I propose to take Questions Nos. 47, 61 and 64 together.
This Government recently launched Project Ireland 2040; a comprehensive national planning framework and associated 10-year National Development Plan. Project Ireland 2040 explicitly recognises that our culture, language and heritage are an essential part of the sustainable development of the country.
This acknowledgement of the centrality of our culture and creativity to our national development is unprecedented in this type of statutory planning framework, as is the commitment to investment in excess of €1 billion in our culture and heritage over the next 10 years. Of this investment some €725 million will be invested directly in our cultural infrastructure, in our creative industries and in enhancing cultural experience for our citizens.
As outlined in Project Ireland 2040, €460 million will be spent on the National Cultural Institutions Investment Programme. Over the 10 years of the plan, this will see the renovation of the National Library of Ireland, significant enhancements at the National Archives, investment at a number of sites of Natural Museum of Ireland commencing with the Natural History Museum, the renovation of the National Concert Hall and Crawford Art Gallery, the completion of the National Gallery master development plan, the redevelopment of the National Theatre and projects at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and at the Chester Beatty Gallery. These projects will be sequenced and prioritised having regard to the outcome of the evaluation and planning processes in line with the Public Spending Code.
A further €265 million has been made available under the NDP for a culture and creativity investment programme. This investment programme will be closely aligned with the Creative Ireland Programme. Key areas for investment under this programme will be:
- A programme of investments in regional arts and culture facilities to enhance opportunities for communities to participate in Irish cultural life;
- Investment in our creative industries with a particular focus on the audio-visual sector which represents an important economic opportunity for Ireland;
- A programme for the digitisation of our national collections; and
- Investment in Galway 2020 for its year as an EU Capital of Culture.
I will shortly launch this element of the Plan.