Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Ceisteanna (19)

Niamh Smyth


19. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she has engaged with representatives of a theatre (details supplied) with regard to reports of three complaints made by staff; if she is satisfied that these matters are being addressed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16753/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Culture)

Any complaints which could be presumed to be those referred to by the Deputy relating to the organisation to which she refers, are a matter for that organisation in the first instance. It would be inappropriate for me to comment in any way on individual cases that may exist.

I would like to point out that Boards of organisations have a duty to ensure that their bodies comply with statutory requirements and to ensure that their staff can work in a safe, dignified and respectful environment free from bullying and harassment. The governance of publicly funded theatres, as with all bodies, is a matter for the Board of the theatres themselves.

I have worked together with officials in my Department, the Arts Council and leading members of theatre organisations since my appointment as Minister to encourage a safe and respectful environment in all cultural organisations. My Department also liaises with the Arts Council in relation to the provision of training to cultural organisations and arts centres around the country through a series of regional information days.

I have repeatedly stated that everyone, regardless of their job, is entitled to work in an atmosphere in which respect, dignity, fairness and equality are very much the norm. I have also reaffirmed my continued commitment to measures aimed at eliminating workplace harassment in the arts and culture sector

My Department has also provided boards under the aegis of my Department with corporate governance training to fulfil their functions more effectively, and to support them in ensuring that policies in relation to equality and respect in the workforce operate effectively in line with best practice. Some of these actions include:

Arranging separate dedicated Governance workshops for board members and senior staff with a particular emphasis on issues relating to bullying, abuse of power and sexual harassment in the workplace;

Working on a collaborative basis with the Arts Council to make similar training available to other cultural organisations and arts centres around the country at a series of regional information days; and

Highlighting to bodies reporting to the Department the nature of their legal obligations, by seeking assurances of their compliance with obligations under employment legislation.