Written answers

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Abbey Theatre

Photo of Willie PenroseWillie Penrose (Longford-Westmeath, Labour)
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63. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans and the proposed timeline for the renovation of the Abbey Theatre; the funding allocated to the theatre arising from budget 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45456/19]

Photo of Josepha MadiganJosepha Madigan (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael)
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In April last year, I launched my Department's sectoral Plan - Investing in Our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018 – 2027 in which the Abbey Theatre's redevelopment project is included. The plan sets out significant investment on a phased basis over the next 10 years prioritised across 3 areas - €785m for Culture; €295m for Heritage and €178m for our Language. The scale of the investment in our cultural infrastructure is unprecedented and will deepen our cultural and heritage foundations. It will also allow us to create world-class cultural institutions.

This capital investment is especially important in relation to the Abbey Theatre, as the building in which the National Theatre is housed is over 50 years old and is widely recognised as deficient in the facilities it provides for artists, audiences and staff and in terms of its energy efficiency. The redevelopment will also honour the theatre’s history and legacy, whilst matching the national theatres of other European capital cities while the Abbey Theatre’s additional aim is to accelerate regeneration of the Theatre’s neighbourhood to transition into an even more attractive destination for leisure, eating, drinking and shopping.

Last week, I was delighted to announce the progression of the Abbey Theatre Redevelopment Project to detailed appraisal stage. The €80m indicative investment in the project will facilitate a fitting redevelopment, contributing to Ireland’s reputation as a centre for theatre as well as revitalising a key area in Dublin city centre. The planning and construction of a facility as large as this has a significant lead-in time.

The project is still at an early stage but the Abbey Theatre will now engage experts to prepare the detailed appraisal documentation required under the Public Spending Code, which will include economic and financial reviews as well as risk assessments. On completion of a positive Business Case, the project will move to design and a future vision for the theatre. It is expected that the Business Case will be completed in mid-2020.

Having a world-class cultural and heritage infrastructure will strengthen our international reputation and I look forward to seeing the Abbey Theatre Redevelopment Project progress over the coming months and years.


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