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Private Members Motion Independent Group (Taoiseachs nominees) 27 June 2012

That Seanad Éireann recognises:

Ireland’s obligation under Article 27 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states: “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits”.

Ireland’s national cultural institutions do offer social, economic and educational opportunities that can contribute positively to the lives of all citizens.

The many successful initiatives by Ireland’s national cultural institutions which contribute to the enhancement of Ireland’s reputation abroad and among the diaspora.

The importance of all our national cultural institutions, in delivering a cultural programme in support of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2013 and for The Gathering Ireland 2013 event.

That Seanad Éireann welcomes:

The statement in the Programme for Government (2011-2016) that the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht “will make strategic policy formulation the primary function of the Department, with line agencies and bodies responsible for policy implementation”.

The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Statement of Strategy 2011-2014 mandate “to foster, promote and support Ireland’s world-class artistic and cultural strengths, at home and abroad…”.

That Seanad Éireann notes:

That the Public Service Reform Plan (17 November, 2011) addresses a wide range of issues such as: Implementation of shared services models for HR, payroll, pensions; Evaluation of new business models for the delivery of non-core services; Reform of public procurement processes and property rationalisation; and Reducing costs, addressing duplication and eliminating waste to support job creation.

The under the Public Service Reform Plan, bodies to be rationalised, amalgamated or abolished in 2012 include; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Crawford Art Gallery, National Gallery of Ireland, National Archives, Irish Manuscript Commission, An Comisinéar Teanga, National Library of Ireland, and National Museum of Ireland.

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The under the Public Service Reform Plan, candidate bodies for critical review by the end of June 2012 include; Chester Beatty Library, Placenames Commission, Heritage Council, and Culture Ireland.

That all national cultural institutions understand the need to reduce budgets; show value for money; and support the need for the implementation of a shared services model under the Public Service Reform Plan.

That Seanad Éireann calls on the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht:

To publish the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s response to the Public Service Reform Plan, including the cost-benefit analysis, and projected savings.

To undertake a consultation process similar to the process on the New Human Rights and Equality Body thereby: Establishing a Working Group, including representatives of the national cultural institution effected by the Public Service Reform Plan and the public; Calling for submissions to assist the discussions of the Working Group; Publishing the Report of the Working Group; Presenting the Ministers plan to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht.

To realise the aforementioned commitment in the Programme for Government, by establishing a policy and research unit within the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, so that annual qualitative and quantitative research can be carried out to increase our understanding of the public value of the arts.

To protect the ‘arms-length principlebetween the national cultural institutions and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht by: Retaining independent Boards of Directors; Appointing Board Members on a non-remunerated basis; Publically advertising the position of Director of the National Museum of Ireland; Director of the National Archives of Ireland; and CEO of Culture Ireland.

Senators Fiach Mac Conghail, Martin Mc Aleese, Marie Louise O’Donnell, Mary Ann O’Brien, Jillian van Turnhout, Katherine Zappone

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