Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Order of Business
I want to discuss the proposal to move the Members of the Seanad to the National Museum. I have been contacted by people who work in the museum, who raised the lack of communication about the future plans for this Chamber. They are aggrieved that requests for finance in previous years in order to upgrade the facilities in the National Museum were put to one side. They believe the cultural heritage and the arts communities have been affected disproportionately by the downturn in the economy and the decisions made by various Governments. Now they are aggrieved that investment in the museum is being made to benefit the Houses of the Oireachtas and not the museum itself.There is a great deal of misinformation in regard to whether this House will decamp to the National Museum for one year, two years or three years and in regard to what curtailment will inevitably come into effect in terms of the exhibitions and outreach programmes that can be held by the museum. If this House is to move, as clearly it is proposed to do, the communication lines in that regard need to be better. Perhaps the Leader will ask the Minister with responsibility for this area, Deputy Humphreys, to come to the House for a debate on this issue, which I am sure is one of interest to most Senators. We do not want to be encroaching on another part of the wider campus, not uninvited and not unwelcome, without ensuring that the transition is as smooth as possible and does not overly inhibit the facilities already in place. There is a wider discussion to be had about the stature of the arts, culture and heritage in this State. This would be an opportune time for the Leader to invite the Minister to the Seanad for a debate on the future plans for sittings of this House.