Minister Humphreys addresses legal issues in relation to issue of export licences

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, has today (Tuesday) announced that she has taken action to address legal issues in relation to the issuing of export licences for works of art. The Minister was speaking after her Department settled a case taken by An Taisce in relation to the issuing of licences for a number of paintings owned by the Alfred Beit Foundation.

Export licensing powers were delegated to the National Gallery in 1985 by the then Minister for the Arts, by way of a letter, under the Document and Pictures (Regulation of Export) Act, 1945.

Speaking today Minister Humphreys said:

“I have taken action to address the legal issues identified in relation to the granting of export licences. These issues arose because of the manner in which the powers were delegated to the National Gallery some thirty years ago. As a result of the action I have taken, export licences will be granted by the National Gallery of Ireland under the 1997 National Cultural Institutions Act. My Department will also continue to consider other wider issues relating to export licences, as part of a review instigated last year.

Minister Humphreys has signed a statutory instrument to commence parts of section 6(1) and (2) and certain provisions in section 49 of the National Cultural Institutions Act, 1997.

Accordingly, export licensing of paintings and documents will now be considered under the National Cultural Institutions Act, 1997, in place of the 1945 Act which had been in force to date.

In addition, the Minister also signed a delegation order which delegates the function of export licensing of paintings to the Governors and Guardians of the National Gallery of Ireland.

Both statutory instruments came into operation on 27 July 2015.


Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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