Thursday, 29 September 2022
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
13. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht further to Parliamentary Question No. 20 of 21 June 2022, the status of the legacy framework arising from Galway 2020; if she will provide a breakdown of the way that the remaining €1 million from her Department’s commitment to Galway 2020 will be spent; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47574/22]
Baineann mo cheist le Gaillimh 2020, oidhreacht an togra seo agus soiléiriú ar an oidhreacht sin. I followed up Galway 2020, with its myriad of problems and its successes from day one. My specific question relates to what is being left and the legacy framework. Can the Minister of State please give specifics on that?
My Department is liaising with Galway 2020 on the development and implementation of the proposed legacy framework arising from the designation of Galway as Ireland's 2020 European Capital of Culture. In that regard, Galway 2020 is due to submit its proposals on the proposed legacy programme shortly and I would expect that the €1 million available will be spent. As set out in the reply of 21 June from the Minister, Deputy Catherine Martin, the overall framework focuses on a number of key strategic areas that are the most important legacies for Galway as a European Capital of Culture including sustaining and strengthening existing partnerships, networks and opportunities in Europe and internationally, as well as forging new opportunities for Galway based artists and cultural organisations; drawing on the successful delivery of projects under the Galway 2020 programme to support new place-based cultural programming, including through the Irish language; and supporting the Galway cultural and creative sector to build capacity through training, advice and networking opportunities.
Until the legacy framework is agreed I am not in a position to advise on the breakdown, but the framework will be published and will contain a breakdown of how the funding will be applied. However, I can advise that the funding will primarily focus on providing direct supports to artists, arts organisations and community arts groups to participate in programmes under each of the strategic areas. For example, it will include co-funding for successful applications to EU and international funding programmes, such as Creative Europe. The funding will also build on the flagship placed-based programme under Galway 2020, Small Towns Big Ideas, with new calls for projects as well as initiatives aimed at sustaining and enhancing the capacity of artists and arts organisations to deliver projects of scale. In addition, the board to the company, which retains the chief executives of Galway city and county councils, has made a number of new appointments from senior representatives from local education, business, broadcast, regional and development authorities to drive the delivery of actions under this framework.
I state reluctantly that the reply is very disappointing and the Minister of State will know why, given the history of this project. It started in 2014 and it is now 2022. He provided a repetition of the answer I received in June about a framework.
Where is the framework? Why has it not been published? There were serious issues from day one with this project with regard to constant turnover of staff, governance issues and a lack of robust control. The myriad problems were highlighted at the Committee of Public Accounts by the special report from the Comptroller and Auditor General. This should have been an inherent part of the planning of the project, given the €15 million from the Department, with €1 million still outstanding for heritage. Surely, eight years later, there should be a clear outline of what that €1 million will be used for. Galway is crying out for rehearsal and performance spaces - we heard when we were in touch this week with artists on the ground - among many other things.
The proposed legacy framework for Galway 2020 was received by officials of the Minister, Deputy Martin, in late June. In the intervening period, officials reviewed the framework and engaged with Galway 2020 and Galway city and county councils on the development of legacy actions for implementation. The proposed framework focuses on a number of key areas including building existing EU and international partnerships, supporting place-based cultural programming and supporting the cultural and creative sector.
In order to develop the framework, Galway 2020 undertook an extensive consultation process with stakeholders, including cultural and community organisations and local State and business entities. The €1 million remaining commitment from the overall €15 million from the Department to Galway 2020 will contribute to the implementation of initiatives under the legacy framework with a particular emphasis on directly supporting artists or arts organisations and community arts groups.
The development of the legacy framework will sustain and build on the capacity of networks and opportunities arising from the cultural programme of Galway 2020, which is a key deliverable of the overall European capital of culture action.
I will try to capture something in one minute. In an analysis of the capital of culture, 87% of the funds came from the public purse. The Comptroller and Auditor General said this was contrary to a Government decision that it would only be 50%. There are many other problems besides. Here we have another framework and committee and, in the meantime, the building of a former industrial school, known as Lenaboy has - officially - been sitting vacant since 2011. It is vacant since 2009. The narrative was that it was given as a gift to the city by the Sisters of Mercy. It was not. The building is part of the redress. I am drawing to the Minister of State's attention that it sits there. Does he know what the visionary management has done with the building? It has put out a tender for cameras to monitor and make the place secure, not seeing the irony that this was an industrial school where children were locked up. We are talking about a framework and the management cannot seem to put two things together or even look at the possibility of using that building in an imaginative way that gives suitable thanks to the children who were in there through no cause of their own.
I do not have specific detail or information on that but I acknowledge the Deputy's frustration. I do not know the background of the specific school but if there is a role for the officials of the Minister, Deputy Martin, to engage with that, I will reflect that feedback. I have been told that the delay in the finalisation of the legacy framework was that Galway 2020 engaged in extensive consultation with key stakeholders as part of this legacy development. It also reviewed and took into account key findings and recommendations from the independent evaluation of Galway 2020 by The Audience Agency, including recommendations to sustain and build on established networks at national and European level, as well as further enhancing the capacity of the sector, in particular in light of the impact of the pandemic on delivery.
My Department reviewed the proposed framework and worked with Galway 2020 on areas for clarification and further refinement in respect of departmental funding. As was set out in the response by the Minister, Deputy Martin, we expect in the coming week the final submission for approval with respect to the allocation of the remaining €1 million from the Department's commitment to Galway 2020.