Abbey Theatre

Ceisteanna (67, 71, 81)

Mick Wallace

Ceist:

67. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her views on reduced employment and fees for actors and theatre staff due to the artistic model of a theatre (details supplied) of fewer in-house productions and increased co-productions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1758/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

71. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the oversight undertaken to ensure that national theatre provides quality employment opportunities for Irish based artists; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1710/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

81. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to address perceived widespread income, employment and career insecurity for arts workers in theatre and film and elsewhere in the arts and cultural sector particularly in view of the recent letter by theatre practitioners regarding a theatre (details supplied) and ongoing disputes in relation to similar issues in the film industry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1770/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 67, 71 and 81 together.

The Abbey Theatre and all theatre practitioners are a central part of our national culture and I take their concerns very seriously. While the correspondence I received last week from theatre practitioners raises concerns about the changing artistic model at the Abbey Theatre, I understand that more positive outcomes arising from these changes have also been recognised. I acknowledge the necessity for the Abbey Theatre, as with all theatres, to have a level of artistic freedom in terms of its programming, while also recognising the necessity for a strong working relationship with theatre practitioners. This is vital for the continued success of theatre in this country. I have written to both the theatre practitioners and the Abbey theatre on the issues raised last week.

The Arts Council had been engaging with the Abbey Theatre in recent months in relation to the quality of employment opportunities and remuneration rates that it provides for Irish based artists. This is the role of the Arts Council as the main funder of the Abbey Theatre and indeed other State supported theatres and arts organisations. I am reassured by the fact the Arts Council were already aware of and in discussions about this issue with the Abbey Theatre.

I note also that in a recent statement, the Abbey Theatre made clear that pays the actors it employs on terms and conditions agreed with Irish Equity, the actors' union. In presentation or in-association arrangements, the Abbey Theatre does not set the rate of pay which has been the prerogative of the producing companies. The Abbey Theatre has stated that this is to be reviewed as part of the dialogue with the theatre practitioners and I welcome that this review is to take place.

The Abbey has also confirmed that it will self-produce seven shows (one in partnership, led by the Abbey Theatre) on the Abbey stages in 2019. These productions will include five world premieres.

It is important to note that employees in every industry including those working in the Arts & Film sectors are entitled to all existing legal protections. In addition to existing legislation, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection brought forward legislation under the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018 to improve the security and predictability of working hours for employees on insecure contracts and those working variable hours. This legislation responds specifically to the commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government to address the problems caused by the increased casualisation of work and to strengthen the regulation of precarious work. The Bill was signed into law by the President of Ireland on the 12th December last.

I am pleased to have been able to deliver additional supports to this sector in line with Government commitments. In Budget 2019, funding for the arts and culture sector increased by €22.6m to almost €190m which represents an increase of 14% on 2018. This funding comprises of €148.2m in current expenditure and €41.7m in capital investment. This includes an increase to the Arts Council funding by almost €6.8m or 10% to a total of €75m made up of €6m in current expenditure, which is more than double the increase in 2018. The increased funding for the arts and cultural sector secured in Budget 2019 - in addition to the almost €1.2 billion in capital funding for culture, heritage and the Irish language in the ten-year National Development Plan published in 2018 - clearly shows that the Government is acting on the commitment to double funding for arts, culture and sport by 2025.

Waterways Ireland Funding

Ceisteanna (68)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

68. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the level of funding provided for Waterways Ireland in each of the years 2016 to 2018; the level of funding proposed for 2019, in particular for the maintenance and upgrade of waterways, canals and rivers in County Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1581/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Waterways Ireland is responsible for the management, maintenance, development and restoration of 1,000 km of the inland navigable waterway system throughout the island, principally for recreational purposes, including the Lower Bann Navigation, the Erne System, the Shannon-Erne Waterway, the Shannon Navigation, the Grand Canal, the Royal Canal and the Barrow Navigation. Other than the Royal and Grand Canals in the county it is not responsible for other waterways and rivers in Dublin.

Waterways Ireland's work programmes, including those canals within County Dublin, are critical to providing a safe and high quality recreational environment for the public, whilst also preserving the industrial and environmental heritage of the waterways for future generations

The level of Exchequer funding to Waterways Ireland from my Department for each of the years 2016 to 2018 is as follows:

Funding to Waterways Ireland - 2016 to 2018

Current

Capital

Total

2016

€20,699,000

€5,868,000

€26,567,000

2017

€20,359,000

€5,446,000

€25,805,000

2018

€20,526,000

€5,180,000

€25,706,000

The Estimates for 2019 provide for an allocation of €25,117,000 for Waterways Ireland, made up of €20,737,000 in Current funding and €4,380,000 in Capital funding. This is an overall increase of €1,000,000 on the 2018 allocation.

Capital funding has been increased by €800,000 from €3,580,000 in 2018 to €4,380,000 in 2019

The level of funding allocated for the maintenance and upgrade of waterways, canals and rivers in County Dublin in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and proposed for 2019 is shown in the following table:

2016

2017

2018

2019 Forecast*

Waterways Ireland

904,696

1,231,490

1,158,136

3,153,665

Commemorative Events

Ceisteanna (69)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

69. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will report on the most recent meeting of the all-party committee on commemorations; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1767/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

As Chair of the All-Party Consultation Group on Commemorations I reconvened the group last October and our initial meeting was well attended with good engagement and a wide range of perspectives on the themes anticipated over the second phase of the Decade of Centenaries. The group is composed of members of the Oireachtas and political parties in Northern Ireland.

I have recently published the Guidance Report of the Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations and this important and very valuable advice will help inform discussions at the next meeting of the All-Party Group which I intend to schedule shortly.

I look forward to future meetings of the group to explore and address appropriate commemoration of the events and milestones in the period covered by the next phase of the Decade of Centenaries.

Commemorative Events

Question No. 71 answered with Question No. 67.

Ceisteanna (70)

James Browne

Ceist:

70. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans for War of Independence and Civil War commemorations in County Wexford; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1546/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

As we approach the most challenging and sensitive phase of the Decade of Centenaries, the Government will continue to be advised and supported in its commemoration plans by the guidance of the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations, and consultation with the All-Party Consultation Group on Commemorations.

One of the cornerstones of the State's approach to commemorations over the coming years will be to continue to further reconciliation on the island of Ireland and between Ireland and Britain.

I am committed to ensuring that the State's approach to remembering this very complex period in our history, and all of those who lost their lives during those years, will be based on the respectful, sensitive, appropriate and authentic approach that has become the hallmark of the Decade of Centenaries commemorative programme.

I expect that local authorities will continue to have a key role in supporting engagement and facilitation in local communities and in developing appropriate commemorative initiatives as part of the Decade of Centenaries. This is particularly important, given the significance of and the need to be sensitive to the local historical context. It is also in line with the principles expressed by the Expert Advisory Group in their Second Statement.

I approved a funding allocation of €5,000 for each local authority in 2018 under the Decade of Centenaries programme. This funding was provided to support local authorities in responding to the themes of the State commemorative programme for 2018; and in developing inclusive, appropriate and citizen focused initiatives, to encourage people of all ages to explore significant aspects of the political, historical, social and cultural context of that period. Funding allocations for local authorities including Wexford County Council in 2019 are currently under consideration and I expect to make an announcement in this regard shortly.

Question No. 71 answered with Question No. 67.

Built Heritage Investment Scheme Funding

Ceisteanna (72)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

72. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the support funding which will be provided for built and heritage programmes in County Dublin and nationally in 2019. [1585/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

My Department provides financial support for the protection of heritage buildings and historic structures through a number of schemes which are generally administered by local authorities.

In November 2018, I announced €4.3 million in funding for the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) and the Historic Structures Fund (HSF) 2019. The BHIS is a scheme for the repair and conservation of structures on the local authority Record of Protected Structures. It is designed to leverage private capital for investment in small scale conservation projects across the country and to support the employment of skilled conservation professionals.

The Historic Structures Fund (HSF) (formerly the Structures at Risk Fund) is for conservation and enhancement to heritage structures, in both private and public ownership, for the benefit of communities and the public.

Both schemes are open for applications until 31 January 2019. Full details are available on my Department’s website and on each local authority’s website.

I approved a further €1m in funding nationally for the Historic Towns Initiative 2019, which is a joint initiative of my Department and the Heritage Council.

My Department is also providing funding to the OPW in 2019 to assist in the conservation and presentation of historic buildings and national monuments in State ownership. As in previous years, in cooperation with its Office of Public Works and local authority partners, my Department’s National Monuments Service will also make available such funding as may be required over the course of 2019 in relation to the discharge of my functions as Minister under the National Monuments Acts, 1930-2014 to support rescue excavations and post excavation research at archaeological sites where there is an urgent risk to such being irreparably lost or damaged.

My Department also provides for the maintenance, development, management and operation of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). This funding includes running costs of the six National Parks and 80 statutory Nature Reserves, development and improvement works for visitor facilities and other minor capital projects. It also includes funding for conservation-related research and surveys and compensatory measures for landowners’ costs and losses resulting from restrictions in managing their land in areas designated under the EU Habitats and Birds Directives.

In addition to these funding streams there are provisions for supporting small scale conservation and community education and awareness projects in areas affected by the cessation of domestic turf cutting on designated raised bogs, the operational costs of the Peatlands Council and also for the scanning costs of applications referred to the Minister in her role as a statutory consultee under the Planning Acts and from other consent authorities.

The Heritage Council, which my Department funds, also provides grants for the protection and preservation of our heritage. It is primarily a matter for the Heritage Council to decide how its funding should be allocated across the range of research, education and conservation programmes it supports. Grant schemes for 2019 will be advertised by the Heritage Council on its website www.heritagecouncil.ie.

Cultural Policy

Ceisteanna (73)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

73. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the details of the cultural ambassadors initiative; and the ambassador with connections to County Limerick. [1776/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

On Monday 7 January, 2019 I announced the appointment of five Cultural Ambassadors to assist in and enhance the promotion of Ireland in the global arena under the Government’s Global Ireland 2025 initiative.

Master musician and founding member of The Gloaming, Martin Hayes, leading architects, Shelly McNamara and Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects, award winning actress Ruth Negga and Pulitzer Prize winning poet Paul Muldoon have all accepted the role of Cultural Ambassador for a period of three years.

The Cultural Ambassadors will serve for a period of three years. In their role they will endeavour to raise the public focus on arts and culture as a means of promoting Ireland globally, provide advice and input on strategic cultural initiatives and participate in key events and projects.

The first such event is a conference of cultural stakeholders being held on 24 January which will discuss and debate how best to advance Ireland’s global visibility and strengthen global relationships. Further appointments of Cultural Ambassadors may be made over time in line with the Government's geographic and other priorities.

Among the five newly appointed Cultural Ambassadors is an award- winning actress, Ruth Negga, who is based in London at present but comes originally from County Limerick.

Ruth Negga is an exceptionally talented and versatile actress with a body of work that spans award-winning theatre productions, big screen historical dramas, independent films and innovative television series.

For her performances, Ruth’s accolades include Academy Award, Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award nominations, Irish Film & Television Award and Irish Times Award for Best Actress.

An Foras Teanga

Ceisteanna (74)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

74. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Dara Calleary den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cé mhéad airgid atá curtha ar fáil i meastacháin 2019 don Fhoras Teanga, agus é briste síos idir Foras na Gaeilge agus Gníomhaireacht na hUltaise; an bhfuil sí sásta leis an maoiniú atá á chur ar fáil don dá ghníomhaireacht sin; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [1769/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Dírím aird an Teachta ar mo fhreagra ar Cheist Dála 684 den 20 Samhain 2018 agus ar Cheist Dála Uimhir 594 den 19 Nollaig 2018, a leagann amach na fíricí maidir le meastacháin 2019 don bhForas Teanga.

Is í an Chomhairle Aireachta Thuaidh Theas (CATT) a cheadaíonn na buiséid do na Forais Trasteorann uile, An Foras Teanga san áireamh. Mar gheall ar chúinsí polaitiúla i dTuaisceart Éireann, áfach, níorbh fhéidir cruinnithe CATT a eagrú ó lár 2016 agus, dá bhrí sin, níl na buiséid i leith 2017, 2018 agus 2019 ceadaithe go hoifigiúil go fóill. Idir an dá linn, tá sé aontaithe ag na Ranna Airgeadais sa dá dhlínse go bhfeidhmeodh na Forais Trasteorann uile sna blianta 2017, 2018 agus 2019 de réir na buiséid a cheadaigh an CATT ina leith don bhliain 2016.

Ar an mbonn sin, i 2019 íocfaidh mo Roinn €11,087,183 (75% den ollbhuiséad CATT) d'Fhoras na Gaeilge agus £585,733 (c.€650,815 - 25% den ollbhuiséad CATT) do Ghníomhaireacht na hUltaise. Anuas air sin, cuirfidh mo Roinn maoiniú breise ar fáil d'Fhoras na Gaeilge i ndáil le nithe imfhálaithe mar a bhaineann le Clár na Leabhar Gaeilge (€1,061,165) agus Colmcille (€118,519).

Heritage Promotion

Question No. 76 answered with Question No. 58.

Ceisteanna (75, 85)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

75. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the details of the current public consultation process for Heritage 2030; and the opportunities for residents of County Kildare to contribute to the process, including public events. [1689/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pat Deering

Ceist:

85. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the details of the current public consultation process for Heritage 2030; the opportunities for residents of counties Carlow and Kilkenny to contribute to the process, including public events; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1688/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 75 and 85 together.

I refer the Deputies to my response to PQ 1720/19, answered on 16 January 2019, which explains the position.

Question No. 76 answered with Question No. 58.

Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla

Ceisteanna (77)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

77. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Catherine Connolly den Aire Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta céard é stádas Bhille na dTeangacha Oifigiúla; cén dáta a fhoilseofar an Bille; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [1761/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Mar chúlra, is iarracht í an Bhille seo, trí na ceannteideil éagsúla, an timpeallacht a chruthú ina mbeidh ról níos lárnaí ag an teanga in obair an Stáit, go mbeidh an teanga níos feiceálaí agus go mbeidh fáil níos leithne ar sheirbhísí trí Ghaeilge.

Agus an Bille á thabhairt chun cinn, cuireadh tréimhse comhairliúcháin ar bun leis na bpáirtithe leasmhara. Leagadh na Ceannteidil faoi bhráid Chomhchoiste na Gaeilge, na Gaeltachta agus na hOileáin agus foilsíodh tuarascáil ag eascairt as an bpróiseas seo roimh samhraidh 2018. Tá an tuarascáil sin scrúdaithe anois ag mo Roinn i gcomhthéacs dréachtú an Bhille.

Beidh sé mar ollchuspóir sa Bhille go mbeidh 20% de na daoine nua a earcaítear don tseirbhís phoiblí ina gcainteoirí Gaeilge, go mbeidh gach oifig phoiblí atá lonnaithe sa Ghaeltacht ag feidhmiú trí Ghaeilge agus go mbeidh comhlachtaí poiblí in ann freastal ar an éileamh ón bpobal ar sheirbhísí trí Ghaeilge. Is í an earcaíocht croí-lár na ceiste, agus táim dóchasach gur féidir tógáil, ar bhonn chéimiúil, ar líon na bhfostaithe le Gaeilge sa statchóras agus ag eascairt as sin, go mbeifear in ann feabhas a chur ar sholáthar seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge, mar is cóir.

Tá oifigigh mo Roinne ag obair faoi láthair i gcomhar le hOifig an Ard-Aighne chun Bille na dTeangacha Oifigiúla (Leasú) a dhréachtú.

National Monuments

Ceisteanna (78)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

78. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the progress made on ensuring the Moore Street sites of national cultural and historic significance are safeguarded; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1753/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

My Department's project to conserve the national monument buildings at Nos. 14 - 17 Moore Street and to open them to the public to honour the leaders of the 1916 Rising was suspended in early 2016 on foot of court proceedings. The aim of the works was to restore the buildings in a way that would have ensured that they reflected as closely as possible what they would have been like when they were occupied by the insurgents in 1916. Each of the buildings has extensive original features, including plasterwork, partitions, staircases, doors, floors, fittings and fixtures. Most significantly, they also contain physical evidence of the presence of the insurgents themselves in the form of the openings broken through from house to house during the final phase of the Rising. The intention was, and remains, to retain all of this original material. With the agreement of the courts, a programme of works was subsequently carried out to stabilise and weatherproof the buildings until the substantive restoration could be completed. This agreed programme was finished in 2017 and the monument buildings are now in the care of the Office of Public Works.

Working with The Moore Report - Securing History as its guide, the Moore Street Advisory Group is currently engaged in discussions with the new owners of the Dublin Central site about the implementation of these recommendations and the future of the site which surrounds the national monument. I was pleased to hear from the chair of the Advisory Group that the discussions are progressing very positively. I understand that the Advisory Group has been briefed in some detail by the architects for the new owners on how the previous plans for the wider site are being significantly modified in a way that is seen to be more sympathetic to the traditions and history of the area and that also brings the commemoration of the events of Easter 1916 much more to the fore.

The design changes that will follow in relation to aspects such as architectural heritage, urban regeneration, community benefit and social amenity will determine how the wider regeneration work interacts with the national monument buildings themselves and how both elements are appropriately and sensitively integrated. Until that discussion - in which I see the Moore Street Advisory Group having a significant role - is complete and an overall solution to the regeneration of the surrounding site is in place, it would not be possible to put a precise timeframe on the resumption of work on the national monument project. In the meantime, I understand that the Advisory Group itself has formed its own sub-committee that is specifically tasked with coming up with a vision for the buildings. The sub-committee is engaging with my Department, the national Museum of Ireland and other relevant bodies as part of this process. For its part, the government remains entirely committed to having the buildings conserved and open to the public and to having the related works started without delay once the wider discussions now in progress produce an appropriate framework to allow that to happen.

The State owned buildings continue to be monitored and maintained by the Office of Public Works. The buildings are now regularly visited and inspected by OPW and monitored fire and security systems are in place. My Department's National Monuments Service is also regularly briefed by OPW.

Abbey Theatre

Question No. 81 answered with Question No. 67.

Ceisteanna (79, 80, 89)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

79. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she has met with the directors, management and-or the board of a theatre (details supplied) following her receipt of an open letter signed by more than 300 Irish theatre practitioners; the steps she is taking to address the concerns contained in the letter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1763/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

80. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her views on the recent controversy in a theatre (details supplied) following the recent letter signed by theatre practitioners regarding employment in the national theatre; her further views on whether the controversy more generally reflects widespread employment and income insecurity among theatre makers and arts workers generally; the measures she plans to address these issues; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1773/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Joan Burton

Ceist:

89. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she has received communications from actors, directors, designers, agents and playwrights in relation to the Abbey Theatre; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1584/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 79, 80 and 89 together.

On 7 January 2019, I received a letter signed by over 300 theatre practitioners. The letter raised the concerns of the practitioners about the direction taken by Abbey Theatre over the past two years. I would like to put on record the huge respect I have for the theatre practitioners who wrote to me and celebrate the extent and depth of the talent encompassed by the totality of the signatories.

While the correspondence from theatre practitioners raises concerns about the changing artistic model at the Abbey Theatre, I also understand that more positive outcomes arising from these changes have also been recognised.

I acknowledge the concerns raised by the practitioners while at the same time recognising the Abbey Theatre's need for artistic freedom to strike a balance in terms of its programming. I also recognise the necessity for a strong working relationship between theatres and theatre practitioners. This is vital for the continued success of theatre in this country. The Abbey Theatre and all theatre practitioners are a central part of our national culture and I take the concerns of the practitioners very seriously

I have been informed that the Abbey Theatre had already been aware of some of the concerns raised from the practitioners and they are actively working with stakeholder companies to address them. I am pleased to report that the Abbey is already making arrangements to meet with representatives of the signatories to discuss their concerns. In the meantime, I have written to both the theatre practitioners and the Abbey theatre on the issues raised last week.

It should also be noted that the Arts Council has been engaging with the Abbey Theatre in recent months about the employment opportunities and remuneration rates it provides for Irish based artists rates.

I welcome the commitment by all parties to dialogue and engagement and look forward to a mutually satisfactory outcome that will deliver the vision for a National Theatre at the heart of Irish society that is artist-led and audience-focused.

I am also pleased to be able to deliver additional supports to this sector in line with Government commitments. In Budget 2019, funding for the arts and culture sector increased by €22.6m to almost €190m which represents an increase of 14% on 2018. This funding comprises of €148.2m in current expenditure and €41.7m in capital investment. This includes an increase to the Arts Council funding by almost €6.8m or 10% to a total of €75m made up of €6m in current expenditure, which is more than double the increase in 2018.

Question No. 81 answered with Question No. 67.

Commemorative Events

Ceisteanna (82)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

82. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the actions which will be taken to ensure that commemorations in 2019 will be inclusive, sensitive and respectful commemorative events and activities for all communities. [1711/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

As the Minister with responsibility for leading the Decade of Centenaries commemorative programme, my priority is to ensure that the Government's approach to the remembrance of the significant historical events and related themes of the period from 1919 to 1923 is appropriate, measured, respectful, inclusive and sensitive to the different perspectives that persist on the events of this period.

At the Government's first cabinet meeting this year, I outlined my proposed overall approach to commemorations in 2019 and over the remainder of the Decade. This approach will continue to be informed by the guidance of the Expert Advisory Group on Centenary Commemorations - specifically, the principles laid down in the Advisory Group's Second Statement, which was published in October 2017, and also the most recent specific guidance from this Group, which I published on 8th January. This guidance is available on my Department's website (https://www.chg.gov.ie/minister-madigan-announces-publication-of-guidance-of-the-expert-advisory-group-on-decade-of-centenaries-1919-1923/ ). The advice will inform the Government's approach to the remembrance of specific historical events over the coming years, including the Struggle for Independence, the Civil War, the Foundation of the State and Partition. This latest guidance follows from last year's publication of the Group's Second Statement of Principles. These guiding principles have been widely commended for providing clarity and a broad template to support all involved in delivering authentic, citizen-focused and meaningful commemorations at national and local level over the remainder of the Decade.

The All-Party Consultation Group on Commemorations also has a significant contribution to make and will be instrumental in promoting an authentic, consensus-based and inclusive approach. I look forward to continued positive engagement and consultation with both groups over the coming period.

My objective in developing the State Commemorative Programme for the years from 2019 – 2023 is to ensure that, in remembering this complex period in our history, we promote a deeper understanding of the significance of these events, which accepts that the shared historical experience of those years gave rise to very different narratives and memories. It will also take account of sensitivities across communities in Northern Ireland and continue to recognise that very different perspectives persist on many of these events.

This Programme will be based on a four strand approach comprising:

- A State Ceremonial Strand which will comprise a limited number of symbolic acts of national commemoration focusing on themes of remembrance and reconciliation and on the commemoration of all of those who lost their lives during this period.

- An Historical Strand which will comprise a diverse range of activities designed to encourage authentic historical enquiry about this period and promote the use of primary archival sources. Initiatives will be developed in collaboration with State partners, National Cultural Institutions, institutions of learning and other stakeholders.

- A Community Strand, which will involve a collaborative approach – similar to that adopted for the 1916 centenary commemorations – between the State, local authority network and community organisations, including in Northern Ireland where appropriate.

- The Creative Imagination Strand, which will continue to encourage artistic and creative expression in remembrance of the significant historical events of the period from 1919 to 1923 and all of those who lost their lives.

Hare Coursing Regulation

Ceisteanna (83)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

83. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will report on the findings of officials of the National Parks and Wildlife Service attending coursing meetings in 2018; if there will be an increase in attendances of officials in 2019; and if she has commissioned a report to examine the sustainability of the Irish hare. [1693/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

My Department issued the Irish Coursing Club (ICC) with licences in August 2018 on behalf of its affiliated clubs to capture and tag hares for the 2018/19 coursing season.

I have already informed the Deputy in my response to Priority Question No. 5 today that where resources allow, local NPWS conservation rangers and other staff attend coursing meetings to conduct on-the-spot checks and to monitor compliance with the licences issued to the Irish Coursing Club and its affiliated clubs. For the current coursing season, my Department has concentrated its efforts on monitoring regular coursing meetings and to date has monitored some thirty two coursing events compared to a total of thirty five coursing events during the previous 2017/18 season. My Department’s monitoring reports for the 2017/18 season are all available on the NPWS website at www.npws.ie .

My Department will be appointing additional conservation rangers during 2019 and it would be my intention that more coursing meetings and trials would be monitored during the next coursing season.

My Department recently commissioned a new assessment of the status of hare’s population in Ireland. The survey work to inform this population assessment has already begun with the main survey work occurring over the 2018/19 winter period. The final report is due in mid-2019.