22/06/2015 Minister Humphreys welcomes Alfred Beit Foundation decision to postpone paintings sale
The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, has this evening (Monday) welcomed the decision of the Alfred Beit Foundation to postpone the proposed auction of artworks from its collection in July.
Speaking this evening Minister Humphreys said:
“When I met with trustees of the Alfred Beit Foundation last week, I asked them to delay the sale of the artworks, so other options could be explored. While conscious and respectful of the independence of the Foundation, my priority is to keep the artworks in Ireland if possible.
“I am very pleased, therefore, that the Foundation has taken the decision to postpone the sale, in light of my request and the emergence of Irish donors who are considering the purchase of some of the artworks. I understand this would involve the donation of artworks to an Irish cultural institution using Section 1003 tax relief. This is very welcome. I also welcome the fact that the Foundation is going to enter negotiations with the auction house Christie’s.
“It is important to note that, while funding constraints remain, the tax relief provided by the Government under Section 1003 of the Finance Act continues to provide a generous mechanism to enable artworks, which would otherwise have left the State, to be kept here. The postponement of the sale allows the necessary breathing space to explore how this mechanism can assist in this case.
“I understand the huge challenges which face those who seek to maintain our major historic houses, such as Russborough. I intend to engage with my Government colleagues, including Minister of State at the OPW, Simon Harris TD, and other State agencies, to consider how we can work together to safeguard the future of Russborough.
“As Minister for Heritage, I am also committed to finding sustainable solutions for the wider historic houses sector. The Steering Group on Historic Houses, which I established several months ago, is due to report to me shortly with a series of action points on how we can protect and promote this sector into the future.”