Written answers

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

National Museum

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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102. To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will provide an update on the situation regarding the funding of the National Museum of Ireland; if a decision has been made on whether all four museums will remain open from January; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46862/14]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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In the recent Budget, I was pleased to be able to maintain funding for 2015 for the national cultural institutions, including the National Museum, at the same level as 2014. This brought to an end the cycle of unavoidable cuts that have taken place at all of our national cultural institutions in recent years, as the Government worked to rebalance the public finances.

I was, of course, aware of particular funding issues that continued to exist and I have been engaged in ongoing discussions with Chairs and senior management at a number of our cultural institutions, including the National Museum, about addressing those challenges. I was delighted, therefore, to be able to announce last week that I have secured an agreement with the Minister for Public and Reform Expenditure, Brendan Howlin TD, to provide an additional €2 million in funding for the National Cultural Institutions as part of the Revised Estimates, to be published later this month.

The additional funding secured will be used to deal with a number of issues across the cultural institutions. I believe that it gives more certainty to the institutions and will allow them to continue to deliver on their core objectives, while attracting large numbers of people through their doors, including overseas and domestic tourists.

Our national cultural institutions are an essential component of our cultural fabric. Through their collections and exhibitions, they make a huge contribution to our society. I can assure the Deputy of the Government's interest in, and continuing support for, our national cultural institutions and I remain hopeful that, notwithstanding the continuing pressure on the State's finances, it will prove possible to ease the resource constraints on the institutions even further in the future.

With regard to the issue of the National Museum remaining open from January next, I am aware that the Museum has issued a statement to the effect that its four sites are, and will remain, open to visitors, and that media reports that the sites face closure are incorrect.


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