995 and I take this opportunity to wish them well in the enormous and challenging task ahead in dealing with all the changes that are taking place in the broadcasting sector. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairman and members of the former Authority for the excellent work they did during their term of office.

The re-establishment of Bord Scannán na hÉireann has been a key element in the package of measures which I introduced in 1993 to promote the indigenous film and television production industry. The board supports indigenous film production by providing finance, as repayable loans, to Irish companies for the development and production of film projects. Its role is not a narrowly commercial one and it is active in its support for emerging talent. In addition, its affirmation of the inherent value of film as an art form is an essential counterweight to strictly commercial considerations. However, the board insists on a high standard of application, including full particulars of the artistic, financial and legal structure of the proposed project. This approach has borne fruit in generating a more professional and businesslike approach which is now essential if Irish film makers are to compete effectively in the modern marketplace.

Members of the committee will be aware that one of the other main elements of my package is to promote the film industry related to improvements in the section 35 tax relief scheme to encourage investment in film production by corporate and personal investors. Last year, 18 full length films and 11 major TV series were commenced or completed in Ireland. So far this year, I have certified 25 films for tax relief purposes and a further 20 applications for certification are under examination. I look forward with confidence, therefore, to a continuation and intensification of the vibrant film scene which we have experienced in this country over the past two years. We are beginning to see film makers with products of a very high standard coming through from an Bord Scannán, which is very welcome.

Maidir le Teilifís na Gaeilge, d'éirigh liom, mar is eol don choiste, aontú an Rialtais a fháil chun £10 milliún a chaitheamh ar oibreacha caipitil do Theilifís na Gaeilge i 1995. Tiocfaidh £6.4 mhilliún de sin ón teacht isteach a bhí carnaithe mar fharasbarr ar an "gcaipín" ar ioncam fógraíochta RTÉ agus an fuílleach ón Státchiste faoi Fho-mhírcheann P. 2. Cuirfidh an Státchiste an méid eile atá riachtanach chun tógáil an líonra a chríochnú— thart ar £6 milliún — ar fáil an bhliain seo chugainn. Tá thart ar £2.5 mhilliún á chur ar fáil i mbliana faoi Fho-mhírcheann P.1. chun íoc as na costais tosaigh neamh-chaipitil don tseirbhís nua, ceannach clár san áireamh. Tááthas orm a chur in iúl don choiste gur chuir RTÉ in iúl ag cruinniú le déanaí go bhfuiltear ag súil leis go gcomhlíonfar an sprioc chun an stáisiún nua a bheith ar an aer roimh dheireadh 1996.

The National Gallery of Ireland refurbishment project is nearing completion. A total of £8 million has been expended since 1990 to provide an upgraded gallery building for the national collection of old master and Irish paintings. The collection as is well known, has also been augmented in dramatic fashion in recent years by the gift of major paintings of, among others, Caravaggio, Vermeer, Goya and Murillo, the gifts of, respectively, the Jesuit Fathers, Sir Alfred and Lady Beit, and Mrs. Alice Murnaghan (who, incidentally has celebrated her 100th birthday this week and to whom I have written to thank her for her gift), in memory of her husband, the Hon. Justice James Murnaghan.

The refurbished building will have state of the art environmental and security conditions, new lifts allowing complete access by all visitors — this is an important issue which often came up — including those with disabilities, to every public area; a complete rehang of the picture collection; a dedicated watercolours, drawings and print display area, new publications; a portable audio guide for visitors; multimedia displays; and improved shop, restaurant and visitor services.

The gallery is also at an advanced planning stage in its efforts to construct a new wing on site at 27-29 Clare Street, specifically acquired for this purpose in 1990. The site, which is contiguous to the existing gallery will house new public galleries and a major temporary exhibition facility for receipt into Ireland of travelling exhibitions of the works of old master painters.

In the policy agreement for A Governmental of Renewal, it was agreed that the “Arts Plan 1995-1997” would be the basis for a programme of action in the arts. The plan was drafted by An Chomhairle Ealaíon in close consultation with my own Department, following a request by me to An Chomhairle at the end of 1993 to draw up such a plan. The plan sets out a strategy for the development of arts and culture in our society over the next three years, building on the exciting advances which have been made in this area since my initial appointment as Minister in January 1993. In essence the plan seeks to address the years of neglect by successive Governments and to place State support for arts and cultural expression in our society on a sufficiently high plateau within a relatively short period of time. The plan also addresses current funding of the arts by An Chomhairle Ealaíon over the next three years.

The plan was recently discussed in the Dail and I welcome the broad support that was forthcoming from all sides for the objectives contained therein, and the fact that our debate went on over two days shows the degree of interest and cross-party support that there is for development in this area, which I appreciate and am conscious of. I am interested in securing the future of this area and I pay tribute to anyone who did any work before my own Department was founded. We are dealing with a huge new demand from the public and we need to make provision for it. For that reason I was particullarly pleased that there was such a consensus that we should provide for this area.

A sum of £14.25 million was allocated to An Chomhairle Ealaíon in the 1995 Estimates discussions between myself and the Minister for Finance. In the budget I secured an extra allocation of £2 million for An Chomhairle Ealaíon, bringing the funding level in the Vote up to £16.35 million, an increase of some 22 per cent on the allocation for 1994.

Níl ach léargas gairid tugtha agam ar na réimsí oibre a thagann faoi scath mo Roinn-se ach tá súil agam go n-aontóidh sibh liom go bhfuil dul cinn nach beag á dhéanamh. Táim ag tnúth leis na Meastacháin seo a phlé libh agus aon cheisteanna atá agaibh go léir a fhreagairt chomh maith agus is feidir liom. Go raibh maith agaibh.

I am here this morning in substitution for Deputy Woods and will be addressing my own area of Arts, Culture and Heritage. I understand that Deputy Ó Cuív is standing in for Deputy Martin and he will be addressing the area of the Gaeltacht.

I agree with the Minister that there is a tremendous consensus from all sides in the Dáil on the three-year arts plan. The Minister will appreciate it is one thing to set out principles on which we could agree but it is another to ensure the funding for the principles so they can come to fruition. As everyone here knows, the Arts Council wanted £19.5 million in 1995, rising to £26 million in 1997. I acknowledge that the Minister has given a substantial increase in the moneys for the Arts Council; equally he will acknowledge the £16.5 million he allocated does not match the figures sought by the council—there is a shortfall of almost £3 million. How does he intend to make up that shortfall, if that is possible?

In his reply to the debate on the arts plan in Dail Eireann, the Minister said the Government had not yet come to a decision on it. Perhaps we could clear the air on this matter today. Has the Cabinet agreed to the plan? Does the Minister deem there should be any changes to the plan at this stage and if so, could he eleborate on them? If the money to make up the £3 million shortfall is not forthcoming, will the plan have to be diluted? If so, what adjustments must be made? Who will be part of the discussions to decide on the criteria for those adjustments? Could the Minister highlight the timetable of adjustments for the funding of the plan? What initiatives in the plan would be likely to be deferred if the money is not forthcoming?

The Minister will be only too aware how many submissions there were to his arts plan. There is tremendous expectation and hope. He is correct to say there is an increasing interest in participating and having access to the arts but to bring that to reality we need funding. It was the Arts Council, not Members of the Opposition, who said that £19.5 million in 1995 was necessary to implement the plan. It is in everyone's interest to correct any imbalance in the regions in terms of funding for the arts and everyone wishes this to happen. The arts plan proposes centres of excellence and my party expressed grave reservations about this. Where there is a talent it should evolve naturally. Money should be forthcoming because of the existence of these talents, rather than having a bureaucratic structure imposed on certain areas.

There are other issues in the arts plan which is not necessary to discuss now. I will go into more detail when we discuss that Vote. I will ask the Minister why the areas of drama and dance are lumped together within these Estimates for the arts plan. He will realise there is much concern and disappointment among those who work in drama about the funding forthcoming for the drama centre. He will be aware of the association of regional theatre producers, which formed recently as a result of their disapointment and dismay at the proposed funding for drama, particularly outside Dublin.

I would also like further explanation about community arts. There is a need for greater emphasis on this area. The Arts Council wishes to put greater stress on access and participation and it is agreed that, along with education, one area which lends itself to that is community arts.

The new legislation on the Heritage Council, which was supported by the House, will make substantial changes to our approach to and protection of heritage. Along with the Minister I acknowledge the work done already by Lord Killanin and the council to date. It should be recognised and commended on an occasion such as this.

The Minister will be appointing the new Heritage Council within weeks and I wish him well in those deliberations. I hope there will not be too much delay in those appointments, so the new members have the opportunity to get on with the work in hand. However, I am concerned that there is no increase in grants-in-aid for the Heritage Council. Under the new legislation the council has a wider scope and since there has been no increase on last year's funding, how does the new council propose to work with what appears to be a small amount of money?

On the film industry, perhaps the Minister could give details of the numbers of indigenous jobs which will be available. We all welcome the number of films which will be made here and any further foreign interest in film-making in Ireland. That is on the increase and is to be encouraged, but in doing so perhaps we could ensure indigenous jobs are available for our population. There is provision for this in the Finance Act but perhaps the Minister could give an assurance and elaborate on this point.

The Green Paper on Broadcasting has been published, which provides an opportunity for discussion of this vast area and I look forward to that. Under the broadcasting section of the Estimates there is reference to the television licences. I ask the Minister to outline his view; he has already said he is in favour of index-linking licence fees.

Fianna Fáil has always supported Telefís na Gaeilge. Like everyone else I hope this promotes the further use of Irish. As I said on a number of occasions, the growth of Gaelscoileanna throughout the country, but especially in Dublin, shows an increasing commitment to Irish. Telefís na Gaeilge would be able not only to use that interest and growth, but to promote it. We hope to see a further commitment in this area.

I am disappointed in the makeup of the RTÉ Authority. The Minister seemed to believe that a clean sweep was necessary. However, I do not know what he is trying to say about previous members of the Authority. I am disappointed there is no Munster representation on the RTÉ Authority and that there seems to be tremendous political emphasis this time. These political appointments seem to appease not only the Fine Gael Party, but also the Labour Party and Democratic Left. This should not be encouraged, particularly at a time when great changes are taking place in broadcasting, when the Green Paper has been published and when we need expertise above everything else.

The National Gallery of Ireland is another area of concern and there will be a vote on this sector. I will ask the Minister further questions on this area, particularly on the conservation of works of art.

I ask that Deputy Ó Cuív be allowed to speak so that he can deal with the sections relating to the Gaeltacht.

The rules of the committee allow for one opening statement from each party. I do not want to set precedents. There will be ample opportunity during the discussion on the Vote for Deputy Ó Cuív to contribute. As no member of the Progressive Democrats is present, we will begin the general question and answer session. Members may make comments if they so wish. We will take Vote 42 and then Votes 43 and 44. The Minister will then make a concluding statement.

I want to be entirely flexible.

As soon as one opening statement is on the record, Members may contribute if they so wish.

I would like to speak.

Yes, we want the discussion to be as flexible as possible.

An bhfuil leagan Gaeilge de na páipéir a bhaineann leis seo ar fáil? Mar shampla, deir sé, An Ghaeilge agus an Ghaeltacht, Sub-head E, Housing under Housing Gaeltacht Acts, 1994, Provisional Outturn — an bhfuil leagan Gaeilge díobh sin ar fáil?

Tá gach rud a bhaineann leis an nGaeltacht idir leathanach 4 agus leathanach 7——

Sin í do óráid ach tá mise ag caint ar na doiciméid seo — Briefing matter for An Roinn Ealaíon, Cultúir agus Gaeltachta.

A Chathaoirligh, ní bhaineann sé sin liomsa. Cuireadh na cáipéisí sin thart mar áis do na Teachtaí féin.

Agus cé réitíonn na páipéir seo?

Runaí na Roinne. An í an cheist atá agat ná cén fáth nár cuireadh na pápéir ullmhúcháin i nGaeilge?

Go mórmhór an chuid a bhaineann leis an nGaeltacht.

An t-aon rud is féidir liom a rá faoi sin ná dá mba rud é go raibh leagan Gaeilge ag teastáil ón Teachta, bheinn lánsásta é a chur ar fáil dó ach ní bhfuair mé aon iarratas uaidh.

Gabh mo leithscéal. Thángamar isteach anseo le Meastachán na Gaeltachta a phlé agus ba cheart go mbeadh na treoirlínte a d'ullmhaigh do Roinn féin le fáil i nGaeilge gan aon cheist uaimse. Ní ceart go mbeadh ormsa seachtain i ndiaidh seachtaine a bheith ag iarraidh rudaí i nGaeilge atá de cheart agam a fháil i nGaeilge.

Rúnaí na Roinne

Más ceadmhach dom labhairt air sin, tá mise freagrach as sin. Níor cuireadh ar fáil i nGaeilge iad anuraidh agus mar is eol duit go han-mhaith d'fhéadfainnse iad a chur ar fáil gan aon stró.

Ach níl siad ar fáil. Tá an Meastachán féin i nGaeilge mar a bhí sé ariamh.

Rúnaí na Roinne

Tá an Teachta ag déanamh mionphointe, measaim.

Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil.

Rúnaí na Roinne

Ceapaim go bhfuil.

Cén fáth go bhfuil na Meastacháin féin i nGaeilge, mar sin?

Rúnaí na Roinne

Tá siad dátheangach.

Tá na Meastacháin ar an nGaeltacht i nGaeilge; tá siad os ár gcomhair amach anseo. Ach nuair a bhreathnaím ar na cáipéisí a bhaineann leo tá siad ar fad i mBéarla.

Má tá sé ag teastáil, le críoch a chur leis seo, go mbeadh cáipéisí Gaeilge ar fáil sa todhchaí, is féidir linn gach cáipéis ullmhúcháin a chur ar fáil sa dá theanga agus déanfaimid sin.

An rud atá mé a rá ná go gcuireann sé iontas orm——

Ach ag an am gcéanna, is féidir liom a rá agus táim i ndáiríre faoi seo, is cuimhin liom nuair a chuireamar an t-eolas go léir ón bhliain seo caite agus roimhe sin i nGaeilge amháin, fuaireamar gearáin faoi sin mar bhí daoine ann——

Cinnte, nach bhfuil Gaeilge acu.

Tabhar seans dom críochnú. Nílim ag cur isteach ar an Teachta. Mar táimid chun cluichí agus cleasanna a imirt mar gheall ar an nGaeilge is féidir liomsa cur leis sin. Má tá an Teachta ag iarraidh go gcuirfear gach cáipéis ullmhúcháin i rith na bliana agus do chruinnithe mar seo i nGaeilge is féidir liom sin a dhéanamh.

Ní hé sin an pointe a rinne mé.

An méid atá ráite ag an Rúnaí na, an bhliain seo caite cuireadh na cáipéisí ar fáil i nGaeilge amháin agus bhí daoine ag iarraidh foirm Bhéarla. Is éard atá déanta agam ná mo óráid féin inniu a chur i nGaeilge sa chuid a bhaineann leis an nGaeilge agus má chuir sé stró ar an Teachta tá brón orm faoi sin agus sna cruinnithe atá le teacht cuirfear an t-eolas ar fáil i nGaeilge chomh maith, fiú sna páipéir ullmhúcháin. Ach an rud a bhí ag teastáil uaidh ná go mbeadh an t-eolas ag baill uileag an choiste chomh luath agus is féidir agus sin an rud a tharla agus sin an fáth gur tharla sé mar atá sé.

Tá an pointe atá agam an-simplí agus ba mhaith liom é a shoiléiriú mar is léir nár thuig an tAire an rud a bhí i gceist agam. Tá an Meastachán féin don Ghaeltacht i nGaeilge. Tá, mar a dúirt sé, an chuid sin den óráid a bhaineann leis an nGaeltacht i nGaeilge. Tá an chaipéis a bhaineann leis agus an chuid bhaineann leis an nGaeltacht i mBéarla amháin. Níl mise ag cur in aghaidh agus tá mé go mór ar son freastal ar dhaoine nach bhfuil Gaeilge acu ach feictear dom go bhfuil sé an-aisteach go mbeadh an chuid sin den cháipéis a bhaineann leis an nGaeltacht i mBéarla amháin, agus cuirim béim ar an bhfocal "amháin". Agus cuireann sé an-iontas orm agus cuireann sé iontas orm go mbeadh an tAire ag ceapadh go mbeadh urlabhraí Fhianna Fáil a bheadh ag plé leis an ghnó seo ag déanamh an ghnó sin as Béarla.

Tuigim an pointe atáá dhéanamh ag an Teachta Ó Cuív agus aontaím leis ach chomh maith leis sin cuirim fáilte roimh an méid atá ráite ag an Aire go mbeidh an pháirt seo de na cáipéisí ar fáil i nGaeilge as seo amach. Tuigim go raibh deacracht ann anuraidh mar go raibh siad i nGaeilge amháin. Mar fhear Gaeltachta agus mar dhuine a bhfuil suim aige sna cúrsaí seo ba mhaith liom féin go mbeadh siad i nGaeilge as seo amach. D'fhéadfaimid an chuid eile den lá a chaitheamh ag trácht air seo ach sílim go bhfuil focal an Aire againn anois go mbeidh cuid na Gaeltachta le fáil i nGaeilge as seo amach, mar atáóráid an Aire féin. Má tá an chuid a bhaineann le healaín agus cultúr i mBéarla, tá sé sin ceart go leor. Tá sé inghlactha agam. Tuigim go raibh dearmad nó botún déanta ach go mbeidh sé i gceart as seo amach.

Níl mo chuid Gaeilge láidir mar nach bhfuil cleachtadh ná taithí agam ar í a labhairt. Bhí sí agam uair amháin ach anois tá sí eitilte. I understand the point made by Deputy Ó Cuív, but it is that attitude conveyed by him that has given the language a bad image among people like myself. We did not attend the committee to create a mock row or battle. I could make a nuisance of myself by asking the Minister to provide me with a translation of the parts of his speech in Irish that I did not fully understand. I must use my common sense and practical intelligence, especially as Deputies Costello and McGinley both have very good Irish. I therefore took it on trust that there was nothing sinister or ulterior in the Minister using the Irish language in parts of his speech and I did not make any interruptions or objections.

Deputy Ó Cuív does not make a telling point. If he wants something in Irish he is entitled to it but it should not disrupt the work of the committee. He understands English as well as I do. We attended the committee to do business, not to get involved in useless arguments. If this is reported in the media, Deputy Ó Cuív will have a lot of egg on his face because his point is of no substance and of no relevance to the committee. He will not receive any support on this side of the House because the official concerned has offered to give him the translation in Irish if there are any nuances or subtleties in the Minister's speech which he does not understand, which I doubt, because the Deputy has a very good grasp of Irish and English.

We do not have any translation system available, which is another problem. Of course I understand English and I understand it just as well as I understand Irish. That is not the issue.

What is the issue?

Deputy McGinley is as deeply concerned as I am with this problem in the Gaeltacht. On the one hand we are trying to encourage the use of Irish while on the other hand, day in, day out, the Gaeltacht people face the situation that the State only gives token respect to the use of Irish in official life. Despite all the so-called support for Irish, we are, therefore, demeaning it in the minds of the people of the Gaeltacht. There view of Irish is simple and no wonder they are turning to English. Ní thabharfadh sé níos faide ná Gaillimh tú agus ní thabharfadh sé go Gaillimh féin tú It will not bring one any further than Galway: That is what they see from the State and that is why it is such an issue. Of course I can speak English. This attitude, combined with the problem in providing services over a long number of years to Gaeltacht people when we are trying to do things for the Gaeltacht has done much damage to the language.

I see the Irish language group in this country as a minority. If it were a religious or any other minority it would be protected and services would be provided for their language. However, since we are all of the same basic background, this group is treated with disdain. I am deeply disappointed to attend the committee today and to find ourselves in this mess. There is no translation system and the back-up documentation is in English only. It is to be deeply regretted.

I am not responsible for the translation system in the House.

Nobody is suggesting that.

Chairman, I ask your protection from the interruptions of Deputy Ó Cuív. I did not interrupt him while he was speaking. I must correct some of the points that have been made. Since becoming Minister I have provided a translation system through a grant from my Department for Galway County Council with which the Deputy is familiar. This was provided after decades of cur i gcéill by his own party who dominated the council and who never provided a penny for the translation services. When his party was in power on its own for a long period it issued circulars suggesting the use of Irish, including one from the Department of the Environment suggesting that at the annual social they should try and sing Poc ar Buile.

By contrast, I established treoir-línte and appointed a liaison person in every Government Department. We set up a study with regard to the semi-State bodies and Bord na Gaeilge has reported on the use of the language in these bodies. I therefore reject the suggestion that the Irish language people are being treated disgrcefully. I find it very suarach that this is coming from the Deputy. He knows that there has been a huge advance with regard to dealing in Irish with the public since I became Minister.

I apologise to the Deputy that his preparatory documents were not available in both languages. Last year we gave the documents entirely in Irish and some Members wanted more information. We were complimented last year for the amount of information we provided. I have advised the Deputy that in the future we will continue to provide as much information as is available to me and we will do so in both languages. If that does not satisfy the Deputy and he wishes to make allegations about my attitude or the attitude of the Government or my Department towards the Irish language I must attribute some other motivation to him. However, there is a great difference between my attitude and my actions in regard to the Irish language and the kind of cur i gcéill that went on during the time that the Deputy's party had power on its own in Government to advance the Irish language.

I attended the committee to deal in a constructive way with all kinds of information. If we want to lose time on this I can go on for as long as the Deputy and I can be as leadránach as he can if he wishes, in either or both languages. However, I emphatically reject that I ever insulted or rejected the Irish-language-speaking community.

I wish to make it clear that the document referred to by Deputy Ó Cuív is in circulation since 2 June. No request was received by me for a copy of the document in the Irish language, nor was any request received from Deputies that interpretation services should be made available at this meeting.

There should not have to be.

The first request I have received has been made here today.

Why should there be a request?

Why should there be a request today?

It should have been automatic.

There is a request today. When the documentation referred to was received by the Deputy he should have made some approach, either to myself as Chairman, on to the Convenor or the Secretariat. It would have avoided the time-consuming aspect of the matter at this stage. I call on Deputy Costello.

I have attempted to speak for some time, Chairman, and I have not interrupted you. I am extremely disappointed at the manner in which Deputy Ó Cuív is pursuing this matter. He made his point and it was adequately answered by the Minister when he indicated that the necessary document last year had been provided in Irish but that on this occasion the document was in English, following some complaints about it being completely in Irish last year. The remainder of the documentation is in Irish and English and the response by the Minister to provide the necessary document if required is adequate, especially in view of the Chairman's advice that the documentation had been circulated since 2 June and no complaint had been registered.

There is an Irish language committee in the House. Deputy Ó Cuív, Deputy McGinley and I are among the members. Our function is to promote the Irish language within the House and to deal with questions of translation. It is a matter which we address as a committee and is not one that should be thrown at the Minister.

I asked the Chair——

The Deputy has interrupted previously. It would be preferable if he waited for Members to speak and finish their contributions. The Deputy would then get an adequate time to respond. He has already spoken half a dozen times. Since taking up office, the Minister has a tremendous record in promoting the Irish language. His officials have attended the Irish language committee. They were most co-operative in our discussions on how best to promote the language within the House and within the Minister's Department. The Minister was the most co-operative of all. Raising this storm in a tea cup at this time ill becomes the Deputy. I am forced to conclude it was done for reasons other than promoting anything to do with the Irish language or in dealing with the Estimates here.

We must compliment the Minister for his activities. It is not just words, as Deputy Ó Cuív said. The State has paid a lot of lip service to the Irish language. Here is a Minister who has not paid lip service to it. To try to pick a petty argument and disrupt the examination of the Estimates when an adequate explanation has been given, is not only unhelpful but unbecoming of any Deputy. Now that everybody has had an opportunity to put their point of view — and Deputy Ó Cuív had that opportunity about half a dozen times — I propose we proceed with the business of the meeting.

Ba mhaith liom fáilte a chur roimh an Aire agus na hoifigigh atá in éineacht leis chun an choiste. Tá cúpla ceist agam le cur ar an Aire. I will avoid the last debate because we have more important business to do, although it raises important issues.

It is fair to acknowledge the point made in the end of the Minister's speech. There is a significant "dul chun cinn" in the whole area of arts and culture in the last couple of years. The committee should work towards consolidating that foundation and making sure in the expenditure voted today that what is being done will work towards building a foundation that will not be able to be washed away with the waves of time and change. Speaking of waves of wind and change, is the Minister entirely free from the cool wind of economic caution that swept through the House and the country yesterday? Are any projects in the Minister's Department affected and does it affect the plans he is presenting today?

I am interested to hear of the progress on the Collins Barracks site. It occurred to me that it might be a nice summertime outing for the committee. Perhaps the Minister might let us go to see how it is progressing. There is talk of it being nearly ready to open. It is a project of huge national significance. When the Estimate is out of the way and the House is in recess, it might be something we can do before the August break.

I am impressed again with the provision for the National Gallery. It is a major national institution. The Minister is aware of my particular interest, as a member of Dublin Corporation, in one of the other major national collections which is housed in the Municipal Gallery, the Hugh Lane and associated collection. The city council has similar plans to those coming to fruition at the National Gallery. I do not know the nature of the gems that are held around the country by other local authorities. Local authorities have real difficulties finding the kind of resources these great national institutions and cultural treasures need. They require substantial investment if they are to be presented, protected and developed in the way one would like. The resourcing by local authorities of cultural activities must be given an increased priority within existing budgets. When one looks at the kind of resources necessary for national institutions — and there are exceptional collections, like the national and international collection in the Dublin collection, around the country — is there a need to look at how some of them are organised and funded? Do they need a marrying of national and local collections? Maybe they are the next range of cultural institutions the Minister might look at in the context of seeing they are structured in a way that allows them to develop and grow?

One of the areas of great interest to Members is the one the Minister referred to himself, the operational programme for tourism. We had sad news from the Minister of State with responsibility for Sport yesterday. At least this Minister's scenario is not quite as bleak as his. The Minister said a number of things. I want him to fill in the figures. Most of the operational funding is now earmarked for major cultural institutions. Can the Minister give a broad figure on that and one on what is left for the capital figure for the arts? The Minister indicated that the scheme for the remaining funds, the capital aimed at local projects which have a cultural as well as a tourism element, was over subscribed. The Minister indicated that there were 170 applications for assistance. Can the Minister give an indication of the gross money available, more detail on when he hopes to make decisions this year and what will be the capacity to respond over the period of the programme? For many of us on the ground, these are the kinds of projects we will see. We will see a lot of them in Dublin. We have the national institutions. I must accept that but this is of great interest to members in general.

I wish the idea that minorities are always protected were true. Inevitably, minorities have great difficulty speaking out. For example, one thinks of the travellers. If life was only that simple. The point being made that this is the normal experience of minorities is not a valid one.

Deputy de Valera suggested Fianna Fáil objected to the idea of centres of excellence. I accept the point that the arts do not necessarily dovetail easily. When we look at the resources required to fund the arts there must be some kind of management of it. It means an artist of a particular kind would naturally move toward the centre of education nearby. It does not mean they cannot develop in another area or be educated somewhere else. While there is a point there, given the kind of resources and capital investment required in the arts, everything cannot be reproduced everywhere at the same level. Is the logic of the Fianna Fáil position that we can afford that? How will they fund it if that is their approach?

What vote and subhead caters for inland waterways?

The Office of Public Works vote. It is not today.

Since the Minister took a parliamentary question on a matter for me, may I ask one question? With regard to the proposed extension of the Erne navigation southward from Belturbet to Killykeen and Killeshandra, County Cavan, the Minister quite rightly stated it was a worthwhile project. He also said he would like to see funding provided for it. This time last year, the Office of Public Works carried out some preliminary engineering work on the project. It was advancing but, from what I can gather over the past few months, the project has been put on the back burner. Can the Minister give any indication today that the project is advancing?

Ar dtús, ba mhaith liom tréaslú leis an Aire faoi na Meastacháin atá curtha inár láthair anseo inniu aige. Sílim go gcaithfidhmid bheith sásta leo mar tá ardú cúig faoin gcéad sna Meastacháin chomh fada agus a bhaineann sé leis an Gaeilge agus an Ghaeltacht. Nuair a chuimhnímid go bhfuil an ráta boilscithe timpeall a dó nó a dó go leith faoin gcéad, is ardú maith é sin. Sílim go bhfuil an-obair déanta ag an Aire. Chomh fada agus a bhaineann sé leis an Aire agus a dhearcadh ar an Ghaeilge agus an Ghaeltacht, bhí an bheirt againn le chéile le blianta mar urlabhraithe ar chúrsaí Gaeltachta ag ár bpáirtithe. Is minic go rabhamar ar aon fhocal agus ghlac an tAire cúramaí na Gaeltachta air féin ó 1991 agus tá sé ag déanamh beart de réir a bhriathair. An rud a bhíá rá aige nuair a bhí sé ina urlabhraí ins an Fhreasúra, tá séá chur i bhfeidhm anois. Nuair a chuimhnímid ar chuid de na leasuithe atá déanta aige le bliain nó dhó anois, tá sé sin thar a bheith soiléir. Mar shampla, ceann de na rudaí atá déanta ná an t-árdú atá tugtha do na comharchumainn Ghaeltachta a bhfuil tagairt déanta dóibh anseo. Tá airgead do chomharchumainn ar na hoileáin ardaithe ó£22,000 go dtí£40,000 agus sílim go gcuirfidh sé sin go mór le héifeacht na gcomharchumann atá ag gníomhú ar na hoileáin ar son an phobail ansin agus go gcuirfidh sé le córas maireachtála na bpobal ar na hoileáin. Mar an gcéanna, ar an mórthír, tá ardúó£20,000 go dtí£33,000 curtha ar fáil ag an Aire i mbliain amháin. Caithfimid go léir fáilte a chur roimh sin.

Tá ardú curtha ar fáil chomh maith do na mná tí a bhíonn ag coinneáil na scoláirí Gaeilge i rith an tsamhraidh sna coláistí Gaeltachta. Tá£4 in aghaidh an lae á fháil acu anois agus mar fhear Gaeltachta a bhfuil coláistí Gaeilge ar fud mo chontae agus ar fud mo dháilcheantar, caithfidh mé fáilte a chur roimhe sin.

Tááthas orm go bhfuilimid ag leanacht ar aghaidh leis na scéimeanna feabhsúcháin agus go speisialta na scéimeanna tithíochta sa Ghaeltacht. Pointe ar mhaith liom a dhéanamh ná go sílim go bhfuil leasuithe déanta ag an Aire ar go leor scéimeanna. Tá sé ag machnamh i láthair na huaire ar chumhachtaí agus freagrachtaí breise a thabhairt do Údarás na Gaeltachta agus sílim gur rud maith é sin. Ach i ngeall ar an scéim a bhaineann le tithe úra agus feabhsúcháin ar thithe sa Ghaeltacht, tá mé cinnte go dtuigfidh an tAire an pointe atáá dhéanamh agam, go bhfuil deacrachtaí leis an scéim seo. Ba mhaith liom dhá cheann a chur i láthair an Aire agus b'fhéidir go ndéanfaidh sé machnamh agus leasú orthu. Cuir i gcás, má tá duine ag tógáil tí nó ag cur feabhais ar theach agus má phósann sé duine ó thaobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht, go minic dícháilíonn sé sin é as an deontas tí. Is fíor go dtugtar deontas spreagtha dó ach sílim gur mór an trua é nuair a phósann fear nó bean duine ó thaobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht agus nuair a chuireann siad isteach ar dheontas go bhfuil siad dícháilithe ar fad. Sílim gurbh fhiú rud a dhéanamh mar gheall air sin. Sin cás an tíúir ach má tá duine ag cur feabhais ar theach an bhfuil deontas spreagtha ann nó an bhfuil tú dícháilithe ar fad má tá Béarla ag duine amháin den lanúin?

An dara pointe ná fadhb a éiríonn i mo dháilcheantar féin. Daoine ón nGaeltacht a chuaigh ar imirce agus go bhfuil fonn orthu teacht abhaile, má thógann said teach sa bhaile agus cur isteach ar dheontas níéireoidh leo an deontas a fháil muna bhfuil siad ina gcónaí sa bhaile fad atá an teach ááthógail. Anois tá sé sin deacair a dhéanamh mura bhfuil aon teach sa bhaile agat go dtí go mbíonn an teach úr tógtha. Tarlaíonn sé seo go minic; tá cásanna go leor agamsa agus tá mé cinnte go bhfuil siad ag an Teachta Ó Cuív agus ag Teachtaí eile ón nGaeltacht freisin. Sin dhááit arbh fhiú don Aire, a bhfuil go leor déanta aige go dtí seo agus a bhfuil go leor ar siúl aige idir Theilifís na Gaeilge agus eile, rud a dhéanamh mar go bhfuil siad tábhachtach do bhunadh na Gaeltachta agus b'fhéidir go ndéanfaidh sé machnamh orthu.

Chairman do you wish us to have a general discussion on each of the Votes or do you with to go through them subhead by subhead?

A general discussion has been shown to be more fruitful. It is a matter for the committee to decide. We are on Vote 42 although comments have been made on Vote 43. I have been flexible. We did not intend to go through it subhead by subhead. The method we used yesterday for the education Vote and which we are following today seems more satisfactory.

With regard to Vote 42 under subhead Al with regard to salaries, wages and allowances, would the Minister give us some information with regard to the breakdown of staff? What is the gender balance that exists, particularly in the Principal Officer grade?

Under subhead A2 with regard to the EU, the Estimate is £33,000. Is that refundable under the Appropriation-in-aid? Under subhead A3 I note there is a similar increase in the amount for entertainment as for staff training and development. With regard to subhead A7 under consultancy services, could the Minister give us information on the firms involved and on the agreements for consultancy services? Can he tell me which subhead the cost of publications comes under?

Under subhead B for arts, culture and heritage there is a small increase, which is to be welcomed. Would the Minister agree that in the correlation of material and the cataloguing of information, the National Library is having particular problems with regard to 19th century newspapers? It is looking for further funding to ensure they are put on microfilm in order to facilitate further research and, at the same time, to conserve the material.

Under subhead C1 there is a large increase in the amount for the Chester Beatty Library. Could we have some clarification on this matter as subheads C1 and C2 are dealt with differently this year and last year? The information note in the Estimate tells us that this institution received funding of £375,000 from subhead C2 in 1994. If the Minister could clarify that it might explain what seems a large increase for the Chester Beatty Library.

I note the administrative expenses for the National Heritage Council but I would like further elaboration on the grant-in-aid for the council. I see there is no increase over 1994. This new Heritage Council will have increased powers and responsibilities and I would have hoped it would have received an increased allocation.

With regard to broadcasting, I asked at the outset if the Minister intends to increase the television licence fee and to index it. While I note and welcome the increase available under subhead 01 for the film industry and the Irish Film Board, I would like to hear from the Minister how many jobs for Irish people will become available in that area. I note the arrangements made for Telefís na Gaeilge and welcome them. I would be grateful if the Minister would reply to those questions and comments on Vote 42.

Ar dtús, cuirim fáilte roimh an Aire agus déanaim comhgháirdeas leis i dtaobh an Meastacháin atá sé tar éis a chur os ár gcomhair. Is breá an rud é go bhfuil an dul chun cinn maidir le cur ar bun Theilifís na Gaeilge tarlaithe chomh luath seo. Déanaim comhgháirdeas leis an Rialtas as £10 milliún a chaitheamh ar oibreacha caipitil do Theilifís na Gaeilge i 1995. Cén saghas oibre atá le déanamh leis an airgead sin agus cé mhéad a bhfuil gá le caitheamh an bhliain seo chugainn freisin? Fuair an Roinn breis agus 1,000 iarratas tithíochta i 1994. An bhfuil fadhb thithíochta sa Ghaeltacht? Cé mhéad teach a bhfuil fadhb leo? An iad oibreacha feabhsúcháin an fhadhb is mó.

Deputy Flaherty referred to Collins Barracks and I echo her invitation to the committee to have a look at it. It is in my constituency and I am well aware of it. It is an ideal site for the new National Museum. In the context of the massive reconstruction taking place the Minister appointed an interim board which recently reported to him on it. To what extent does this report focus on the surrounding area? The local authority has plans for an urban development in the Smithfield area, which is adjacent to the barracks, with quite an amount of European money having been agreed for it. Of course, the proposed light rail transit system would serve it as well and Heuston Station is in its vicinity. I do not know whether those amenities are part of the broad context the report might have taken. The museum would also take up a wider context beside the National Museum exhibition and all the rest that the Minister has in mind. I am delighted to see the Chester Beatty Library will get a secure permanent home in Dublin Castle by 1997. I compliment the Minister on the Green Paper on Broadcasting. All of these things are innovations that have been made since the creation of this new Ministry and the appointment of Deputy Higgins as Minister. There are massive new investments in the National Museum, the Chester Beatty Library, the Green Paper on Broadcasting, the Heritage Council, Teilifís na Gaeilge and the film industry to protect and promote our heritage and to provide employment.

I am not sure if this is within the Minister's ambit but, given the demise of the Irish Press and having published a philosophical policy document on the State broadcasting media, I wonder whether he has any role in looking at the vexed question of the print media. The Minister might comment on that. The Heritage Council is a new and welcome innovation which will, no doubt, provide considerable protection and contribute to policy-making for our physical heritage. We have complained at local authority level that there does not seem to be a direction or overall approach to protecting old buildings and developing streetscapes. While the previous council did much good work, this one is specifically directed towards advising the local authority. Will the Minister give us some indication of how the new council will interlink with the local authorities, so that we can have proper planning in the area of our physical heritage?

The arts plan is a similar document planning the way forward from 1995 to 1997. The Minister talks about centres of excellence in the plan. Has he given cognisance to the work being done, particularly in the vocational education committees, with the post-leaving certificate courses, where there is a huge amount of work done in particular in the visual arts of classical animation, art and design and the fine arts? The Minister has indicated that Cork should be a centre of excellence for the visual arts but there is a huge amount of new work being done in the visual arts in places like Ballyfermot Senior College, which has perhaps not been taken into consideration. There is much innovation in the art and design and animation as well as in other areas including broadcasting. Could the Minister give me an idea of employment in the arts at this point? We know that it is substantial and figures have been mooted from time to time. I would like to get an idea of levels of permanent employment as well as what comes under the aegis of the community employment schemes.

The Joint Committee on the Irish Language, in a visit last week to Northern Ireland, dealt with the question of funding for Irish language projects and particularly education in the North through the Department of Education. We met the Northern Ireland Office on the matter. There seems to be a certain reluctance by the Northern authorities to be proactive in dealing with the Irish language in a funding capacity. What are the Minister's views on the role his Department might have, considering that he is the man in charge of Teilifís na Gaeilge and, as Minister for the Gaeltacht, is obviously responsible for the Irish language? Could he be an honest broker in promoting greater interest among the powers that be in Northern Ireland and the British Government in further promotion of the language? There appears to be an entrenched view that the Irish language belongs to one section of the community in Northern Ireland and they do not appear to be anxious to move from that position. I bring this to the Minister's attention to see if he can make a contribution towards resolving it.

Tááthas orm deis a fháil labhairt go mórmhór ar na nithe a bhaineann leis an nGaeltacht sna Meastacháin seo. Tááthas orm go bhfuil an tAire ag déanamh athbhreithnithe ar an Údarás agus b'fhéidir go bhféadfadh sé na tagairtí atá i gceist aige a shoiléiriú. Ar an gcéad dul síos b'fhéidir go soiléireodh sé an bhfuil teorainneacha na Gaeltachta i gceist go mórmhór teorainneacha feidhmiúcháin na Gaeltachta ó thaobh Údarás na Gaeltachta de. An dara rud ná an bhfuil sé i gceist aige athbhreithniú a dhéanamh ar structúr an bhoird, mar shampla, dul i dtreo boird a bheadh tofa go hiomlán? Creidim féin mura ndéantar é sin nach bhfuil seans ag na Gaeltachtaí beaga, mar atá an struchtúr i láthair na huaire, duine a fháil tofa ar bhord an Údaráis.

An tríú rud ná go bhfuil athbhreithniú le déanamh ar cheist chead an Aire i dtaobh tograí Gaeltachta. Ní mar a chéile a oibríonn na rialacha taobh amuigh agus taobh istigh den Ghaeltacht maidir le cead an Aire. Is minicí i bhfad go gcaithfear cead an Aire a iarraidh do thograí Gaeltachta ná mar a chaithfear cead a iarraidh ar an Aire Fiontair agus Fostaíochta i gcás scéimeanna taobh amuigh den Ghaeltacht. Ba maith liom fiafraí de an bhfuil athbhreithniú i gceist maidir leis sin?

Is dóigh go bhfuil ról na Roinne agus ról an Údaráis sa Ghaeltacht lagaithe go mór le 30 bliain sa mhéid is go bhfuil an t-úafás áisíneachtaí eile nach n-úsáideann aon Ghaeilge ag brú isteach lá i ndiaidh lae sa Ghaeltacht. Níl le dhéanamh agam ach leithéidí bord sláinte a lua — bhí fear ar an fón agam inné nach raibh in ann cárta leighis a fháil mar nach raibh éinne sásta Gaeilge a labhairt leis sa bhord sláinte — agus is Fraincís a d'iompaigh siad air sa deireadh — maraon le FÁS, Bord Fáilte agus iliomad eagraíochtaí eile atá istigh sa Ghaeltacht lá agus oíche agus atá ag úsáid Béarla go hiomlán ina ngnóthaí. Tá teipthe ar na treoirlínte ag na háisíneachtaí Stáit ó thaobh úsáid na Gaeilge sa Ghaeltacht agus foirne a chur ar fáil. D'fhéadfaí go leor den obair seo a dhéanamh faoi scáth an Údaráis. Rinneadh é cheana féin leis na scéimeanna SES nó community employment mar a thugtar orthu anois agus caithfidh mé a rá gur éirigh thar cionn leis sin. Ba cheart leathnú iomlán a dhéanamh air sin ionas mar shampla go mbeadh na feidhmeanna seo á n-úsáid taobh istigh den Ghaeltacht ag Údarás na Gaeltachta ar chonradh ó na heagraíochtaí seo.

Maidir le fotheideal G, Scéim Labhairt na Gaeilge, an bhfuil aon mheastachán déanta ag an Aire nó an bhfuil aon bharúil aige cén costas a bheadh i gceist dá leathnófaí an scéim sin ar fud na tíre uileag? An mbeadh teaghlaigh a bhfuil an Ghaeilge mar ghnáth theanga labhartha baile acu i dteideal cur isteach ar an scéim sin ar fud na tíre uileag? Tá go leor Gaeltachtaí taobh amuigh de na fíorlimistéirí Gaeltachta anois agus sílim féin — agus tá sé ráite go mimic — go bhfuil fás agus forbairt á dhéanamh ar an nGaeilge iontu agus mura ndéanfadh sé rud ar bith eile, ar a laghad thabharfadh sé cuntas dúinn ar cé mhéad teaghlach lánGhaeilge atá sa tír againn agus cén t-éileamh atá ar sheirbhísí.

Molaim an tAire as ucht scrúdú a chur ar bun maidir le ceist na gcoláistí Gaeilge faoi fotheideal G. Tá sé 20 bliain ó bhí mise den tuairim go mba chóir athbhreithniú iomlán a dhéanamh ar an scéim seo. Fáiltím go mór freisin roimh an ardú a tugadh do na mná tí. Céim ar aghaidh í sin mar bhíodar titithe taobh thiar go mór le cúpla bliain anuas. Ach i dtaobh scéim na gcoláistí Gaeilge, le 40 bliain bhí an iomarca béime á dhíriú ar dhaoine óga uileag agus má tááiseanna do dhaoine fásta le teacht faoin scéim sin caithfear imeacht ón tréimhse trí seachtaine, mar do dhaoine fásta tá tír seachtaine i bhfad ró-fhada — ní féidir leo am saor mar sin a fháil. Bheinn ag súil nuair a bheidh athbreithniúá dhéanamh ar an scéim go leathnófaí amach íó bheith ag déileáil le gasúir amháin — agus feicim go bhfuil daoine fásta luaite sna Meastacháin — agus go bhféachfaí le mórscéimeanna a chur ar fáil a bhféadfadh mná tí na Gaeltachta leas a bhaint astu ó thaobh cúrsaí a chur ar fáil do dhaoine fásta.

Maidir leis na scéimeanna feabhsúcháin, i bhfreagra Dála ar 28 Feabhra 1995 dúradh liom go bhfógrófaí airgead na mbóithre áise go luath. Táimid anois i mí an Mheithimh agus níor fógraíodh é. Tá an samhradh ag imeacht agus b'fhéidir go bhféadfadh an tAire soiléiriú a thabhairt inniu ar cén uair a fhógrófar an t-airgead sin. Glacaim leis go raibh an fhadhb sin ann sula ndeachaigh seisean isteach sa Roinn; le blianta fada tá an t-airgead sin á thabhairt ag deireadh na bliana. Ní fheicimse an chiall ná an t-údar leis sin; tugadh geallúint i mbliana go gceartófaíé sin agus b'fhéidir go bhféadfadh an tAire a shoiléiriú cén uair a dhéanfar é.

Maidir le cúrsaí comharchumainn, mar iar-bhainistroir agus cathaoirleach chomharchumainn, fáiltím roimh an t-ardú a thug an tAire agus arís ba dhul chun cinn éón áit ina rabhamar. Fiú go ndéarfainn féin é, tá obair thar na bearta déanta ag na comharchumainn. B'fhéidir go bhféadfadh an tAire a rá liom an bhfuil i gceist aige leanacht den ardú seo bliain i ndiaidh bliana, agus an mbeidh cothromas idir Gaeltacht agus Galltacht, idir na scéimeanna community development sa Ghalltacht agus scéimeanna na gcomharchumann sa Ghaeltacht. Le figiúrí a thabhairt, tá go leor dreamanna faoin community development — tá na figiúrí go léir anseo agus is féidir liom cóip a thabhairt don Aire — ag fáil £50,000, £47,000, £45,000, agus atá ag obair as ceantair a bhaineann buntásite mór as bheith i lár an aonaigh ó thaobh costais de i gcomparáid le cuid de na comharchumainn Ghaeltachta. Tuigim na deacrachtaí atá ag an Aire ach ba cheart go mbeadh cothromas idir Gaeltacht agus Galltacht i dtaobh na scéime sin.

Maidir le tithíocht, ba mhaith liom dhá mholadh a dhéanamh don Aire. An chéad ceann ná go mbeadh reachtáil deontais tithe na Roinne Comhshaoil faoi Roinn na Gaeltachta sa Ghaeltacht agus ba chóir an modus operandi a athrú. An rud atá ann i láthair na huaire, ná mura bhfuil Gaeilge sa teach, cuirtear isteach ar an deontas ón Roinn Comhshaoil agus is feidir ina dhiadh sin cur isteach ar na deontais spreagtha Gaeilge ó Roinn na Gaeltachta. B’fhearr liomsa i bhfad an rud a dúirt an Teachta McGinley nuair a bhí sé anseo. Tá go leor daoine sa Ghaeltacht go bhfuil an dá theanga sa teach. B’fhearr liomsa go mór go mbeadh an deontas a bheadh comhionann le deontas na Roinne Comhshaoil le fáil ag teach nach raibh sásúil ó thaobh na Gaeilge de agus an deontas spreagtha le fáil ar ball dá dtiocfaidís suas leis agus gurb í Roinne na Gaeltachta a bheadh ag riaradh na scéime iomláine taobh istigh den Ghaeltacht. Sé sin le rá, má tá£3,000 agus £4,000 de dheontais ann, go bhfaighfear an £3,000 ó Roinn na Gaeltachta mura mbíonn an tAire sásta ó thaobh na Gaeilge de, agus an £4,000 má bhíonn, ach gurb í Roinn na Gaeltachta amhaín a bheadh i mbun deontas tithíochta sa Ghaeltacht. Bheadh de bhuntáiste ann go mbeadh ar chumas na Roinne plé leis na teaghlaigh ar fad i nGaeilge agus tá sé an-spéisiúil in go leor leor cásanna, mar a dúirt an Teachta McGinley, go bhfuil ar a laghad duine amháin sa teach gur cainteoir ó dhúchas iad agus sílim gur mhaith le cuid mhaith dóibh siúd bheith ag plé le háisíneacht áitiúil seachas a bheith ag plé leis an Roinn Comhshaoil.

An dara rud faoi cheist na dtithe ná go bhfuil fadhb ann a éiríonn maidir le scéim Housing aid for the Elderly faoin mbord sláinte. Má fhaightear deontas feabhsúcháin Ghaeltachta, níl Roinn na Gaeltachta sásta an cúnamh a thabhairt don Roinn Sláinte agus vice versa. Bheadh mise ag moladh arís go gcuirfí feidhmiú na scéim Housing Aid for the Elderly istigh sa Ghaeltacht faoi Roinn na Gaeltachta. go ndéanfaí one-stop shop de Roinn na Gaeltachta faoi na scéimeanna sin agus go bhfeidhmeodh an deontas feabhsúcháin Ghaeltachta do sheandaoine mar dheontas forlíontach. Mura ndéantar sin is beag is fiú do mhuintir na Gaeltachta go bhfuil an deontas feabhsúcháin ann.

Tá dhá cheist bheag dheireanach agam. Is oth liom go bhfuil an oiread sin ceisteanna agam ach ó tharla gur mar seo atáimid ag plé an Mheastacháin is mar seo a dhéanfar é. Maidir le Teilifís na Gaeilge fáiltím roimh an dul chun cinn atá déanta agus an soláthar airgid atá curtha ar fáil. Ach an bhfuil an tAire buartha, ó tharla go bhfuil £50 milliún á sholáthar ag an Stát le haghaidh seirbhísí craolacháin, faoin easpa Ghaeilge atá mar shampla ar FM 2 agus na seirbhísí sin agus ar chuid de na stáisiúin áitiúla a fuair ceadúnais ar an mbonn go mbeadh Gaeilge agus cultúr na tíre á gcur ar fáil acu? Freisin, an bhfuil sé buartha go bhfuil Cúrsaí ag RTÉá laghdú go dtí dhá chlár sa tseachtain an séasúr seo chugainn, clár amháin acu siúd a bhaineann le cúrsaí reatha agus an ceann eile le cúrsaí ealaíon agus gurb é sin an clúdach a bheas ag RTE ar chúrsaí reatha ó Mheán Fómhair seo chugainn. B’fhéidir go bhféadfadh an tAire ráiteas a dhéanamh faoi sin mar tá mé cinnte go bhfuil sé sin ina ábhar buartha dó chomh maith liomsa, mar creidim go ndúirt sé le deireanas nach mbeadh aon tarraingt siar ó thaobh na Gaeilge de ag RTÉ 1 agus 2 Teilifís i ngeall ar bhunú Theilifís na Gaeilge.

Ar deireadh, tá mé, lá in ndiaidh lae, seachtain i ndiaidh seachtaine, ag teacht in aghaidh easpa feidhmithe treoirlínte an Rialtais i dtaobh na Gaeilge. Agus caithfidh mé a rá do mhuintir na Gaeltachta gur ceap magaidh iad mar níl aon athrú ag tárlú ar an talamh. Glacaim leis nach ar an Aire go pearsanta atá an locht faoi sin mar tá reisistance mór ag eagraíochtaí feidhmiú ar an gceist seo go praiticiúil. Níl le déanamh ach dul siar go dtí mo dháílcheantar féin, áit nach bhfuil an bord sláinte sásta seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge a chur ar fáil do mhuintir na Gaeltachta, fiú do dhaoine nach bhfuil Béarla ar bith acu, agus tá a leithéidí ann. Is dóigh liom go bhfuil an rud céanna le feiceáil ar fud na tíre idir chomharthaí bóthair agus gach cineál comhartha poiblíóúdaráis phoiblí. An cheist atá agam ar an Aire ná an bhfuil i gceist aige Bille Teanga a thabhairt isteach le cumhachtaí faoin a bhféadfadh Bord na Gaeilge sa Ghalltacht agus Údarás na Gaeltachta sa Ghaeltacht iachall a chur ar na húdaráis a gcearta a thabhairt do shaonránaigh ó thaobh cúrsaí teanga de? Níl mise ag iarraidh go mbrúfar Gaeilge ar éinne ach nílim ag iarraidh go mbrúfar Béarla ar dhaoine. An bhfuil sé i gceist aige Bille Teanga a thabhairt isteach le fiacla a thabhairt don bhord agus don Údarás maidir le feidhmiú polasaí teanga ina gcuid ceantar féin.

There is a great deal of goodwill towards the Irish language in this committee and in my own party, the Minister and the chairman will recall that, just over a year ago, we published a very fine document on it. It was one of the best ever published by a party in this State. It could be read by anybody and was a practical document. Goodwill in itself is not enough; there must be some practical application to ensure success.

I do not want to be acrimonious or get into any difficulties with anybody on this committee because my knowledge of living in the Gaeltacht is rather limited. My sister went to live there more than 25 years ago, she has seven children, still lives there and she and her children are fluent in both languages. She writes under her married name in Irish and has won many prizes. From my knowledge of my nephews and nieces and my sister, the English language is an asset to any family — a large family in her case — living in the Gaeltacht as children living there realise early in their lives that the English language is essential if they intend to go on to further education or to work outside the Gaeltacht. Not everybody can work in their own locality. The chairman cannot work in Kilkenny; he as to work here and I have to work in Dublin. People in the Gaeltacht are no different. They understand that Irish might not be enough to carry them through life outside the Gaeltacht areas and this country. Therefore, they have an appreciation early on that English is a very valuable language. It is the language of commerce, trade, industry, further education and science. There is no point in having a hang-up about any language. Language is essentially a means of communication. We are proud of our heritage as are the people in the Gaeltacht. However, pride in itself will make a bad breakfast or dinner and one must take it beyond that stage.

I am pleased that the Minister was so gallant as to mention Mrs. Alice Murnaghan who is 100 years of age this week. The age of chivalry has not totally gone. I was also pleased that he showed his gratitide to the Jesuit Fathers, Sir Alfred and Lady Beit and Mrs. Murnaghan for their magnificent donations of works by Caravaggio, Vermeer, Goya and Murillo. One could not quantify the value of those paintings to the State. We live in an acquisitive and selfish world but I am often amazed at how generous and kind people are in making valuable donations to the State, indeed other people might follow the example of the people mentioned. People with large collections of valuable paintings may consider donating one or some of them to the State. We have a magnificent National Gallery and it would be enhanced by such donations. I thank those people once more.

I also thank people who donate books to the National Library. That should also be acknowledged and more poeple should be encouraged to donate them. I read recently that Father Ó Fiannachta donated a magnificent collection of books, which he had bought from Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh's library, to the State. The Minister might deal with that as it should be acknowledged by him and the committee.

Generosity in any shape or form should be acknowledged and we should not be prejudiced against anybody. When people like Sir Alfred and Lady Beit come to live in this country, they are often better Irish people than ourselves and demonstrate that in a very tangible way. Having a hang-up about somebody or a bias against them will get you nowhere in this world. The fact that a person comes from a different environment or background and does not speak the Irish language is not a test, the test is how you live and what you do for the country in which you live.

The Minister has been very keen on the Irish language and has done more than any of his predecessors to promote it in a positive way. It would be tiresome of me to list what he has done. I wish to make a point about Teilifís na Gaeilge. It is important for people who live in the Gaeltacht to be good enough to survive as a minority within a minority. Similarly the programmes made by Teilifís na Gaeilge will have to be excellent if they are to transfer and sell, not only in Ireland but throughout the world.

Too many of the programmes made by RTE in the past patronised the language. They were weak programmes which would not transfer and that is not good enough. Regardless of the language in which one makes a programme, it must stand on its own merits. The language has been damaged in the past by an uncritical, slavish approach which does not see the language as essentially a means of communication. With proper translations or subtitles it should be possible to sell those films commercially. There must be a commercial dimension.

Deputy de Valera mentioned the idea of designating certain areas in Ireland as centres of excellence. There is nothing wrong with that. People will strive to be excellent, especially in a cultural sense and it is a wonderful idea. One could take it further and link centres of excellence around the country to form a necklace. In Limerick there has been a tremendous gesture by John and Trudy Hunt who are donating the private collection of their father, John Hunt. The Hunt collection is worth more than £35 million and the family is giving it to us for nothing, with no claw-back, qualifications or demands. We would be mealy-mouthed and niggardly if we did not respond in kind as a city and a Government by giving a home to that collection.

Cultural tourism is important and there is no reason cultural tourists could not visit all the centres of excellence and cultural centres, not just cities and towns but other areas because there are centres of excellence and cultural activities in Donegal and other counties as well. We must advertise those links rather than have people coming to Dublin and going away again. There is no reason they could not stay for a longer period and travel to the various centres where we have something to show off, including the Hunt museum. It is also important that it would be packaged and advertised properly in the media, not only here in Ireland but internationally.

It is only in recent times we have established links with actors and actresses and people who are well known in the world of show business and entertainment. There is no reason why we should not build on that goodwill by getting people like Liam Neeson in America and Terry Wogan in Britain to advertise our cultural assets and resources and to build on what we have achieved. Setting the foundation is good in itself but unless we capitalise on this by enabling people to see these treasures and what we have to offer, the potential will not be fully realised. For the benefit of our people we should capitalise on the excellence and image and reputation throughout the world of some of our literary figures, such as Séamus Heaney.

One of the Fianna Fáil speakers spoke about the need for newspapers published in Ireland in the last century to be made available on microfilm in the National Library of Ireland. This is very important to the Minister as he is from Galway. I often had to go to the Colindale Library in London to research aspects of Limerick history. If people want to write articles, they must pursue the material. For a relatively small amount of money, editions of newspapers published in this country in the last century which are only available in the British Museum — the newspapers have gone out of existence in many cases — could be made available, not only in the National Library of Ireland but in provincial libraries for students, scholars and ordinary people who want to avail of them.

Heritage consists not only of books and paintings but of buildings constructed by what were called alien Governments. Tyrone House in the Minister's constituency has been vandalised and pieces of stone have been taken from this magnificent building. There have been thefts of valuable stone items such as fireplaces, lintels, mullions and other stone features of the house. They have been stripped away under the noses of people in the local community. Many people living in that locality, such as Ms Leila Doolin, Mr. Quinn, and the film-maker, Mr. Stoneman, are greatly perturbed about the damage to this house.

When houses are in private ownership but are part of our national heritage, there is no reason why they should not be acquired by the Office of Public Works to conserve them from further decay. Many of these stone items are fetching high prices on the market and are being sold, sometimes illegally, and taken out of the country. Recently, items which had been taken out of Ireland were found in America.

I ask the Minister to intervene in the cases of Tyrone House and other such houses in a delicate and tactful way to buy these properties from their owners. Sometimes the owners do not have any great interest in our heritage and it is a great shame to see many of these houses being dismantled. It was bad enough that they were destroyed, burned down and vandalised by people who should have known better during the so-called troubled times here. This achieved nothing at all in the national interest.

The Minister has done a great deal to help film-makers. I often feel one of the greatest curses to Irish film-making in the last two decades has been the success of the Johh Ford film, "The Quiet Man", and the David Lean film, "Ryan's Daughter". There is no doubt that they are magnificent epics which have done a great deal for tourism by depicting panoramic examples of Irish scenery and countryside. However, in some respects they are Hollywood versions of Ireland and too many other film-makers have portrayed this outdated image of Ireland. In spite of this, both films are interesting, valuable, useful and entertaining and I would watch them again. I have watched them many times and I admired Mr. John Ford, not for his politics but as a film-maker. He learned the hard way from being a roustabout to becoming one of the top Hollywood film-makers. In his own way, he was a true friend of Ireland and I do not have any prejudice against him. However, in many ways he cramped the development of Irish film-making because people tend to ape his work. It is important, when budgets are not as lavish as for these two films, to get away from that Hollywood image of rows in pubs and people acting over the top and to get a more realistic portrayal of life in Ireland today. In more recent times this has been the case.

Yeats said "Irish poets, learn your trade". Irish film-makers must learn their trade. It is important to give young people with talent and ability the opportunity to enter the film industry. Film-making is very much a closed shop, not only in Ireland but throughout the world. It is important for the Minister to open up windows and doors of opportunity for young people to enable them to learn the business. This should be based on merit, not on whom in the industry people know.

Local radio has achieved a great deal and critics have been confounded by some of its work. However, it is lacking in a number of dimensions. Arts and cultural programmes are rare. Documentaries are few and far between. Local radio must be a proper community radio. While these programmes cost money, it is important for the Minister to see that radio at local level is monitored and that it is all-embracing. It should provide arts and cultural programmes, a proper news service and documentaries. I have raised a large number of questions. I thank you, Chairman, for the latitude you have shown to me and I hope the Minister will answer some of these questions. With friends like me in his party he does not need enemies.

Before the Minister replies, I wish to indicate that I am substituting for Deputy Quill, who would have been substituting for Deputy Keogh. Deputy Quill conveys her apologies to the Minister that other business prevents her from being here today.

As a matter of information for the Minister — Deputy Kemmy will be interested to know this — Clare FM has initiated an arts programme.

I invite all Members, the Minister and his officials to visit the current exhibition in the Hugh Lane Gallery of over 100 English, Irish and French impressionist paintings of a truly exceptional calibre. This exhibition will continue for the rest of this month.

One of the Opposition speakers referred to the relationship of Departments with the Office of Public Works. In the case of the Burren, who initiates developments?

Yesterday we talked about the reducing element of lottery funds which has been provided for sport because of the funds which have been provided for health and other areas. Has the proportion of lottery funds devoted to culture remained steady over the years or has it been reduced? I may have to leave the committee shortly but I will read with interest the Minister's reply in the official report of the committee's proceedings.

I will attempt to answer all questions as best I can. If members have questions on the other two Votes, I will come back to them.

Deputy de Valera asked about centres of excellence. There is no suggestion in the arts plan to impose structures. This is not intended or planned. The suggestion is for positive action for a short period of three years. The initiative may not be forthcoming or there could be a fundamental change of opinion and it will them be reviewed.

It was not, and will never be suggested that it should restrict any other art form, for example, the visual arts, directing them towards a particular area, or music, which is strong in Cork. Equally, there is no suggestion that any other area cannot come forward. The philosophy is that, as far as possible, there should be other locations in addition to Dublin. Instead of saying that there should be music everywhere, we should select an area where we will try to develop it and if it does not work in three years it will be withdrawn. The idea is one of focusing and there is no question of putting structures in place which will lean on anything. It may not work in one area but there may be another area where it will work. I want to be straight about that. The point is sometimes made about where I am going to find the money for the first year of the plan. The Arts Council figure for the first year of the plan is £19.5 million. I have made provision in these Estimates for £16.25 million which leaves a shortfall of £3.25 million. My decision to publish the plan was not an instruction to proceed to operate on the basis that the funding was in place. However, I set about making that provision.

When I began in this Department the provision for the Arts Council was £10.1 million. The last Estimates which I negotiated were for £12.25 million. When I left office in September 1994 I negotiated a figure of £14.25 million for the Arts Council. I was out of office between the end of November and December and in that period there was a cut in the Arts Council's provision from £14.2 million to £11.6 million — we were marching bravely backwards. When I came back to office I restored the figure of £14.25 million and negotiated a budget figure of £16.25 million, which is where we stand now. I look forward now to making provision for that first year.

We are all affected by the decision to limit public expenditure, but that is not what we are discussing today. However, those of us who are not members of the Cabinet, particularly some Members of the Opposition, should bear in mind that it is singularly unconvincing to demand more expenditure — today I heard calls for funding for the Arts Council, the Heritage Council, scéimeanna sna Gaeltachta and so on — and at the same time to send salvos in favour of the necessity to curtail public expenditure. We all have to make up our minds about where we stand on it and act prudently. However, you cannot have it both ways — ní féidir freastal ar an dá thrá.

I want to give Members as much information as I have because that is why I am here. In reply to the question about where we are now, I am negotiating with the Minister for Finance in relation to possible sourcing of the gap between the first year's predicted figure and the current figure. I answered Dáil Questions in relation to this and I have had consultations with other Ministers who are affected. In reality, the Arts plan is not a plan of about £19.5 million in year one expenditure is required from the Departments of Education, the Environment and others. I have had some talks and I will soon be ready to go to Government following on those talks. However, I need further bilateral meetings with other Ministers, particularly in light of the decision in relation to public expenditure — there is no point in saying that this is not so. I do not think that we should be constructing a scenario of doom. I have not constructed a strategy of eliminating items from the Arts plan or of restructuring it or changing it. I am seeking to implement it as it is.

People sometimes think that if one talks about, for example, a centre of excellence for music that it is like establishing a factory, which it is not. It is an attempt over three years to try to lift something to a point, usually based on what is locally available, to see if it can be combined to create a source outside Dublin for music or visual arts of excellent quality. It is easy for politicians to promise everybody everything. It is much more difficult to say that we will strategically try something and identify where it will be done. However, it will not restrict, exclude or impose bureaucratic structures.

Deputy Costello asked about the number of people employed in the arts. Coopers and Lybrand published research last year on employment of economic significance in the cultural industries in Ireland. It concluded that employment in the arts represented 21,500 fulltime job equivalents, whereas the banking sector had 24,000 fulltime job equivalents and computer hardware had 7,500 full-time job equivalents. Therefore, it is equivalent to the banking sector and about two and a half times the size of the computer hardware sector.

Deputy de Valera asked about the employment creation benefit of the enormous film activity which we have had. One of the studies by Coopers and Lybrand in preparation for the initiatives which I took in relation to film suggested that every £1 million spent provides 48 jobs in film and 50 full-time job equivalents in television and the audio-visual sector. Translating the expenditure into full-time job equivalents is a helpful way of comparing one year with another because people move from one project to another. There is an IBEC study of the first 16 projects in 1993 and they will present the 1994 study, which was a full year of production, to me in July. In 1993 we began in May and there were other extraordinary items.

I do not know whether people hold me to this but the volume of expenditure under section 35 went from £14 million to £95 million. The number of full-time job equivalents, at a rough guess, at this stage is approaching 4,000, which have been created in the last two years. The IBEC index is important because it is separate from my Department and is an objective indicator. They looked at the first 16 feature films, major television dramas and animation and the total spend was £50.5 million. Of this, £13.5 million was spent on Irish employment and £17.1 million on goods and services. That gives a total direct spend of over £30 million on the 16 projects. That was triggered by the incentives totalling £13 million in section 35, film board and RTÉ assistance. The total employment on these 16 projects was 4,192 Irish personnel which is the equivalent of 480 Irish full time jobs. However, when the impact of this on the Irish goods and services is included, IBEC estimate that the equivalent of 1,228 full time Irish jobs were generated by the 1993 productions analysed.

In 1994 there was much greater production than 1993. I pointed out in my opening speech that we had 18 full length feature films and 11 major television dramas in 1994. However, the Deputy will understand that as the critical mass continues and one year is succeeded by another there is continuity in employment. The results for 1994 will be available to me from IBEC in July. It will allow us to assess not just what I have decribed but the value-added which is a very important secondary effect.

I took the right decision to submit what happens in film to an outside body, so that the figures would be accepted by the Department of Finance as they are now by most people. To answer the Deputy's question very directly, I have not spoken about breakdowns in hotel accommodation, I have not given details of one man who sold £15,000 worth of timber in one load to one film. Some areas have benefited by £11 million in direct spend, some areas sold more Guinness in three months of filming than they had sold in the previous three years. To give Deputies an idea of the effect, we had a spend of £4 million in a year and then in 1994-1995 we had a spend of between £11 million and £14 million. Eight counties have benefited from that and jobs have been created in that way. It is working directly and indirectly.

Deputy de Valera asked about index-linking the licence fee as suggested in the Green Paper. If, when we conclude the debate on the licence fee we decide that public service broadcasting is important — this is one suggestion of 58 contained in the Green Paper — we should consider removing it from the political expediency of the day, perhaps by index-linking it. In suggesting that, I was saying something important. If we have public service broadcasting values then we have to look after them and that is why I made this suggestion.

I was asked a question about drama and dance. I do not lean into the arts plan to interfere with it, but I agree that there are areas in dance in particular which have been the Cinderella provisions for a number of years and that has to be borne in mind. I read twice what the association of regional directors of drama said. They said one thing before I provided for an increase in budget and another afterwards and it is interesting to compare the two, but I take the point that they are making. However, they will benefit from arts expenditure both in terms of capital and in terms of the increase in current provision because there will be venues to bring productions to and a network to travel to and they will also benefit generally.

Deputy de Valera asked about the increase in funding for the Heritage Council. The Heritage Council did not do well in relation to provision in the interregnum, that is all I will say. I brought on the heritage legislation a bit faster and I am glad I did. This does, however, raise the question of how I am going to fund it. It is only reasonable to expect that its extended functions bring with them the need for increased provision.

What is referred to as entertainment covers receptions and hospitality to visiting dignitaries and others who came to see me. The figure is £36,000 in subhead A3. Staff training refers to Irish and French classes and computer training, health and safety and first aid. I have provided French classes in preparation for the Irish Presidency, In my Department there are Irish classes for everyone who requests them. The areas of arts and culture were combined with Roinn na Gaeltachta to form a new Department and there are Irish classes for different levels to try to bring everyone up to a competent level.

I provided the option of French as well. Uniforms are provided for under incidental expenses as is advertising. Also included in it are official notices that my Department pay. Subhead A3, incidental expenses, for which the 1994 provision was £192,000 and the 1995 provision was £220,000, breaks down as entertainment, staff training, uniforms and so on and advertising. The figures are £36,000, £40,000 and £144,000 which adds up to £220,000.

Do publications come under that subhead?

No, expenses for travel and subsistence due to the meeting of the Council of Europe are recoupable and are paid under another subhead. I was asked about consultancy. We used Brady Shipman Martin, for example for the grand canal corridor study and R. P. Cairns are being used for the royal study. There was a consultancy on Collins's Barracks, Lord Consultancy, because the interim board said they would like a consultancy and management that would assist them make recommendations on best international practice. They are all I can find and they are all straightforward.

Will the Department provide a list of them for me later?

Yes. To date we have used Lord's on the National Museum, Brady Shipman Martin and R. P Cairns on the waterways. Plans for the development of accommodation to house a microfilm unit in the National Library are being developed by the Office of Public Works at present. The work will commence in 1996, subject to the availability of funding and, of course, to planning permission. The development of the microfilming unit stemmed from the Newsplan report of 1992 which set out certain priorities. The cost of the project was given at about £1.5 million. It will be met — I am not being pernickety about this — from the Office of Public Works Vote.

I was asked about staff numbers. I recruited one new Principal Officer since I became Minister, Ms Bridget McManus, and the one vacancy was filled by a woman following an open competition, which pleases me greatly. The Principal Officers' ratio is 6:1, six men and one woman. Deputies will realise that as an indicator of my commitment in this, I legislated for equality in the two Bills for which I had responsibility, the Broadcasting Act, 1993, in which I legislated for equality on the RTE Authority, and in the Heritage Council legislation. The Deputy is correct to raise it with me. I should also tell the Deputy that last year I met representatives of Údarás na Gaeltachta and had an extensive discussion with them on equality within that structure which was far from satisfractory because there was a question about it and I was worried. We are making slow progress but I asked to discuss this topic with them and I appreciate the Deputy raising it. It is an important point.

Deputy Costello, and others, asked about Teilifís na Gaeilge. The figure for capital costs is £16.115 million; £10 million this year and £6.115 million next year. An application for planning permission has been lodged. Meetings have taken place between Comhairle Teilifís na Gaeilge and the local people. I am pleased about the planning permission and the consultations. That is where the matter stands. I agree with Deputy Kemmy that the products of Teilifís na Gaeilge should be of excellence and capable not just of being used by the station but of being sold to another market. The technology for dubbing and other facilities exists. I favour co-operation with Northern Ireland although it is a sensitive matter as to how we advance it. At present we are pro-active rather than reactive in the general broadcasting sector.

The main grant-in-aid for the Chester Beatty Library was under subhead C2 last year and under subhead C1 this year — that is due to a reorganisation of the subheads. The direct comparison is as follows; the 1995 figure, £415,000, the 1994 figure, £387,000, which is an increase of 7 per cent. A further special grant of £30,000 in 1994 is included in subhead C2 to help the preparations for the move from its present home to Dublin Castle.

Deputy Flaherty asked for the break-down and the ratios of the Structural Funds. A sum of £40 million is allocated to the national cultural institutions and £27 million is allocated to the capital programme for the arts, with a primary regional dimension. I mentioned the applications of these. I was asked what I meant by saying this had been over-subscribed; I meant the value of all the applications, when added together, is about £70 million. Tough choices will have to be made. Other Deputies returned to the issue of the arts plan. In answer to Deputy Flaherty, the Votes for which I have responsibility received slightly more national lottery funding in 1995 than in 1994. That does not affect the provision as Exchequer funding was substituted to cover the increased funding for the Arts Council. Under this Vote the national lottery funding is as follows: the National Heritage Council receives £1.5 million; cultural institutions, £3.8 million; Bord na Gaeilge, £2.25 million; and Coiste na Gaeilge receives £2.8 million. In the next Vote the national lottery funding will be £245,000 while the lottery funding component for the Arts Council is £3.7 million.

I dtaobh cúrsaí Gaeilge agus Gaeltachta, glacaim leis an méid a dúradh i leith, mar shampla, an ardaithe atá déanta agam sna deontais reachtála agus na deontaisí le na mná tí. I gcás na mná tí, ní raibh aon ardú le cúig bliana. I gcás na ndeontais reachtála, ní raibh aon ardú le deich bhliain. Bhí sé in am rud éigin. a dhéanamh. Tá mé ag déanamh anailíse faoi láthair ar an scéim feabhsúcháin agus an scéim tithíochta.

When I came back most of the housing grants had been cut. The allocation was down from £1.2 million to £400,000. a cut of £800,000, or two-thirds. My first task on returning to office was to restore it, which I did. I am now analysing it and I will bear the suggestions of Deputies positively in mind as to how it might be improved.

Tá obair nua á déanamh agam ar an Údarás. Chomh maith leis sin scríobh mé go dtí an Údarás inné ag lorg aon mholtaí a mbeadh acu, moltaí bunúsacha nó moltaí a bhainfeadh le leibhéil áirithe — feidhmiúchán an Achta agus mar sin de. Tá athbhreithniú ginearálta i gceist agam. Nílim sásta ag an bpointe seo aon rud níos mó a rá faoi ach go bhfuil an tÚdarás ann le 15 bliana agus tá sé in am an t-athbhreithniú sin a dhéanamh.

Níl sé chomh simpli is a deireann an Teachta Ó Cuív. Níl na deacrachtaí lonnaithe in áit amháin agus tá an tÚdarás ag déanamh go maith ina lán gnéithe éagsúla. Is féidir anailís agus athbhreithniú a dhéanamh gan daoine a cháineadh, ach bíonn deacrachtaí agam ó am go ham mar an gcéanna leo féin a thagann ó na baill tofa. Ní thagann siad ón trobh riaracháin amháin.

Maidir le deontas labhairt na Gaeilge, d'éistigh mé go cruinn leis an méid a dúradh agus is scéim í seo atá dírithe ar an nGaeltacht. Ba bhreá liom féin, dá mba rud é go raibh an t-airgead agam, é a leathnú amach. Tá mé ag déanamh anailíse ar an gcostas a bhainfeadh leis sin ach níl an chosúlacht ar an scéal go mbeidh an t-airgead ar fáil dom chun é a dhéanamh. Maidir le bóithre áise, taobh istigh de thrí seachtaine ceapaim go mbeidh an scrúdú críochnaithe.

Deputy Smith asked a question which, strictly speaking, does not arise, about a canal in his constituency. I did not put the project on the backburner; I am looking at the matter. It does not arise under my Vote but I will give the Deputy such information as I have. I am looking at it in the context of the INTERREG funds. If I can be of help in that way I will. As I said in my Dáil reply I am sympathetic to this project.

Deputy Costello asked about the functions and powers of the National Heritage Council. Under section 11 of the Act establishing that body, it will be entitled to co-operate with and provide assistance, including financial assistance, to local authorities on any matter coming within the remit of the council. The council will be an autonomous body and will be free to decide how co-operation and assistance will be structured.

In addition, under section 5 (10) the council will have a specific task in relation to heritage buildings owned by any public body. Such bodies will be required to consult the council on any building designated as a heritage building before undertaking any works to alter or dispose of the building. The views of the council must be respected, subject to appeal to the Minister or the Government.

That is a good mechanism; it gives status to the National Heritage Council and allows opinions to be expressed.

Labhair mé faoi cúrsaí an Údaráis. Is coincheap amháin den Údarás don todhchaí baill tofa go hiomlán a bheith ann. Sin samhail amháin ach tá a lán cinn eile ann. Mar shampla, an bhfuiltear chun an ceann atá ann a thógaint as agus tosnú arís? Cén sórt díospóireachta a bhí againn nuair a bhí an struchtúr á shocrú don chéad uair agus mar sin de?

Tá m'aigne oscailte i leith an Údarás. An rud atá i gceist agam ná go mbeadh struchtúr daonlathach ann agus go mbeadh freagrachas ag baint leis. Agus chomh maith leís sin go mbeadh siad in ann anailis a dhéanamh ar riachtanais na nGaeltachtaíéagsúla, ní amháin ar leibhéal eacnamaíochta ach ar leibhéal sóisialta agus cultúrtha.

Maidir le cead an Aire, d'ardaigh mé an teora faoin a mbíonn cead an Aire ag teastáil le tograí Gaeltachta. Ceapaim go bhfuil feidhmeanna eile ann mar shampla, chun a bheith dearfach faoin rud ar fad, ar chóir a bheith ag smaoineamh ar iad a thabhairt don Údarás chomh maith lena eagrú. Mar a dúirt mé, tá srianta maolaithe agam ó ceapach mé, srianta maidir le caitheachas agus airleacan, mar shampla. D'ardaigh mé an treoirlínte agus ní bhíonn an tualach orthu teacht ar ais chugamsa. Mar shampla, i gcás deontais do thionscail seirbhíse cúpla bliain ó shin ardaíodh an teorainn faoin ar féidir leis an Údarás cúnamh a cheadú dá rogha féin. Mar a dúirt mé maidir leis na bóithre áise, lastigh de thrí seachtaine, agus b'fhéidir níos luaithe ná sin, beidh scéala ar fáil.

Maidir leis na comharchumainn, cuireadh an cheist orm an mbeidh ardú arís i mbliana. Bhuel, caithfidh mé plé le 1995; sin an fáth go bhfuilimid anseo ach bhíodar ag fanacht deich mbliana leis an ardú seo. Ceapaim go bhfuil pointe le déanamh maidir leis an chomparáid leis an méid airgid atá ar fáil ó na Ranna Stáit eile. Tá obair áirithe déanta agam mar Aire agus chomh maith leis sin ag an bpointe seo beidh mé ag coinneáil súil air.

I will say it again in English so that we will understand it bilingually. They waited ten years for a single penny and I gave an increase then of the order I mentioned. There has been a significant increase of 80 per cent in the case of island co-operatives and 65 per cent for those on the mainland. For ten years, they did not get an increase of one penny.

Deputy Flaherty is not here but I know the Chairman will convey to her that I would be happy to arrange a visit to Collins Barracks. Perhaps the committee would like to see the work that is going on for the rehousing of the Chester Beatty Library too. Deputy Flaherty invited the committee to the exhibition in the Hugh Lane Gallery. It is probably one of the most important exhibitions — that is a personal view — for some time. It shows the interaction of the Irish artists with the fringe artists — Irish, British and French paintings. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Hugh Lane Gallery and its director, Ms Barbara Dawson, on the excellence of what they have achieved.

Deputy Flaherty asked about the Municipal Gallery. I had a warm and constructive meeting with members of Dublin Corporation's Cultural Committee, including herself. We had a positive discussion on the way forward. Subsequently, Dublin Corporation proceeded to purchase the National Ball-room. This means we are able to move on to consideration of it and I am happy about that.

I agree with Deputy Kemmy who spoke of the good example, and how continually surprised we are, by the extraordinary generosity of people. Many people have made gifts of paintings and books to the Irish people. I hope their example will be followed. The Deputy mentioned the Hunt Museum, in particular. It is an extraordinary collection of material which is of interest, not just aesthetically, but its particularity is the functional use of the objects there. Assistance towards its running costs is included under subhead C2 of the Department's Vote and I will be providing £900,000 from my Structural Funds allocation. Contributions from SFADCo, Structural Funds, tourism, local authorities and private individuals will provide the new home the Deputy spoke of for the Hunt Museum. Ms Mairéad Dunleavy, the director of the Hunt Museum, is on secondment from the National Museum. Deputy Kemmy also referred to Tyrone House. I am familiar with the case. I look forward to the point where the ownership of it is clarified. The Irish Georgian Society are interested and they contacted me. I am hopeful the legal problems can be sorted out. I might have good news in the future.

I would like to get good news, Minister.

As the committee will be aware, we have exceeded our time. If there are any outstanding questions that may be answered quickly by the Minister, we will allow another few minutes to the consideration of the Estimate.

Tá ceist agam maidir leis an Ghaeilge.

Can I point out that I will only allow questions on Votes 43 and 44.

There is a heading there to cover it. Baineann an cheist leis an Ghaeilge ar an teilifís, ar RTÉ 1, agus an clár "Cúrsaí". Is ábhar buartha é seo.

I forgot to answer that. Rinne mé tagairt don ábhar seo sa Pháipéar Glas agus tuigfidh an Teachta gur cuireadh an Páipéar Glas i gcló leis an leagan Gaeilge mar chéad chuid den leabhar. Is trua nár luaigh éinne é sin ach tá mé an mórtasach as gur éirigh linn an Páipéar Glas a chur amach taobh istigh den leabhar céanna — an leagan Gaeilge agus an leagan Béarla. Léiríonn sé an fhealsúnacht atá agam féin agus ag oifigigh na Roinné. Tá tagairt déanta ann agus tá sé ann mar cheist i dtaobh na ndualgas speisíalta atá ann i leith cúrsaí craolacháin i nGaeilge ar RTÉ agus an Sciar Neamhspleách de Raidió agus Teilifís. Caithfidh mé a bheith an-féaráilte faoi seo. Is féidir liom mo dhearcadh a nochtadh ach ní chuirim fhéin isteach ar RTÉ ná ar an Independent Radio and Television Commission. For example, the Independent Radio and Television Commission, because of its autonomy from me, addresses this issue. I can express my concern at a meeting to them but I do not interfere with their autonomy. Similarly, in relation to RTÉ when I was asked these questions in the Dáil, which is the place for me to indicate my broadcasting policy, I said I insisted RTÉ continue its obligation to the Irish language and that it was not relieved from it by Teilifís na Gaeilge. Again, it is a matter for the RTÉ Authority to operate those matters over which they have authority.

I realise too that under the new authority it was not my duty to cast any aspersion whatsoever on the previous authority. I wrote and thanked them for their service. I believe the new chairman, Professor Corcoran, is a fine person. The members will be able to bring expertise to the authority, among them the issues the Deputy raises. I want to be direct about this matter. Deputies and Senators, in writing to Ministers or standing giving speeches, say they believe in legislation that gives autonomy but if one gives autonomy, one cannot interfere. Once again, one cannot have it both ways. Therefore, a Deputy who does not like a particular programme, for example — although I am not saying any Deputy here has suggested that — has a case with the authority who runs RTÉ and not with the Minister. There is the extraordinary complication about it. People cannot have it both ways but the Deputy can be assured of — and I have stated this publicly — my interest in this. He drew attention to the fact that some local stations are not fulfilling their obligations in relation to the Irish language. I already made that point to the chairman of the Independent Radio and Television Commission. In the case of RTÉ, I reiterated it to the previous authority and I stated publicly where I stand on what is required in relation to the Irish language. They remain my views. I stated explicitly nach bhfuil mé sásta — táimid ar aon fhocal faoi sin — le staid na Gaeilge mar atá sé i gcúrsaí craolacháin na tíre seo. Tá sé sin i gcló sa Pháipéar Glas agus tiocfaidh an t-ábhar suas san díospóireacht.

D'fhéadfadh Aire a bheith mí-shásta le rudaí a bheadh ar bun, mar shampla, ag RTÉ agus gan aon fheidhm ag éinne ann. Is barúil a bheadh ann, tuairim a nochtofaí. Ach tá dualgas reachtúil ar RTÉ i leith na Gaeilge. Seo an cheist atá agam agus b'fhéidir go mbeadh an tAire in ann é a shoiléiriú dom. Má loiceann údarás ar nós RTÉ ar an dualgas atá leagtha síos i reachtaíocht na tíre seo, cé tá freagrach as déanamh cinnte go gcloíonn siad le reachtaíocht Thithe an Oireachtais?

Tá cúram na reachtaíochta ormsa agus tá mé sásta é a ghlacadh. Táim á chomhlíonadh faoí láthair agus má théann an chomhairle i gcoinne na reachtaíochta ag am ar bith léireoidh méé sin di.

Agus má leanann siad orthu ag sarú na reachtaíochta céard a tharlóidh ansin? Creidim féin go bhfuileadar ag sárú na reachtaíochta.

An t-aon rud ar féidir liom a rá déarfaidh mé go dátheangach é. Any communication I have with the RTÉ Authority now and in the future will ensure the legislation is complied with, that is, under section 13. It will not be a negative interference as happened, sadly, in the past.

Má fhaigheann an tAire iarratas ó Raidió na Gaeltachta le haghaidh uaireanta breise craolacháin, go mórmhór sa tráthnóna, an mbreathnóidh sé go fábharach air agus an bhfuil a leithéid d'iarratais faighte aige. Molaim an cead breise a tugadh dóibh maidir le craoladh maidin Dé Domhnaigh. Tá céim mhaith chun tosaigh tógtha aige.

Tá mé féin báúil do leathnú na huaireanta atá i gceist. Phlé méé sin le daoine le fada. Ag an bpointe seo, níl iarratas faighte agamsa mar Aire ó RTÉ agus níl an t-iarratas curtha ar aghaidh, ceapaim féin, ón gcomhairle. Beidh an tÚdarás nua do RTÉ ag ceapadh comhairle do Raidió na Gaeltachta, sílim, gan mhoill.

Where are we now in relation to the agenda?

We are beyond our finishing time. We were to take brief questions on Votes 43 and 44 but we had well over an hour of discussion on Vote 42 which rambled into Vote 43. We have exhaustively covered Vote 42. Perhaps Votes 43 and 44 have suffered because Members have taken so much time on Vote 42.

Can we refer to Votes 43 and 44 at another meeting?

The Estimates have to be concluded by next week and we have two full meetings of Estimates next week.

If it is of assistance to you, Chairman, I have no difficulty answering specific questions on Votes 43 and 44. If it satisfies the Deputies I can give time from my concluding statement. I introduced all three Estimates in a comprehensive opening speech and I would be anxious to complete them.

On Vote 44, the National Gallery, under subhead A3, incidental expenses, carriage of pictures, there is a decrease in the amount being made available. Does that refer to exhibitions? If we wish to have access to and participation in the arts we should encourage exhibitions. I am sorry to see under subhead B, which provides for conservation of works of art, there is no increase in the moneys available. The Minister will agree that conservation is one of the major aspects of any gallery's work. Increased funds should be made available for that.

On Vote 44, can the Minister explain the reference to multi-disciplinary arts? It is unfortunate that drama and dance should have been joined and the Minister has conceded that dance has been the Cinderella of the arts. I hope that from here on in it will get further recognition and funding. Music and opera under the one heading can also be confusing. Opera has been given an increase in funding which we welcome. The figure of 29 per cent might be distorted when combining the two.

On the sources of income under Exchequer voted, grant-in-aid and national lottery, I notice the lottery amount is less 26 per cent. Does that indicate a greater emphasis by the Minister on ensuring that funding should come more directly than it has to date rather than relying on lottery funding for the Arts Council? There is no increase in the amount from the European Union. Is that a problem for the European perspective with regard to criteria as to how certain projects can obtain funding? Do the criteria laid down by the Commission cause a problem in getting increased funding?

On the expenses under subhead A3 of Vote 43, what is involved there in security, advertising, official photographic records, lectures and tours and carriage of pictures. The only element that showed a slight decrease was carriage of pictures because this is the figure submitted. It can change one year over another. The important figure is £148,000 because there is flexibility across these headings as the gallery indicates its needs.

I will give an example. An exhibition could be offered and not go ahead. The reason for the high out-turn is because of some unusual acitivity that took place in 1994. There is nothing to stop them operating flexibly.

The Deputy's other question was an interesting one and I see her point. The increase for multi-disciplinary arts is 27.44 per cent. This category includes community arts, festivals, education and new initiatives. This phrase "multi-disciplinary arts" is needed because the experience in the past has been that there were projects which were falling by one criterion or which were between particular definitions and there was no way to handle these because of their multi-disciplinary nature. That heading was put in to be inclusive of something that was addressing many different things or more than one thing so that a project would not be judged solely by the criterion of one area and to give a fair chance to projects coming in like that.

I emphasise new initiatives because there are people using electronic visual music and so on. It was to include that type of development that the term was used. The reason for the reduction in the national lottery funding figure is that it was anticipated that the British lottery would reduce the take by the Irish lottery. The lottery figure is compensated for by Exechequer funding under another heading. I do not mind telling Members that my personal opinion has been that the basics should always be funded on an orderly basis by Exchequer funding and that the lottery should be there for innovation, further inclusiveness and expansion. We live with the difficulty that if we try to keep public spending within certain criteria, we have to accept the discipline it brings. As a general principle, the lottery should be used to enable people to do things which they would not normally be able to do. To answer the question directly, the fall is shown because it was anticipated that there would be a pro rata reduction in receipts from the lottery. A pro rata increase in Exchequer funding is shown under the other subhead which compensates for this projected reduction.

What is the position in regard to the conservation of art works under Vote 43.

That is subhead B2, where the figure remains the same. There has been an increase in funding for the purchase and repair of pictures from £150,000 to £200,000 and this year the demand is on repair. There was a considerable amount of conservation work last year. It reflects the structure of projected work in the institution over the coming year. It was felt that the increase of more than 20 per cent should be given to where it was asked for — purchase and repair — this year and that is where the activity will be. There is no retreat from conservation, which is the point the Deputy wants assurance on.

I was asked one other general question and I do not want to appear to be not answering any question. Deputy Costello asked me about newspapers. I am not the Minister responsible for the print media but where the two things converge — the Green Paper and the newspapers — is that the principles I outlined in relation to the film, audio-visual and broadcasting fields apply in one respect. I have advanced in Europe — we will discuss this again in the Select Committee on Social Affairs — the view of cultural diversity and that all of these products are more than a commodity. Therefore, the principle of cultural diversity is one that should be borne in mind in making arrangements. I appreciate I am out of order because I am not the Minister with responsibility for the print media. I was asked the question and I want to reply to it out of courtesy. I would have the same view for the print media as I have for this area.

I do not want to reopen the joust that went on between the Minister and my colleague this morning. The Minister made a general swipe at Fianna Fáil's attitude to the Irish language. As a Fianna Fáil member, I strongly support the language. My four children, aged 12 years to 20 years, are fluent Irish speakers.

I want to make clear, so that we do not have any misunderstandings about this, that I have made no general swipe about the Irish language. I referred to Galway County Council, of which Deputy Ó Cuív and I are both members. For many years on that council, Fianna Fáil members used to talk about the need for translation facilities. They were in charge of the council on their own for 25 years. I provided the translation facilities. I am not imputing to the other members of the Fianna Fáil party the rather narrow-minded and unhelpful view that Deputy ó Cuív brings to this area.

Tributes to Retiring Official.

We will conclude on that note, which concludes our consideration of the Estimates for the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht. I thank the Minister, his officials and the Members for their valuable and constructive contributions. Before I conclude this meeting, I wish to say a special word of thanks and pay special tribute to the Clerk to this committee, Ms Jane Matthews, who is retiring. This is her last committee meeting. I am sure Members will join with me in thanking her for all the work that she has done, her commitment, her diligence and, above all, her courtesy to Members of the committees. She presided over the formation of this committee and was, in a way, the midwife of it and we thank her for that. I know I speak for all Members in wishing her many years of happy retirement. She spent all her working life in the public service and the majority of those years in the Houses of the Oireachtas, with a few years in the Department of the Gaeltacht.

We were about to acknowledge that.

In the words of John F. Kennedy, she would have been sitting over there beside the Minister. She took part in the transformation of the work of the Houses of the Oireachtas and will be a tremendous loss to us, not alone on this committee but in the Houses of the Oireachtas, with her experience and knowledge. We wish her happiness and many years of retirement. We are sorry to see her go. I thank her on behalf of the committee for all her help.

The next meeting of the committee will take place at 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 13 June when the Select Committee will consider the Estimates for the Department of Health.

The Select Committee adjourned at 2 p.m. until 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 13 June 1995.