27/06/2012: Minister Deenihan – Cultural Institutions Reform
Periodic examination of taxpayer funded institutions is healthy – Deenihan
Wednesday, June 27th – Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will present a Government counter motion this evening in Seanad Éireann in relation to the Public Service Reform Plan and institutions which come under the remit of his Department.
As part of the Public Service Reform Plan the Minister is examining a range of reform proposals that involve institutions including the National Gallery of Ireland, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Crawford Art Gallery, the National Archives, the Irish Manuscripts Commission, the National Library, the National Museum and Culture Ireland.
In advance of this evening’s debate, the Minister has commented:
“My starting principle – in this entire process – is that the periodic examination of organisations, especially those receiving money from the taxpayer, is a healthy and necessary exercise.
“I want to ensure that Ireland’s national cultural institutions can optimize the funding they receive from the taxpayer – in an era of vastly diminished resources – and be equipped to deal with the range of issues which will arise in the future, like philanthropy and private fundraising.
“In addition, one of the obvious ways in which the taxpayer could get more value for money would be for institutions to share common services like marketing or human resources. This, to me, is common sense – pure and simple.
The Minister has also responded to the allegation that he has stymied the open recruitment of Directors for the cultural institutions:
“I want to nail this on the head. Since I came to office we have recruited new Directors at the National Concert Hall, the National Gallery, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Arts Council – all through open competitions managed by the Public Appointments Service. At the moment, my Department is in discussions with the PAS regarding the next Director of the National Museum. People should look at my record in this matter and draw fair conclusions.”
The Minister concluded:
“In a time of tight resources we have to maximise the use of every cent taxpayers give to every institution. These are the times we live in. No organisation is above examination for reform.
“I will be bringing proposals based on the Public Service Reform Plan to my colleague Minister Howlin, and the Government, in the near future. I look forward to the debate this evening.”