Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 11 April 2017
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
National Museum of Ireland: Discussion
We will now consider the topic of the protection of marine historical sites, including the Lusitania site, and the licensing of diving at these sites and the topic of human resources issues in the National Museum of Ireland with representatives of the National Museum of Ireland. We thank the witnesses for coming before the committee. We appreciate their presence. We have many important questions for them. We understand they are part of a team seeking to fix many of these situations and resolve the difficulties that have been experienced within the National Museum of Ireland.
I formally welcome Ms Catherine Heaney, chairperson, and Raghnall Ó Floinn Uasal, director of the National Museum of Ireland.
Before we start, I draw the witnesses' attention to the fact that by virtue of section 17(2)(l) of the Defamation Act 2009, they are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to this committee. However, if they are directed by the committee to cease giving evidence regarding a particular matter and they continue to do so, they are entitled thereafter only to qualified privilege in respect of their evidence. They are directed that only evidence connected with the subject matter of these proceedings is to be given and are asked to respect the parliamentary practice to the effect that, where possible, they should not criticise or make charges against any person or entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable. I also advise them that the opening statement and any other documents they have submitted to the committee may be published on the committee website after this meeting.
Members are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against a person outside the Houses or an official either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable.
We will submit the minutes of today's meeting to the Minister for her perusal.
I now call on the witnesses to address the committee. Do they have an initial address with which they would like to start off or would they prefer to go into questions straight away?
Ms Catherine Heaney:
I ask the Chairman to give us direction as to how he wants to treat the items. I understand the committee wants to deal with the Lusitania issue as well as the issue of human resources, HR. They are quite separate issues. If possible, I ask him to map out how he would like to treat-----
Ms Catherine Heaney:
Very well. Gabhaim buíochas leis an gCathaoirleach, na Teachtaí agus na Seanadóirí. As chair of the National Museum of Ireland, I am pleased to be in a position to co-operate with the committee. I understand the committee has a very special and deep interest in HR issues as they pertain to the National Museum of Ireland. I also wish to refer to the statement just made by the Chairman as to the limitations and legal obligations of witnesses. In addition to his citation, I wish to place firmly on the record that the National Museum of Ireland has an absolute obligation as an employer to maintain confidentiality and respect for all our employees, past and present. This obligation of confidentiality is absolutely paramount and therefore precludes us as the employer from commenting on or answering any questions relating to current or former employees. I hope our colleagues, the members, will understand this position and our obligation.
In preparation for this engagement, I have reflected generally on the issue of HR. Over the past 20 years, I have served on the national executive and international executive of a trade union, sat on the boards of both statutory and not-for-profit organisations, chaired four boards and run two organisations including my current business, which employs 14 staff. It is my experience that even in the smallest organisation, even where practices are very good, HR issues do arise. I would be surprised if there is anyone in this room who has not had to deal with a HR or industrial relations, IR, issue. I say this not to excuse the HR problems the museum has experienced but everything deserves a context.
In my statement and in the time allowed to me I will not speak on every detail we submitted to the committee for its consideration. Rather, I have chosen to highlight some key points and hope by the end of this hearing that the committee will have the adequate information to further its deliberations and make whatever recommendations it sees fit.
In many ways, in an organisation that is older than the State itself, it is only possible for us to account for the HR function at the museum in more recent years. It is important at this point to state that Mr. Ó Floinn, the director, has been in place since 2013 and I have been in place as board chair since July 2016. Therefore, we can only really discuss with any great sense of conviction the issues to which we have been exposed in our time.
It is important to make the general point that the museum in its long lifetime has had many parents, moving around a number of Government Departments before eventually becoming an autonomous body 12 years ago.
The year 2005 marked when the board was appointed to the museum and the HR function started to be devolved from the Department with responsibility for the arts. By 2008, the museum's HR unit had achieved a full staff complement. By the following year, the unit had started to haemorrhage. By 2011, the training and recruitment officer, the HR officer and the HR manager had either left or retired. In addition, a public sector recruitment moratorium and a huge reduction in funding prevented the museum from addressing the deficits. At this point, the Department started to consider the establishment of a shared services unit with the National Museum and the National Library of Ireland. At the same time, the management of the museum and staff associations sought a review by the LRC of the HR function and situation. The review highlighted poor communications and poor dispute resolution by the museum. A forum chaired by the LRC set about resolving the issues through restructuring and strategic planning among other wide-ranging measures, which have been supplied to the committee in the pack that we issued last week. In 2013, much of the HR function and associated staff effectively went back to the museum, but the function was not returned to the museum until last year. As the committee can see, even within that short space of time, the HR function has had many parents. It has not remained static or in one place and it has not been developed.
The HR function now rests with the museum corporate services unit and is managed by the head of operations. A key action of that unit was the health and well-being survey, the results and recommendations of which were published in November. I am aware that the information was shared with the committee. The results showed that there were continuing issues relating to staff morale, HR processes and trust. A programme of implementing measures to address these issues is now under way.
I wish to draw the attention of members to the fact that we have included a summary of complaints, personal injury cases and cases before mediation in the submission that was furnished to the committee last week. For the record, I would like to state that there are no cases of bullying or harassment currently under investigation or currently subject to mediation at the National Museum of Ireland. We continue to deal with a small number of HR matters. Given the nature of HR that I alluded to at the very start, HR will always probably feature as part of our work and as issues.
HR issues have cost the museum and the State both in terms of reputation and financially. Any negative impact on those who have been affected is something that is of concern to me, the board and the management of the National Museum of Ireland. Since taking office in July 2016, the board of the National Museum has worked very hard with the executive to ensure that we achieve high standards in all of the functions vested in us in our enabling legislation. We are well advanced, as this committee may be aware because we invited it to participate in the consultation on our master plan or long-term sustainable roadmap for the next 20 years and beyond. We have also completed the process of appointing internal auditors. They will be charged with the function of auditing all our internal controls and systems, including the HR function. Recently we allocated one of our full meetings to reviewing a report that we asked the executive to prepare on the museum's HR function. We have since agreed a range of measures to achieve excellency in our HR function. That is what we have sought to do, to achieve excellency in HR. The decision we took as a board to consider HR was taken well ahead of media and political interest in the museum's HR area. Since considering the report and agreeing a board resolution on the matter, I am also pleased to say that we are being actively supported by the Minister and her Department to enact a series of HR measures. We are working more at a macro-organisational matter to implement the master plan.
When I appeared before this committee back in September, I said that I was ambitious for the museum and so was my board. That is why we joined the board, prepared applications and went through a process to be appointed as public servants to the National Museum of Ireland. I am really committed to excellence and planning for the future.
Over the past number of months, we have developed a dynamic relationship with the Department. We are entering an exciting time in the whole arena of culture and heritage through the Creative Ireland project and recent policy decisions. The museum needs a strong organisation and cohort who function well and respond to change and opportunities ahead. I view this as a highly achievable outcome.
I would like to use this opportunity to say something about the negative headlines and the profiling of the HR issue at the museum. As some members will know, I am a big fan of the museum. Before I became the chairperson, I visited at least one museum a month, if not more. As chairperson of the museum, I visit at least one of the museum's sites once a week, sometimes more and sometimes twice or three times. In the past nine months, I have come in contact with some hugely dynamic people who work at the museum and do the State a huge public service. Last year, as people will be aware, the museum created with very little resources an exhibition entitled Proclaiming a Republic. As I have done previously, I urge the committee to engage with the exhibition as it is an excellent showcase of the 1916 Rising and the events around it. To date, 170,000 visitors have seen the exhibition.
At the end of March, I was pleased to open an exhibition of contemporary work that celebrates 60 years of a diplomatic relationship between Ireland and Japan. The exhibition focused on the Sodeisha movement. The project is important for us as a museum because over the past 100 years our collecting policy focused on gathering items that told the story of Ireland and, in many ways, we missed out on some of the cultural developments around the globe. The Sodeisha movement was instrumental in changing ceramic arts around the world. I know that it has been hugely influential on Irish ceramic artists. The decision by the museum to collect contemporary international collections has been an important departure for me. The exhibition also defines and celebrates Ireland's relationship with Japan.
I noted in recent weeks our outreach collaboration with the national neighbourhood programme operated by the Dublin City Council. The museum has demonstrated that it is one of the excellent partners in the initiative where community engagement, particularly in the more disadvantaged communities surrounding the museum's catchment area, has ensured that people can engage and explore the museums in ways that they have not previously done so.
I am pleased to say that on Easter Monday we will open the Proclaiming a Republic exhibition from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. as part of the Cruinniú na Cásca celebrations. Normally we are closed on Mondays but staff have facilitated the event.
I have given a snapshot of developments at the museum. They are in addition to our daily functions around caring for, acquiring and documenting collections to serve the State. All of those achievements would not have happened if staff did not go over and beyond the call of normal duty. It demonstrates the passion and interest that staff have in the museum's work.
I have established an effective working relationship with the director and management of the museum. I serve with a very committed and hardworking board who all work on a pro bono basis as part of our contribution to the National Museum of Ireland. The kind of dedication and commitment that I have experienced at the museum is not headline making but it is mostly what one sees and experiences when one interacts with the museum.
As a country, we have been picking ourselves up off the ground and the museum is not alone. The museum will commence a journey with a new master plan over the coming months. It is future facing but learning lessons from the past. We are oiling all of the wheels so that we can move best to serve the public in the decades and centuries ahead. I believe HR is part of management and will always be there. The stronger the HR function is, the fewer problems will emerge, which is what we are trying to achieve. I am happy to take further questions.
Gabhaim míle buíochas leis an bhfinné as an gcur i láthair sin. Bhí sé an-suimiúil agus forleathan. Táimid an-bhuíoch as sin. There is a great number of good, hardworking people in the National Museum of Ireland and we applaud them for the work they have done over the past number of years. Much good work is being done in the development of exhibitions and making those exhibitions accessible to the citizens of the country. Ms Heaney is correct that there are two sides to every experience. Where there are human resources, there are human resources issues. That is the nature of it. The reason the committee has sought to focus on the issue and, if one likes, shine a light on it is to help Ms Heaney's team, hopefully, to draw a line under what has been experienced and motivate the Department to take an added interest in reforming the situations.
By way of background, I have received information with regard to the situation in the National Museum of Ireland in recent years. In 2011, a firm of psychotherapists and psychologists was employed by the National Museum of Ireland to deal with the issues of low morale and bullying within the National Museum of Ireland. Subsequently, they sent a letter to the Minister. The letter stated that they, in their relatively long experience of providing staff care employee assistance programmes to many different types of organisations, had never previously encountered what appeared from their perspective to be a prolonged, systemic and institutionalised bullying of the general staff by some senior members of the administrative staff. I understand the trade unions, which have also been involved in working with the staff, have stated the same. They felt the experience of staff in that scenario has been an outlier.
I have gone through some of the different costs incurred by the National Museum of Ireland over the years and I estimate that €1.5 million to €1.8 million has been spent on consultants' reports, agencies or legal settlements of some sort to deal with the issue. There has also been a number of investigations and reports. The Labour Relations Commission was involved in one report in 2013. Its report stated that 88% of staff viewed morale in the museum to be poor; that staff had stated that there was a negative industrial relations culture typified by mutual mistrust, adversarialism and poor communications and consultation; that there was a poor dialogue between senior management and staff, a poor history of individual conflict resolution and poor team spirit; and that there was an acknowledgement by management of a poor industrial relations culture, etc.
In 2016, a Work Positive Profile report, which I obtained under the freedom of information regime, was commissioned and published. The report appears to echo the findings of the Labour Relations Commission's report in 2013. It stated 20% of employees reported that they were often or always subject to bullying while a further 20% stated they were sometimes victims of bullying. Cumulatively, that is 40% of staff within the National Museum of Ireland. More than 40% of employees were deemed to be at risk of developing anxiety or depression and almost 70% of respondents felt that employee morale was poor to very poor, with poor communication and a lack of trust of employees. Seven in ten employees wanted mental health support to deal with stress and depression. Staff contentedness in the National Museum of Ireland was deemed to be at the bottom fifth of that of Irish companies.
Further, I understand that at least three cases have been brought to the High Court with regard to alleged bullying. I know the witnesses will not be able to speak to any of those cases in particular, nor do I wish to speak to them except to give that reflection about the experience. I believe other particular staff issues have gone to the High Court that do not relate purely to allegations of bullying.
These are typically men and women who have strong characters and work hard in the profession they love. When speaking to them, these individuals told me they have had shattered lives and experienced emotional collapse and major stress. Some attribute other illnesses, etc., in their lives to this although that cannot be proven in any way at all.
I am told one of the key problems over the years is that typically the first thing people are asked to do when they bring complaints is to redefine those complaints as non-complaints. A process would then happen to deal with it. If they did not, they were pressurised to withdraw complaints. If that did not happen, the National Museum of Ireland would often then have a strong team of solicitors and be quick and ready to build a legal and financial wall around these complaints to ensure that they did not proceed any further. I was even told - perhaps Mr. Ó Floinn will be able to answer it - that someone who had a major difficulty with the National Museum of Ireland and had left it and was in a new place of employment was hand-delivered a letter by a member of the senior management of the National Museum of Ireland in that new place of work. Perhaps that could be addressed later.
There is also the issue of protected disclosures. I had a discussion with the Minister about this over the past number of months. It is a disputed, at best, one could say, protected disclosure. Has the National Museum of Ireland received a complaint which had "This is a protected disclosure" as a sentence within its first paragraph? Has the museum dealt with the contents of the protected disclosure? Was the disputed protected disclosure given to the individual who was the subject of these complaints as well? Perhaps those questions could be addressed first.
Ms Catherine Heaney:
I will pass over the Mr. Ó Floinn in a second. However, the Chairman has asked a number of specific questions about specific cases and individuals. I wish to go back to my opening remark about our obligation as an employer. We cannot link an identifier that may be known to be associated with a current or former staff member to-----
Sure. I do not wish for the witnesses to identify the individual in any way or his or her position within the National Museum of Ireland. However, we will have to speak about specific events for us to identify the culture that has existed and, therefore, the policies which we need to reform.
Okay. If I can, I will move onto the issue of the finance department. A report was commissioned by the National Museum of Ireland and Capita focused on the finance department. I understand that the finance department has been part of the difficulties within the National Museum of Ireland over the past number of years. The Capita report stated that an individual should be promoted to the position of finance manager, or the position created. I have spoken to individuals who have worked in that position. Their view was that the finance manager would not necessarily be involved in meetings on the financial management of the museum. The Capita report got to the heart of it and stated that there should be someone in that position and that the individual should be empowered with the task of ensuring that function was delivered properly. Since that Capita report has been put in place, has the position been created and filled?
Mr. Raghnall Ó Floinn:
The current position is that since 2014 the National Museum has employed two contract personnel in the finance unit, an accountant and an assistant accountant to assist the museum in developing and dealing with its finances. The intention is that these contract positions will be replaced by permanent members of staff. We are aware of the Capita report. We intend to fill one of those posts, the assistant accountant, as a permanent position. We are in a recruitment phase and that post will be filled later on this year. In regard to the position of accountant, because we are in a transition period of moving to shared financial services system across the public service, we need to maintain continuity of expertise which the individual who is in the post at present has built up in the past two or three years. It is our intention that all financial management will be carried out by the museum and not by consultants.
This is the committee to ask the representatives from the National Museum about the current state of play in the museum. The Chairman seems to have a number of very heavily researched questions to fire at these two individuals. If I was in their position I would refuse to answer because it is clear that the Chairman is coming from the positron of having knowledge from an individual as to how cases were handled or were not handled. These two individuals are trying to run a national institution, they have a lot on their plate. I do not know how well they are paid or even if they are paid to do that job. To be before a committee like this and to field the questions the Chairman is throwing at them, I do not know if I am on my own here, but I am deeply-----
First, we had a discussion in the past number of weeks on this. Knowledge and research is not a bad thing when one is looking to deal with questions. I take the Senator's point that it is a difficult line of questioning. It is not a line of questioning that I take any comfort in whatsoever.
May I finish? The reason I asked these questions is that it has come to our knowledge that for a long period of time, back to 2011, there has been reports written by psychotherapists and psychiatrists and a large number of internal reports commissioned by the National Museum itself which shows a significant level of unease and difficulties among staff there. This has happened over a period of at least eight years, that we know about. We have an opportunity to see if we can help fix that issue, to see if we can shine a light on it to see if we can bring it to the attention of the Department at such a level that the Department will have to deal with it and to give the necessary supports to the Chairman of the Board and the director of the museum to see if we can resolve these issues. If it were the case that these were one-off reports or one-off items, it would not be my intention to bring it to the committee's knowledge, but the fact that this has been ongoing for such a long time, it would be wrong to allow this to proceed without a general focus on it.
If we want to discuss further the method in which we do that, I am very open to taking on board the views of the committee on this. Perhaps we should adjourn and go into private session and refocus on the rules of engagement to do so. It is my desire that we shine the necessary focus on it.
I am conscious that Senator O'Donnell wants to come in, but the Chairman is effectively raising issues of intimidation - I want to be very careful about my language here - and inappropriate sexual behaviour.
Would Ms Heaney mind if I asked her how long she has been in this position?
In regard to the issues the Chairman is raising, I do not know if they have been resolved, settled or are ongoing. I have no knowledge of them. I think it possibly would be more productive - this is my instinct and other speakers can make their points - to speak of what happens from now on, with a newly appointed chairman and people working with the museum as to how they address the broad set of cultural issues.
At this stage, we should suspend and go into private session. I understand the Deputy is new to these issues and does not have the background that I have on them. It might be a useful if we can have a discussion in private session.
Apologies for keeping everyone for so long during the adjournment. I thank the witnesses for coming back.
The final few minutes of the meeting will discuss the plans for restructuring and reform. The 2013 LRC report set out a number of steps that need to be taken and the 2016 report had recommendations for what needs to be done. The LRC report looks at setting up a museum council and a communication forum, recommends that the existing management committee be replaced by a management advisory committee, and that an implementation officer be appointed.
Could the witnesses tell the committee what progress has been made on those recommendations?
Mr. Raghnall Ó Floinn:
The museum council has been up and running since January this year. That is a forum for dealing with industrial relations issues and collective dispute resolution. The staff forum has now been agreed and it will hold its first meeting in May. Part of that delay arose because there was a detailed process of consultation with staff associations on the composition and the terms of reference on these two forums because nothing existed before this and I was determined that if we were going to do this, we would do it right. We now have mechanisms in place for staff to be nominated to those forums by their staff associations. That is all in place. In the meantime we were doing dispute resolution in terms of the individual dispute resolution by the same process, the grievance procedures were completely reviewed and re-written and the dignity in work policy was similarly done. They are the actions that arose out of the reports.
Mr. Raghnall Ó Floinn:
The implementation officer related to the restructuring plan for the museum which is completed. The restructuring which was agreed in May 2014 is only finishing now because it has taken that long to fill the posts. That was set back at a time when we were dealing with employment control framework figures where the museum had to reduce its staffing numbers. It was a very difficult time for the museum to negotiate through that. That process is now coming to an end and the last number of posts are being filled over the coming months.
What about the recommendations in the 2016 report? Obviously the museum has been resolving some of the issues in the 2016 report. Does the museum have the necessary resources? Does it need more resources from the Department? What needs to be done to make sure that the recommendations identified in that particular report are resolved?
Mr. Raghnall Ó Floinn:
One of the things we will do, and the board of the museum decided this at its meeting in January, was to have a full review of HR in the museum, its policies and procedures in order to bring us up to best practice. Part of that review will include what staffing is required for the museum. We have been assured that we will get the support of the Department in relation to implementing that review.
Ms Catherine Heaney:
We have already commenced engagement with the Department and have approval for additional resources. I set out a number of measures on the HR function and want to reiterate that HR issues exist in all organisations.
I want to come back on points that were made about the staff survey prior to the adjournment. I am a fan of good quality research and research methodologies. The survey was exactly that - a survey. I consider canvassing staff for feedback to be a good practice in HR, not something that should be distributed to the media for headlines. It is a useful tool for management to address HR concerns, but it is not the only tool. If we were to do more adequate research, that would require funds. I want to correct the record, that all staff completed the survey, they did not, about two-thirds did. We need to be very clear about that.
There were also some positives in that survey. I want to state that about 93% of staff said they were happy to come to work. That is what I observed. In case a message goes out there that there are not good staff and good attitudes to work in the museum, my experience is that there are. I acknowledge there are problems but we are working incredibly hard to address them.
I assure the committee that my board and I put in roughly eight to 20 hours voluntary service per week to address a number of challenges we have as a board and we try to balance all the challenges, giving due attention to each one. I think we will be able with the committee's support to bring the museum into the future with a proper roadmap that very much takes into consideration the shape of our collections and how we present them. I previously raised issues concerning the long-term future of the storage of our collections. These are all significant policy issues with which we must grapple. It is not just a matter of HR; the museum has a wide remit. The legislation is substantial. I have it here. I carry it around with me. I am always reminded of our wide-ranging functions.
For my own part, the National Museum is such an important part of Irish life. It is educational, inspiring and central to how we understand ourselves as a people. This is why I feel it is useful for us to focus on trying to reform and fix it and make sure it is more accessible to the general public. I take completely Ms Heaney's point that the new board is voluntary and has an enormous task and I wish the museum great luck with that task over the next number of years. Perhaps in about six months to a year we could have a discussion to see how the issues that have been outlined in the reports are being implemented.
I thank the chairperson and the director of the museum and the other witnesses for being here. I consider the museum to be the language of who we are, what we are and what we can become. I am delighted to meet Ms Heaney and Mr. Ó Floinn. I was just reading Culture 2025, which will play such a major part in our lives. I wish to ask the witnesses two questions. First, are they looking forward to hosting the Seanad? Do they wish to comment on that? We are looking forward to going there. Second, before we leave, what is the most interesting object in either of the museums which the witnesses think we should go to see?
Ms Catherine Heaney:
I will answer the question on the ceramics room and leave the other question to Mr. Ó Floinn. I have my favourite objects as well, but regarding the ceramics room and facilitating the Seanad, I think one of the lessons the Houses of the Oireachtas have learned, the museum has learned and our other neighbour has perhaps learned is that it is better to work collaboratively. The National Museum of Ireland has quite a number of shortcomings. I outlined when I made my first presentation here the fact that we have a beautiful but leaking roof in the rotunda that needs to be fixed. We have many infrastructural problems. I also mentioned the fact that we do not have a lift, so anyone with a mobility issue cannot access the upper galleries in our national museum. I am not happy about that. What we can do collaboratively to improve access and the condition of these historic buildings are two very important matters. At that level, there has been more than one good outcome. Not only will the Seanad be able to sit somewhere very convenient to the facilities of Leinster House, but we also now have a much better collaborative working relationship. The Ceann Comhairle is leading on that and we very much appreciate that support.
I have just one more question on the Lusitania. I will address it to Mr. Ó Floinn and we will excuse Ms Heaney and thank her for coming before the committee. The Lusitaniais one of the most important sites off the coast of Ireland. It is a national gravesite and a serious archaeological and historical site in its own right. Is it the case that there have been quite strict criteria for dives and supervision of dives from the Department in partnership with the National Museum of Ireland?
I have taken a look at some of the evidence concerning what has happened in recent times. We know that there seemed to be a change in those criteria and that supervision, and this seems to have happened unilaterally within the Department. There was a mishap in the dive that occurred as a result of this in that the key telegraph machine it went down to recover was lost. It fell from a retrieval process so, if found, it is likely to be fairly damaged. The National Museum of Ireland has a role in this process. Does Mr. Ó Floinn think it is a good idea that the criteria and the supervision changed?
Mr. Raghnall Ó Floinn:
In that instance, we had been working with the heritage services on wrecks, as we do with all archaeological excavations and licensing. The licensing authority is actually the Department and the Minister. We have an advisory role, as we do regarding archaeological excavations in so far as they relate to archaeological finds. The normal practice is that an archaeologist is present when a dive happens. If there are sports divers or divers who are professional but not qualified, they are accompanied by diving archaeologists. As I understand it, in this instance, which occurred in July last year, no archaeologist was present on the dive. This was brought to our attention in the museum, and I subsequently contacted the National Monuments Service to express my concern at the fact that there appeared to have been a departure from the normal practice. As I understand it from the National Monuments Service, this was an exceptional case because of the particular instances whereby there was a window of opportunity to dive. We were very concerned that this would lead to a precedent for the future but I am assured by the National Monuments Service that this was an exceptional case and that the normal situation would pertain in the future.
Is Mr. Ó Floinn confident that in future the relationship that existed between the National Museum of Ireland and the National Monuments Service will return? I understand the museum heard retrospectively of this change of criteria in this exceptional case.
Mr. Raghnall Ó Floinn:
We are normally consulted in such cases but we are not for the actual issuing of the licenses, which is a matter for the Department. We are confident we will continue to work with our colleagues in the National Monuments Service on this as well as on all archaeological excavations.