Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 30 September 2014
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht
National Cultural Institutions (National Concert Hall) Bill 2014: Discussion
I thank the Vice Chairman. I apologise but I will be obliged to leave in a few moments. I welcome the witnesses. Head 2 is the usual provision enabling the Minister to grant further functions under the Act. While this is quite in order, I would prefer the granting of further functions to be done with the addition of a requirement for consultation with the relevant Oireachtas committees. I address this point to the Chairman and to the representatives of the Department. Would they have any difficulties with this? I also welcome the reduction in the numbers on the board from 15 down to nine. I would welcome the appearance of all members-designate before this committee prior to their confirmation. In the case of this institution, perhaps the eight ordinary members could appear together and the chairperson could appear separately. This would be to ensure the presence in the cultural institutions of the particular expertise outlined by the Department.
Finally, in respect of heads 23 and 24, to which Mr. Kearney already has made reference. I note that in its submission the National Concert Hall is seeking powers to hire staff in its own right on whatever terms it deems appropriate. However, the heads contain the usual statutory provisions about seeking the consent of the line Minister, as well as that of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in this regard. I recognise that the Minister has a duty to ensure there is value for money and must ensure there are reasonable salary caps for executives. However, the Comptroller and Auditor General is eminently suited to the role of ensuring that people do not lose the run of themselves. Do the witnesses believe there is a requirement for both Ministers to be involved or to give their consent in this particular instance? I apologise but as a vote has been called in the Seanad, I must leave.