Dáil Éireann - Volume 268 - 17 October, 1973
Arts Bill, 1973: Second Stage.
The Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave
The Taoiseach: I move: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”
The main purpose of the Bill is to provide for the reconstitution of An Chomhairle Ealaíon, established under the Arts Act, 1951.
That Act provided that the council should consist of six ordinary members, appointed by the Government, and up to five co-opted members, and that the director, appointed by the President, should act as chairman of the council. Under the Bill now being moved, it is proposed that the council should comprise a chairman, who will be part-time, and up to 16 other members. Under sections 4 and 12, the term of office of the present members will cease on the day before the new council come into office.
By enlarging the membership in this way, I hope to ensure that the new council can be made representative of all branches of the Arts, including the visual and literary arts, drama and music, and that different areas in the country are properly represented.
Under the 1951 Act, the director of the council holds a part-time office, in addition to acting as chairman at meetings. This arrangement makes great demands on the person holding the combined office and is not, in my opinion, the best way of getting the benefits of a council of this kind. The Bill provides, therefore, for a part-time chairman appointed by the Taoiseach and for a full-time director, appointed by the council, subject to  the sanction of the Taoiseach. The chairman will be paid such remuneration as the Taoiseach may decide, after consultation with the Minister for Finance. He and the council will be responsible for broad policy in the ordinary way. The director will be full-time chief executive officer responsible to the council in an advisory capacity and for the proper performance of its duties.
The Bill contains in sections 6, 9 and 10, the usual provisions relating to membership of the Dáil or Seanad by members, officers and servants, and for the drawing up of a superannuation scheme for the staff of the council.
Section 11 of the Bill contains a new and important provision enabling a local authority to assist the council or any group organising an exhibition or other event whose effect would be to further the aims of the council in relation to the development of the Arts. There has been criticism in the past of the concentration of artistic activities in the larger centres of population. I would hope that this provision would stimulate interested persons and groups throughout the country to organise plays, exhibitions and other similar activities.
Direct State aid to the theatre and the Arts is of the order of £500,000 in the current financial year—without counting money spent on museums, libraries, public art galleries, music, et cetera, and without counting the remission of taxes for income from artistic work. The provision of more money cannot by itself remedy shortcomings in the fostering of the Arts. Often the contrary is the case and affluence can destroy the spirit of creation. However, I do not think we need take so Spartan a view here. I wish only to emphasise that the expenditure of more money need not necessarily result in a proportionate rise in artistic standards; indeed, it may tend to stifle what it seeks to help. For this reason, arguments about how money is to be spent by the new council may be just as important as arguments about amounts.
From what I have said, Deputies will appreciate that support for the Arts exceeds the £100,000 provision appearing  opposite the name of the council in the Vote for which I am responsible. It is evident that there has been support for the practice under which aid for different branches of the Arts is paid from different Votes. I think that a clearer view of the extent of this aid is presented if all moneys are voted together at the one time. I also think that it would make the administration of this aid more effective if all voted subventions could be channelled to the Arts through a widely representative organisation of the type which the new council will be. For this reason, I would hope to have considered, in consultation with the new council, the question of their administering not only the type of grant paid to the existing council but also the money, totalling almost £400,000, paid from the Vote for Miscellaneous Expenses as a grant-in-aid to the National Theatre Society Limited and in additional aid to the theatre. At the present levels of expenditure, this would mean that the new council would have, for disbursement, approximately £500,000 a year. This change would, if implemented, be subject to reasonable savers for existing arrangements.
With greater affluence and the probable shorter working week, the community is going to have greater capacity for leisure pursuits. It is my hope that the work of the new council will guide this development in a way which will lead to an enrichment in the quality of life of all the people.
Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to pay tribute to the achievements of the last director of An Chomhairle Ealaíon and of the members of the present council who have devoted, without monetary reward, their time and effort to advancing the objectives of the council. Their work has not been carried on in ideal conditions and has often not been fully recognised. They will have the comfort of knowing that it has ensured that a solid foundation now exists on which to base further development.
I commend the Bill to the House.
Mr. Wilson Mr. Wilson
Mr. Wilson: The Fianna Fáil Party welcome any Bill, the aim and  object of which is to promote the Arts. We will have a close look at the Bill to see does it, in effect, do that, and are the structures there for this purpose, because outlining structures and organisations will not necessarily improve the position of the artist in our society, nor will it improve artistic standards.
Looking at the Title of the 1951 Act, which this Bill purports to amend, one sees that the purpose of the original Act, and consequently of the one which amends it, is to stimulate public interest in the Arts in the first place. Even a discussion here may do that. Far more important, in my opinion, is the personality of the people who will be appointed director and chairman—two different people this time—of the Arts Council.
In this regard I remember some years ago, having spent some time in involuntary exile, and having got around a few of the art galleries in Europe, coming back to see the National Gallery here in Dublin and seeing it as a very dowdy institution. Since then a new director was appointed and the place has been absolutely alive ever since. It has a place in the hearts of the people not merely of Dublin but also of the provinces simply because the man who is in charge there is selling it to the people. Admittedly, he has, through our good fortune, finances available to him which were not available previously and this enables him to do it.
I should like to emphasise that it is important that a man in this position should have a certain outgoing personality, and should be a man who is prepared to sell what he is in charge of to the public because, after all, it is the public who own it and it is the public who have a direct interest in it and, in particular, it is the youth of the country who will benefit from such development. The purpose of the Act also was to promote the knowledge, appreciation and practice of the arts. In my opinion this is where the Department of Education come in. This is where education in the Arts is important. There is no point in starting at the top. You must teach children to appreciate what the various Arts mean in society.  Society may achieve economic greatness but, in the end, it will be remembered for things of the spirit.
In the 1951 Act there is a definition of the Arts: painting, sculpture, architecture, music, drama, literature and design in industry and the Fine Arts. That is the range. It is in all those fields that the incipient appreciation must be attended to in our educational system. As part of their responsibility the council will have to think of what is going on in our schools in relation to art, knowledge of art, appreciation of art and the practice of art, where the Arts teachers will be all-important. The definition of the Arts in the original Act is comprehensive enough. I should like pottery to be mentioned specifically so that, where patronage or money or exhibitions were concerned, pottery would not be excluded. I presume it may be taken in under the Fine Arts generally, the phrase at the end of the descriptive passage in the 1951 Act.
There are some points I should like to make apart from referring in passing to what is happening in Kilkenny, which is covered at the end of the definition in section 1 of the 1951 Act: design in industry. I should like to emphasise something which was referred to in the Taoiseach's speech, that is, the importance of extra-Dublin activity and extra-large city activity. All the exhibitions et cetera tend to go to the larger centres of the population and there tends to be neglect of the lesser centres. For that reason we welcome the reference to the powers to be given to the local authorities in this Bill.
I think the local authorities have power already to buy paintings, for example, and to aid exhibitions. I am subject to correction on that, but I think they have such power already because I remember reading of debates by local authorities on this matter some time ago. If this is merely a reiteration of what is there already it is still worthwhile because, in general, it is a good thing if the Arts are encouraged outside the large cities.
I might refer here to the encouragement in the old Act to co-operate with persons. I have a very strong  feeling about the patronage of the Arts. Semi-State bodies, et cetera, have given some patronage by way of purchasing pictures, or subsidising music festivals, or employing up-and-coming architects and so on but, taking it all in all, companies and firms have fallen down in this regard. We should appeal to them to do what they do in other countries and devote a substantial portion of their profits to the promotion of the Arts. I believe that in some European countries—I am informed of this by a practising sculptor—it is de riguer that a percentage—a quarter of one per cent or 1 per cent—of profits should be devoted to the promotion of the various Arts.
The provision which enables the Arts Council to accept gifts is a good one also and firms should be encouraged to make such gifts available to the council for the promotion of the Arts.
In the present context it is important to keep an eye on expenditure in Europe. For example, in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, or Galway, we could cater for some of the great European exhibitions which have been mounted with a view to emphasising the unity of Europe in the past and its growing unity at present. Some time ago there was a question of this but because expenses were prohibitive the exhibition fell through. I am thinking of the great Charlemagne Exhibition of a few years ago, held at Aachen which was an education in itself.
Let us be blunt about this. Money is a very important matter. I mentioned already that James White in the National Gallery has made a wonderful job of selling the Gallery to the country, of improving rooms, and amenities where pictures are hung. He can do this because he had a bonanza from a certain source. Spaniards have a proverb: “Don Dinero es un caballero poderoso”. “Sir, money is a powerful gentleman”. “Don Dinero” is very important and I do not see very much promise in the speech regarding the subsidy for the Arts increasing to anything like a realistic level. Due to my inexperience this may be something  to which I should not refer here, but in the general philosophic view I take of the promotion of the Arts, it may be relevant: the chairman's term of office is not defined. The period of years for which he will hold office is not mentioned in the Bill, nor is the term for the director mentioned. There is a tendency for a man to run out of ideas or to exercise his ideas in a special field and to favour one branch of the Arts more than another. If he is in a very powerful position where money will be channelled through him or pictures will be purchased by him, or music festivals supported by him, or whatever his own forté is, there is a danger, if a man is too long in office that there will be an imbalance.
The history of art is one of a movement starting, fighting its way, becoming an establishment, lasting a few years. Another group then revolts, there is tension, discussion, and so on. The new movement then becomes the establishment. If there is no limit to the term of office for the chairman and director—I think I am right in saying that this is so— there is a danger of “cliqueishness”, of staleness, of dissatisfaction, due to people holding office for a long period.
The appointment of the 16 members of the council will be made by the Taoiseach. Formerly, only some were appointed by the Taoiseach and another five were co-opted. It will be very important to select these 16 people from the full spectrum of the Arts. While it is true that the practising artists may not always be the best men or women to know what is good for the Arts in the country, and the outside view is often a good thing, nevertheless I think practising artists in all the fields should find a place on the new council. Patrons, as such, need not necessarily be the best people for such a council. We welcome the larger number because it may be easier to ensure that the various sectors are represented. It is important that the regions be represented either on the council or by the setting up of regional councils. It is important that the provinces be represented in the patronage, in other words,  that patronage will not confine itself to the large areas of population. That is a double point I am making: on the council there should be representation and also the council itself should see to it that people who are practising outside the large urban areas are not neglected.
It might appear, from the Taoiseach's speech, that a larger sum of money will be devoted to the Arts but what it means is that money which will be independently disbursed to the National Theatre Society, the Gate Theatre, et cetera will be put into one fund. This does not necessarily mean that there will be an increase in the actual amount being spent on the Arts as at present constituted. The Abbey money, the Gate money, and other moneys will be put together into one fund but this does not mean that the fund for the Arts, exclusive of those, will be larger. Serious consideration should be given to a substantial increase in the amount of money given to the Arts covered by the outgoing council.
It has been suggested that there should be some kind of ombudsman who will hear complaints from practising artists about the activities of the council. He would examine complaints that too much money was being expended in one particular direction to the neglect of some other particular direction, for example, the neglect of music, architecture, sculpture, pottery or painting. I do not know what would be the legal requirement of that, but it would not be a bad idea to have someone who would be able to give an independent judgment on this type of complaint which, I can assure the Taoiseach, is made, and will be made, no matter what happens. The usual complaint is that established painters, people who have “made it”, are favoured by the Arts Council whereas people who are on the way up and fighting hard do not get any such help.
As I have already asked: how will the Taoiseach come to a decision as to who will be the 16 on the council? Who will he consult? There is an onus on him to beware of cliques of one kind or another and the people in the living Arts, the RHA, and the Oireachtas  Art Committee should be consulted. The tax-free list could be examined, go through it, and perhaps even communicate with the people on it and ask them their opinion as to who should be represented on this 16-member council. I dare say if the list made out by the Revenue Commissioners of the people who are entitled to the tax concessions were consulted, we would have an all-embracing consultation: you might not be able to come to any conclusion, but it would at least be an indication of how the people were thinking in that largish section of our art society.
There are groups complaining—and I refer to an ombudsman type of person—that they are entitled to recognition and support from the Arts Council and that they are not getting it. The Cork Film Festival is an established film festival, one of the six major ones in the world, and I would like to mention that committee as being a committee entitled to consideration for help from the council. There is also the National Ballet Company which has an honoured place in the artistic and cultural life of the city of Cork. The Focus and Project theatres here in Dublin are also doing a very fine job in their particular spheres, and they merit consideration from the council. Lest I be challenged on the relevancy of specific groups at this moment, I am simply mentioning these to show how important it is that the 16-member council be chosen with care and after the widest possible consultation with the people who are practising in the various artistic fields.
Just flipping through the Taoiseach's speech, I want to ask a couple of questions. The Abbey Theatre, the National Theatre Society Ltd. at the moment is getting a grant which is the equivalent of what is being provided for all the others put together, and the Gate, on top of that. I should like to hear further about an expansion in the amount of money that will be available for the projects outside those mentioned, the Abbey and Gate Theatres, that were not catered for in the sum of money disbursed by the Arts Council before this. Some weeks ago I was asked up to Barnhill  Gallery to open an exhibition there.
Mr. Haughey Mr. Haughey
Mr. Haughey: With my permission.
Mr. Wilson Mr. Wilson
Mr. Wilson: With the permission of a well-known patron of the Arts who lives in that area and who has a special interest there. I did refer to a favourite topic of discussion with students which I have been using for years, based on Lessing's book Laocoon where there is a discussion as to which of the media is the most powerful used by artists: is it musical notes, words, stone, bronze, paint or oil which is the most powerful medium for expression? It has been said by way of criticism of our civilisation that whereas we have made more than our proportional contribution to the Arts depending on the word— poetry, drama and general literature —we have been visually and aurally ignorant, that we have been behindhand very much in the sphere of music and so on. This is a reasonably true criticism, and it is why I come back to the main aim of the 1951 Act, the stimulation of public interest in the Arts and the promotion, appreciation and practice of the Arts. We should start with the schools—and the Arts Council has a function in this regard—and teach appreciation there. There is no point in merely enabling local authorities to aid the Arts. They are doing that; in my own home town there was an art exhibition recently and the Arts Council helped it, I am glad to say. There is no use in starting at the wrong end, because if the appreciation has not been picked up in schooldays by the people responsible, then they will not be willing to support and subsidise the Arts.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach (Mr. Kelly) John Kelly
Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach (Mr. Kelly): I should like to support the Taoiseach in commending the Bill to the House, and I did not understand Deputy Wilson himself to do other than commend it. I should like to make a few comments of a general kind on the provisions in the Bill, and I should like to comment also on a couple of topics which Deputy Wilson, quite rightly, went out of his way to raise.
The local authorities, up to this, had no explicit statutory power to  spend money on the kind of thing which was mentioned by Deputy Wilson. My understanding is that the activity of local authorities, where, in fact, it appeared, in establishing and maintaining art galleries or something of the kind, was derived from a somewhat, to me, doubtful interpretation of an oblique reference in the Public Libraries (Ireland) Act, 1911.
Mr. Wilson Mr. Wilson
Mr. Wilson: It was a felix culpa.
Mr. Kelly Mr. Kelly
Mr. Kelly: That is probably a fair comment on it, but I think it is well things should be clear and beyond the necessity of taking to the county solicitor for justification. Under section 11 of the Bill before the House the local authority is given a very neatly phrased power to provide money for the council. It is not, of course, said in the section, but I take it to be implicit in the section that there will be a kind of bargain here whereby if a local authority provides money to the Arts Council the council will spend that money or some of it in a way conducive to the aims of the council and the desires and interest of its ratepayers and of the people within its jurisdiction.
There is a case within my knowledge about which I shall not give details, as it might be an embarrassment to the county concerned and to the people concerned, but I do know of a case where a fairly large amount of money is being sought in order to provide a suitable setting for a very valuable collection and the provision of a suitable setting will cost an enormous amount of money. The council of the county within which this possibility seems to exist is apparently without power to make any contribution towards this project, although clearly the county itself would benefit not only educationally but also economically because the thing would become an instant feature of tourist interest.
Mr. Wilson Mr. Wilson
Mr. Wilson: How did the Municipal Gallery get built legally?
Mr. Kelly Mr. Kelly
Mr. Kelly: The Municipal Gallery, I think, rests on a separate piece of legislation, but the ordinary acquisitions  by county councils of occasional pictures here and there throughout the country have rested in the past unless I am mistaken, on their interpretation of the Public Libraries Act, which obliquely refers to the establishment of an art gallery. I may be wrong about that but I think it is true that so far there has not been any clear power given to a local authority to involve themselves directly in the promotion of the Arts, whether by acquiring and establishing a gallery for the use of the public or in some other way. If this Bill becomes law, the council of the county involved will be in a position to make a contribution from the rates which they levy on the ratepayers towards the provision of a suitable setting for this collection. That is a great advance and it will remove an anomaly.
The Taoiseach and Deputy Wilson referred to patronage. Everyone in the House, even those with the most passing and superficial interest in the Arts, would hope that those in a position to afford patronage will do so. I should like to draw the attention of the House to a kind of patronage other than monetary, namely the patronage implicit in the compliment of seeking advice from the council before doing something that has an aesthetic dimension. I am afraid that due to reasons of administrative convenience or inconvenience, as the case may be, or because Ministers or the Departments did not want to have a project held up, the power contained in the Arts Act, 1951, enabling Ministers to seek advice from the council has not been made use of to any great extent. Things have been and are being done here which are aesthetically controversial. The Department concerned might have been in a stronger position to meet public criticism had they been able to say they took the advice of the Arts Council; they would have been able to point out that, although the Arts Council are not infallible, the council did not see any objection to what the Department proposed to do. An individual instance was the designing of the new decimal coinage where the council were not invited to provide any advice nor, so far as I know, was  anyone else outside the walls of the Department of Finance and the Central Bank.
Mr. Haughey Mr. Haughey
Mr. Haughey: That is not so; there was a competition.
Mr. Kelly Mr. Kelly
Mr. Kelly: If that is the Deputy's assurance I accept it, but it was not made public at the time notwithstanding the fact that the Deputy, when Minister, was criticised for the process by which the coins were designed. If the Deputy states there was a competition I accept that, but I am sorry that years have passed and tempers have been lost in ignorance of that very important fact. It is true the Arts Council were not asked about the design of the decimal coinage and they went to the length—unusual in a body of that kind—of writing to the papers specifically denying anyone had come to them for advice on this matter.
A more general instance is the position of the Minister for Local Government in his function in deciding planning appeals. I know this is a vexed question and, no doubt, it might be said that no side is or can be perfect in this regard. However, in a few conspicuous cases in the last ten years—for example, the demolition of the 20 Georgian houses in Lower Fitzwilliam Street and their replacement by the ESB building, or the controversy about the buildings at the junction of Hume Street and Stephen's Green—the Department of Local Government in one case, and the Office of Public Works in the other case, would have been in a stronger position if they had been able to say they had consulted the Arts Council regarding the architectural element in the problem. I would remind the House that architecture is listed in the first section of the 1951 Act as one of the Arts. If the Departments had been able to say the Arts Council had told them they were doing the right thing, that would have been an appropriate and dignified way of meeting the criticisms of the various voluntary bodies. It was a pity the Departments and Ministers concerned did not think fit to equip themselves with reasonable and respectable arguments rather than  merely abuse those who criticised them as being trouble-makers, belted earls and so on.
There are many spheres in which a Minister or a Government may become involved in doing something at some remove which has an aesthetic dimension, which will make the country more pleasant to look at; there is the provision of road signs, street signs and so on. I recognise that many of these matters are functions of the local authority but there are many ways in which it is possible for a Minister to make the country more ugly and I am afraid that in the past Ministers, acting through their Departments, have done this. I do not want to assign all the blame to one side in this instance but I hope the new Arts Council which will have an extended membership might consider writing to Ministers bringing to their attention the duty which section 3 of the Principal Act imposes on the council to provide advice when it is sought. I do not want the council to be busybodies; it is not within their power to thrust advice on a Minister or on the Government but I think Ministers of all political persuasions should know about this function of the council which they can invoke at no expense to themselves and with no burden to their Vote.
Deputy Wilson spoke about structures. I would ask him to notice that the expanded membership of the council will make it easier to provide a quorum for meetings of the council. In the past there has been some difficulty because of the small membership; where even a relatively small number of members were unable to attend, the provision of a quorum for a working meeting of the council has been difficult. This difficulty will be a good deal less now.
Because of its expanded membership the new council will contain a large number of new people. The council might interpret their functions in such a way as to make it possible for An Chomhairle Ealaíon to co-operate with the Arts Council in Belfast financially as well as in non-financial facilities in promoting activities which would be of cultural benefit  to the people in all parts of the country. I will not go into the details of the possibilities that exist here and which may have been missed in the past—they will be obvious to any Deputy in the House. I hope the new council will see the public and governmental interest which is evidenced by this Bill as an invitation to be adventurous in this regard and to try to put into effect the co-operation and brotherly working together between North and South which is common policy for both sides of this House.
Deputy Wilson mentioned an ombudsman or someone with that kind of function to whom appeal could be had if the new council appeared to be spending more money on some art forms than on others. I am sure he will admit that any judgment in this field is bound to be subjective. I cannot visualise how an ombudsman could be chosen. That task would be much more difficult than selecting the members of the council. At the same time, I accept the possible difficulty to which the Deputy adverts and I can only suggest to him that the Taoiseach who is responsible for the Arts Council may be amenable to complaints about the functioning of the council by means of parliamentary question or, alternatively, that complaints can be voiced during the annual debate on the Estimate for the Taoiseach's Department.
In connection with the personnel, I agree that the question of who is to be a member of the new council will be a difficult one for the Taoiseach to decide. No doubt any suggestion from Deputy Wilson or anybody else that is well meaning and sensible will be considered as fully as possible. I hope I can take Deputy Wilson as not meaning that he has any misgivings about the judgment by which the personnel of the new council will be chosen.
Mr. Healy Mr. Healy
Mr. Healy: I, too, welcome the Bill and I join with the Taoiseach in paying tribute to the director and members of the Arts Council for what they have achieved while working on a very tight budget.
I should like to draw the attention  of the House to the tremendous increase in interest in the Arts generally, especially on the part of young people. This is due to circumstances that are very different now from those which obtained in previous years. We must encourage that interest in every way possible. It would be my hope that the Bill would go a little further than is envisaged at the moment. Bord Fáilte are responsible for the promotion of various festivals throughout the country but I would advocate strongly that those festivals which have a cultural or artistic aspect would come under the aegis of the Arts Council.
In Cork we have the International Film Festival which is a remnant of An Tostal of many years ago. We have also an international choral festival. The film festival is now one of the six major international film festivals in the world and is recognised as such by an international federation. It began from scratch 21 years ago and has continued without a break ever since mainly through the efforts of voluntary organisation. However, the organisers of the festival are receiving only the same amount of money now from Bord Fáilte as they received ten years ago but that is not the fault of Bord Fáilte because they are operating on the same budget as they had a few years ago. We can only hope that the festival will not have to be discontinued because of lack of assistance but there is a great danger of this happening. The festival is an art vehicle and it would be sad if the work of 21 years were to go by the board.
The international choral festival which is due to celebrate its 21st birthday next year attracts at least one dozen choirs and dance teams from foreign countries. The most recent one attracted six teams from Iron Curtain countries. However, the more people come from these countries the more money we need because these visitors would not have spending money and, consequently, must be accommodated by the citizens of Cork during their stay. From a cultural point of view they can contribute a lot and, therefore, every effort should be made to encourage them to come here.
 The other point which I wish to raise relates to the National Theatre. I am associated with the Cork Opera House and it is no pleasure for me to criticise any art venture in the country. The Opera House was reopened in 1965. In the first season we had a visit from the Abbey Theatre Players but there was then some difficulty regarding their coming to Cork annually. However, this difficulty was overcome but I am ashamed to admit that only once since then has the venture paid its way. So far as I am aware the Cork Opera House is the only legitimate theatre in the 32-Counties that is paying its way. For nine months out of 12 it pays its way on local talent. It is a tragedy that both the National Theatre and the Opera House lose money on the Abbey Players' visit. The difficulty is that they cannot put on the plays that we request them to put on. When they came down a few weeks ago we endeavoured to persuade them to change the play they had arranged to put on. They did not do so and the result was that they played to practically empty houses. What is the point in having a National Theatre that is subsidised by the taxpayers of the entire country if that theatre is put on only in Dublin? Surely the people of the entire 26 Counties should be able to derive some benefit from it. Therefore, any new council that may be set up will have to ask themselves how best the influence of the national theatre can be spread throughout the country.
Theatres should be encouraged by way of subsidisation to put on shows. In Cork we have one lady who has dedicated her life to ballet but for many years the audiences for this form of art were very scant. Now there is an educated public and it is no trouble for this lady to pack the Opera House for a week. For a long period the Shakespearean Loft did not perform in the Opera House but they are back again. The Opera House company subsidised them in the past and lost money in so doing but last year both the Opera House company and the Shakespearean company made money on their venture.  They expect to be able to maintain this success in the future. Various players come from Dublin, Limerick and other places but the Opera House as a commercial concern cannot afford to subsidise them. For instance, the Dublin Grand Opera Society come for a week and are subsidised to the extent of £2,000. If some of the burden could be borne by the State it would mean that people would have an opportunity of seeing various artists and the artists themselves would have a chance of visiting first-class theatres in big cities and other areas. We bring people to Cork. “Siamsa” from Kerry are excellent entertainers from an artistic and traditional culture point of view.
These are my thoughts on this measure. I would like to see this Bill channelling money in certain directions. It is no good approaching Bord Fáilte because they have not enough for their own purposes. I have the greatest sympathy with them. Every year I have had to fight them to get money for the festivals in Cork. They find it impossible to help everybody. If one is holding international festivals one has to engage people 18 months beforehand. There is a seminar held for the Cork Festival and composers are asked to compose original works. These are performed at the festival and one now sees in Europe music which has printed on it “First performed at the Cork Festival”. It would be a tragedy if anything happened to stop that. The Arts Council must be given sufficient money to help artistic ventures throughout the country. I am not unmindful of the fact that some commercial firms help out and I hope they will continue to do so. The practical way in which to help the artists is by commissioning their work or buying it. I welcome the Bill. I hope it will mean a new chapter in the cultural life of the country.
Mr. E. Collins Mr. E. Collins
Mr. E. Collins: I, too, would like to welcome this Bill. I look forward to the new council pursuing a more positive policy from the point of view of the promotion of the Arts throughout the country. What strikes me most at  the moment is the lack of activity in provincial centres. More should be done by the new council and by local authorities to develop the Arts by organising exhibitions and so forth. There is too much concentration on Dublin and I appeal to the new council to adopt a more positive and active policy in relation to provincial areas.
Not enough is being done. People are made aware that various forms of art exist and it is left at that. I want to see a more positive approach. I want to see exhibitions mounted. Enough has not been done to promote the Arts throughout the country. Henceforth there will have to be greater co-operation between the council and the local art advisory committees through the country. We have these committees in Waterford city. We have exhibitions mounted. They are mounted on a shoestring budget and, therefore, not really properly organised. There may be a lack of facilities but that difficulty could be overcome by co-operation.
There is, too, a lack on the school front. The present curriculum does not provide for the development of an appreciation of art. The curriculum is too pressurised and there is too much emphasis on set text. Students should be encouraged to widen their horizons and develop a real appreciation of art in all its forms. This is long overdue and I would plead with the council to look into this aspect. Perhaps they might consult with the Department of Education.
I should like to see provincial museums and libraries developed. I should like to see art galleries and theatres developed in the provinces. There is no positive policy at the moment. State Departments are anxious to avoid the issue altogether. This is a wrong attitude. The attitude should be one of positive involvement.
I have no hesitation in paying tribute to the work of the Waterford Theatre Royal Society. By their activities over the years they have kept alive a very fine theatre, a very beautiful theatre, which has contributed much to cultural life in Waterford. This is the kind of body with which the council  should actively co-operate, especially from the point of view of financing their activities. Not enough emphasis has been placed on this aspect.
I want to suggest to the Taoiseach a constructive way in which gifts of art treasures to the nation could be ensured. Would the Taoiseach consider allowing credit for gifts or bequests to the State. To illustrate my proposal: suppose a person gives a gift of a painting worth £50,000 to the State I suggest that double the current value of that treasure, namely, £100,000, should be credited to his estate for estate duty or death duty purposes.
Mr. Haughey Mr. Haughey
Mr. Haughey: What if he gives it to his wife the day before he dies?
Mr. E. Collins Mr. E. Collins
Mr. E. Collins: I do not want to go into the technical aspect of this. I put it forward as being possibly a way which would prevent exportation of art treasures and also a way of ensuring an enlarged collection of art treasures remaining in the State in Museums and art galleries.
I do not mind giving credit to Deputy Haughey who, when Minister, made his own contribution in this field by allowing artists to reside in the country free of income tax. That was something positive which we all welcomed at the time. I am now making this suggestion: I know there are technical and legal difficulties involved but it is a way of keeping art treasures in Ireland, preventing their export and at the same time increasing the wealth of art treasures which the State can own and display.
I am glad the Bill is under the aegis of the Taoiseach. It is better that he should go to the Minister for Finance for money rather than another Minister; I should think he would be more welcome and would be dealt with more generously and, as Deputy Wilson said, money is very important in this whole matter.
I should like more art exhibitions to be mounted by the National Gallery. For the first time Mr. James White has completed a catalogue of the art treasures in the National Gallery and I should like to see those on exhibition throughout the country. The exhibitions I have seen in provincial  centres, good though they were, were meagre in real wealth in an international sense. Not too far from here we have an international selection of paintings which is second to none and which we should appreciate and which should be shown throughout the country.
I think it is the function of the Arts Council positively to pursue this policy. We all know the great lack of space to display paintings and sculptures and for storing books. The National Library is so chronically short of space that the books are all stored away. This should not be so. We should be proud of our heritage in this respect. As a policy to alleviate this shortage I suggest that provincial centres—libraries, museums and art galleries—should be put on a sound and permanent foundation. I see no logical reason for the concentration of art treasures in Dublin, even if it is the capital. Why should we not have good displays of treasures in provincial centres such as Athlone, Limerick, Cork and Waterford? Not enough is being done at present to decentralise, so to speak, our art treasures.
I would not agree to the appointment of an ombudsman as such as suggested by Deputy Wilson: the Arts Council itself should set itself up as the body competent to judge such matters.
Mr. Wilson Mr. Wilson
Mr. Wilson: Nemo judex in sua causa.
Mr. E. Collins Mr. E. Collins
Mr. E. Collins: This is my own opinion. I am glad to see section 11 here. Local authorities should be brought more actively into this sphere and I believe they are more anxious to be more active in this respect. Finally, in relation to appointments to the council, I hope the Taoiseach will ensure a regional balance in membership. I should not like a concentration of Dublin people on it as it is important to keep a regional balance in the membership. I welcome the Bill, which I consider important. I am glad to see a reconstituted council and I shall look forward to it being more active and to seeing more emphasis  being put on provincial centres as regards all aspects of the Arts.
Mr. Faulkner Mr. Faulkner
Mr. Faulkner: I should like to reiterate the point made on this side of the House that we are all anxious to support anything which would promote the Arts. We can only hope that this Bill will succeed in doing that. But if we examine the case made by Deputy Wilson as regards money, and if it is true that the only moneys available are those already voted under other subheads and simply brought together under a single subhead, then I do not think we can hope for all we would like to see from this Bill. I should like to express appreciation of the work done by the present body, which did a very worthwhile job. If it is found necessary to make a change I hope the new body will do at least an equally good job and perhaps, with the extra facilities available to it, do even better.
I agree with Deputy Wilson that appreciation of the Arts should begin in the schools. I do not agree with Deputy Collins that nothing is being done in this respect at present because very considerable development has taken place in recent years in primary and post-primary schools, particularly in the former, in relation to the new curriculum. Anybody who has not visited a primary school for a number of years and now does so will see that a very worthwhile change is taking place in regard to art development and the giving of some idea of art appreciation. The fact that a relatively short time ago the universities agreed to recognise art as a subject qualifying for entry to the universities has done considerable good. It has raised the status of art—I am speaking now perhaps regarding a rather narrow field— in schools and has helped to develop art education generally.
I am glad that the Bill contains a provision enabling local authorities to assist the council or any exhibition which the council may feel should be promoted. It is not true to say that local authorities had no function in this respect previously. Vocational education committees, who can be regarded as a local authority, did a considerable amount, particularly in  the field of traditional music. We could, and should, do much more than has been done in relation to the development and promotion of the Arts.
One of the problems is that because there appears to be more pressing needs the Arts do not get as high a priority as they should. The development of art appreciation in the educational field in recent times is an indication that we are taking a greater interest in this particular area than heretofore. One matter which struck me forcibly when I read this Bill relates to the manner in which the new council is being called into being. On first reading the Bill I felt a sense of surprise, to put it mildly. The first question I asked myself was: “Where are all the liberals of the Fine Gael and Labour Parties gone?” When they were in opposition and I introduced a number of Bills which could be regarded as being somewhat akin to this Bill—for example the Bill I brought before the House establishing the board of the College of Art—they strongly opposed them.
Mr. E. Collins Mr. E. Collins
Mr. E. Collins: That was justified opposition.
Mr. Faulkner Mr. Faulkner
Mr. Faulkner: During the debate in relation to that Bill very strong pressure was exerted on me by spokesmen from Fine Gael and Labour in regard to what they claimed was bureaucratic control particularly in relation to anything concerning the arts. I wonder if the Minister for Foreign Affairs was present for the Government meeting at which this Bill was discussed. If he was I would be anxious to know what his comments were and whether he made any attempt to change the terms of the Bill, or whether he was only playacting when we were discussing the Bill which established the board of the College of Art.
Mr. E. Collins Mr. E. Collins
Mr. E. Collins: There is absolutely no comparison between the Bill establishing the board of the College of Art and this Bill. The Deputy is well aware of that.
Mr. Faulkner Mr. Faulkner
 Mr. Faulkner: Perhaps the Deputy would be good enough to permit me to make my own speech.
Mr. E. Collins Mr. E. Collins
Mr. E. Collins: The Deputy is contradicting himself.
Mr. Wilson Mr. Wilson
Mr. Wilson: It is the principle of the selection.
Mr. Faulkner Mr. Faulkner
Mr. Faulkner: I note that the Bill provides that the chairman will be appointed by the Taoiseach. During the debates in this House in relation to the chairmanship of the board of the College of Art or to the chairman of the Higher Education Authority Deputy FitgGerald and Deputy Thornley argued strongly that the chairman should not be appointed by the Minister. They argued that the chairman should be appointed by the ordinary members of the board.
In this Bill the chairman is to be appointed by the Taoiseach. I can imagine the case that would be made against me if I were to bring in this type of Bill were I still in Government. I can also imagine what would be said in relation to the appointment of all the members of this council by the Taoiseach. One must remember what was said in regard to the proposals I brought forward, particularly when we remember that in the College of Art Bill I gave the right to the teachers to appoint a number of members to the board. I also gave the right to students to appoint a number of members to that board. Even in that particular situation I was strongly criticised.
In this Bill we find that the Taoiseach not only appoints the chairman but also appoints the members. I have no doubt that if I had brought in this Bill I would be strongly criticised for not giving the right to a number of associations which are closely associated with art to put forward or to elect members to this council.
Mr. Kelly Mr. Kelly
Mr. Kelly: Would the Deputy give way for a moment because I should like to ask a question?
Mr. Faulkner Mr. Faulkner
Mr. Faulkner: No. The Deputy has already spoken and I have the right to make my case now in regard to the format of this council.
Mr. Kelly Mr. Kelly
 Mr. Kelly: The nominations the Deputy was talking about in regard to his own board and those of the Higher Education Authority were appointments which were given to officials. No such question arises here.
Mr. Faulkner Mr. Faulkner
Mr. Faulkner: The fact of the matter is that it was argued that the Minister should not make the appointments. In practically every section of those Bills which related to the sanction of the Minister amendments were put down to remove this sanction. I should also like to point out that the Bill establishing the board of the college of Art was held up for hours in relation to a section which is similar to section 6 of the Bill before the House. This section reads:
When a member of the Council is nominated either as a candidate for election to either House of the Oireachtas or as a Member of Seanad Éireann he shall thereupon cease to be a member of the Council.
The case made when I introduced a similar section in another Bill was that I was denigrating Members of this House by insisting that they should not be members of the various boards.
Mr. Kelly Mr. Kelly
Mr. Kelly: That is a different point. The Deputy proposed to appoint the board and have day to day control.
Mr. Faulkner Mr. Faulkner
Mr. Faulkner: The Parliamentary Secretary just cannot listen because he knows what I say is correct. I cannot say that the Parliamentary Secretary put forward these amendments in the Seanad but he knows they were put forward in the Dáil. He also recognises that this Bill contains everything which the Fine Gael and Labour Parties said should not be in a Bill of this kind.
Mr. Kelly Mr. Kelly
Mr. Kelly: Where is the bureaucracy in any portion of this Bill?
Mr. Tunney Mr. Tunney
Mr. Tunney: The Parliamentary Secretary obviously has not read section 5.
Mr. Faulkner Mr. Faulkner
Mr. Faulkner: Section 5 reads:
The Council shall from time to time appoint, on such terms and  conditions as they shall determine and subject to the approval of the Taoiseach, a person to be the chief executive officer of the Council.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle Denis Francis Jones
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy will appreciate that we ought to deal with these matters when the Bill is in Committee.
Mr. Faulkner Mr. Faulkner
Mr. Faulkner: I accept that. In fact I am not arguing against what is in the Bill. I am pointing out that when I brought in Bills with similar provisions that these were argued against very strongly by the Fine Gael and Labour spokesmen, one of whom is at present a member of the Government and, on the basis of collective responsibility, must accept responsibility for the contents of this Bill. I am wondering what his attitude was in relation to these matters on which he held up the House for such a long time during discussion on Bills which I introduced.
Mr. E. Collins Mr. E. Collins
Mr. E. Collins: With due respect I do not think that this Bill can be compared to that which dealt with the Higher Education Authority or the College of Art.
Mr. Faulkner Mr. Faulkner
Mr. Faulkner: I recognise that Deputy E. Collins would like to forget what was said on this side of the House when he was in Opposition. The fact remains that these things were said. I would not have minded if they were said in the course of a speech, but on some occasions they were pressed to Divisions. It was pointed out that the Minister should not have had even the limited control which I felt a Minister should have. We have a Bill here which brings in all the provisions which were regarded as non-acceptable when the present Government were in Opposition.
Mr. E. Collins Mr. E. Collins
Mr. E. Collins: The comparison is not valid.
Mr. Faulkner Mr. Faulkner
Mr. Faulkner: I am not going to argue with the Deputy. I am simply pointing out these matters. If necessary, we can deal with them on the Committee Stage. I want to reiterate that I am not necessarily disapproving of a number of the matters on which  I have spoken in the discussion on this Bill. I am simply pointing out the change of attitude of the then Opposition Parties since they went into Government.
Mr. Haughey Mr. Haughey
Mr. Haughey: Like the other Deputies who have spoken, I would like to afford a welcome to this Bill. In my case it must be a limited welcome. In so far as it succeeds in directing the attention of Members of the House and through them, one would hope, that of the general public to matters artistic and cultural, we must all welcome it.
However, having said that, I should point out to the Taoiseach that this Bill is going to come as a grievous disappointment to many people, particularly to those who are involved or even interested in the artistic and cultural life of our nation. For some time past there has been a widespread feeling that some positive move must be made in artistic and cultural matters. It has been felt on a fairly widespread scale that the existing legislation is no longer adequate for our purposes as a modern developing and expanding society and that something comprehensive and forward-looking was needed. It is against that widespread feeling among the general public that this Bill must be looked at.
I hope I will not be accused of political partisanship in this regard, but I would like to say that many people would expect more from the present Government. We have been treated to a fairly intensive propaganda campaign to the effect that they are a Government of liberal intellectuals and that we can expect, apart from economic and social miracles, very considerable advance from them in the cultural fields. If that were the general expectation, I am afraid that there will be severe disappointment with this Bill. The Bill is very limited in scope. What surprises me is that the Taoiseach, with all his heavy responsibilities, should find it worthwhile to waste his personal time, the time of his Department and that of the Oireachtas with what is so comparatively limited.
I will speak later on about the  structure of this piece of legislation itself. At this point I want to emphasise that all this particular piece of legislation purports to do is to make relatively minor changes in the structure of An Chomhairle Ealaíon. I would hope that we would continue to refer to this body as “An Chomhairle Ealaíon” and not, as we are always unfortunately inclined to do, slip into the error of referring to it as “The Arts Council”. All that the Taoiseach is setting out to do is to enlarge the membership of the council and to make relatively minor changes in the structure. One minor change is that we will now have a full-time director and part-time chairman. There is also a very minor and limited provision with regard to local authorities participating in the general work of the council.
The first thing that strikes one about this piece of legislation is that no extension of activities by the new body is envisaged. We have had the long Summer Recess. There was plenty of time for somebody to give a great deal of thought to this piece of legislation in general terms. I am disappointed that the Bill was issued only shortly before we resumed. I, personally, have not had the time to examine it as thoroughly as I would have wished and to discuss it with as many people as I would have wished. The Taoiseach must be held culpable —I say this in purely parliamentary terms. He did not give us time to get our teeth into this legislation, which I regard as fundamentally important. After the long Summer Recess, we got it only a week ago and we are expected to take it today and to discuss it.
There is no extension of activities envisaged by the new comhairle. There is not a single function added to those which were attributed to the existing body. The comhairle has not been set any new objectives or targets. More important, it has not been given any new powers. The piece of legislation which was brought in in 1951 was admirable at that time. Everybody in the House, on whatever side, would pay tribute at this stage to the then Taoiseach, Mr. J. A. Costello, for having brought in the Bill in 1951. At  that time it could have been regarded as a very significant step forward in our affairs.
The functions which the 1951 Act allocated to the council which it was establishing were very limited in scope. It might not be any harm if I were to enumerate them. Their first objective was to stimulate public interest in the Arts. Their second objective was to promote the knowledge, appreciation and practice of the Arts. The third objective was to assist in improving the standards of the Arts. The fourth objective was to organise or to assist in the organisation of exhibitions within or without the State of works of art and artistic craftsmanship. The fifth objective was the function of advising the Government, on which the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach has spoken. I agree with what he had to say about the way in which Government Ministers have neglected to make full use of that power. The sixth objective was to co-operate with and assist other persons concerned either directly or indirectly with matters relating to the Arts.
Those six functions were very fine in their time. In 1951 they could have been regarded as a fairly significant step forward. I do not think they are adequate today. The Taoiseach should avail of this opportunity to re-cast them completely, to go into them in some detail and to add to them because it does not require any great attention to see ways in which they could be expanded. I think they could be made a lot more precise and a lot more clearly defined as well as being expanded in scope. In so far as there is nothing of that nature in this Bill I find it very disappointing. Furthermore, one has to look at the financial side of the piece of legislation. Admittedly it is a natural function of Opposition Deputies to encourage the Government to spend more money in all possible directions. It is equally the duty of a responsible Government to hold the scales as evenly as possible between various conflicting demands.
In this case the Taoiseach might have said much more than he has said about the funds which are to be  made available to the new comhairle. If he even expanded them in proportion to the increase in membership it would have been something. Not alone has he not given any positive indication of making additional financial provision available to the new comhairle but I, with some experience of the construction of ministerial speeches, find what he has actually said in his speech somewhat suspicious. His speech seems to me to be diverting attention from the fact that he is not undertaking to make more than the existing £100,000 available directly to the new comhairle. He mentions the omnibus figure of £500,000 which is being made available in some form or another for cultural activities and the very fact that his speech makes reference to that figure seems to me to indicate that he is shying away from any positive commitment to increasing the actual £100,000 which is at present being made available to the comhairle as such.
It is very easy for Deputies on this side of the House to urge additional expenditure by the Government in desirable directions. Perhaps that is one of our legitimate functions, but I do think that if £100,000 or something in that region was appropriate two or three years ago a much greater figure should be envisaged by the Taoiseach now particularly as he is making a change. Apart altogether from the fact that the situation as such would demand a status increase in expenditure on artistic and cultural activities, the very size of our budget here now offers scope for a far greater expenditure in this direction. If the amount of the grant to An Chomhairle Ealaíon were looked at in relation to the overall total of Government expenditure a much more generous appropriation would be made either this year or certainly in the next financial year when the new comhairle will have got going.
My approach to this piece of legislation and my disappointment in it is dominated by the fact that I believe, and I am sure many Members will not be surprised to hear me say this again, that the implementation of an enlightened  comprehensive policy for the Arts with adequate financial provision enshrined in it is an essential part— I use the word “essential” deliberately—of modern progressive government. It has become more widely accepted by the general public and, indeed, in this House, that it is no longer enough for a Government to cater simply for the material needs of the community and to be indifferent, if nothing worse, to spiritual and cultural requirements. I have used the phrase before and I do not hesitate to use it again that I do not think we can any more have a situation in which we have economic planning but cultural laissez faire.
It is not for a member of the Opposition to put forward anything like a detailed comprehensive policy for the Arts because we have not got the resources to put together such a policy in anything like appropriate detail. I think we can fulfil our obligation by urging the Government to give this area increasing attention. Here I would like to be presumptuous enough to give advice to the Taoiseach and that is not to permit himself to drift into a frame of mind in which he is prepared to let matters like this be put on the long finger because of pressing present-day difficulties, problems and troubles. It is true that some of the great reforms of modern times have been conceived and, indeed, have been planned at times of the greatest difficulty. One thinks of the great inauguration of the welfare state in Great Britain which was prepared and brought to planning fruition while Britain was engaged in a major world conflict. If I may be presumptuous enough to say to the Taoiseach that even though the temptation to say: “Artistic and cultural matters will have to wait” is probably very great, nevertheless I do not think he should permit himself to fall for that particular temptation. He should regard a comprehensive programme for artistic and cultural matters as an essential part of the programme of his Government.
Such a comprehensive policy for the Arts would involve, first of all, of course, adequate financial provision. It  would require a great deal of thought. It would involve some way of co-ordinating all the teaching bodies and institutions which are engaged in cultural and artistic fields and it would have to be tailored to our particular circumstances and the needs of our particular community. It should not be just a pale reflection of what some other countries are endeavouring to do. In the framing of any such policy for the Arts a number of very important questions about An Chomhairle Ealaíon would have to be faced up to and they are not faced up to in this legislation. The basic question which has to be answered is: what precisely are An Chomhairle Ealaíon expected to do?
Do we visualise them as just another body taking their place in the cultural field and making their own contribution, or do we expect them to exercise some form of guidance or even some control over all the other bodies and institutions involved? This is very fundamental and it should certainly have been considered in deciding what functions the new comhairle will have: whether they are simply to carry out their activities parallel to all the other bodies which are there, or whether they will exercise some guidance and control over them.
Another aspect of the matter with which, perhaps, I am unduly personally preoccupied is whether or not one Arts Council is enough. I gave a great deal of thought to this matter and I arrived at the conclusion that one Arts Council was not enough. I am quite prepared to state at this point of time, looking back and relieved of any pressure of responsibility for taking the decision, that I might change that view. At the time it seemed to me that the ideal answer was to have three different bodies: one body which would deal with writing, literature, drama, poetry, and so on; another body which would deal with painting and sculpture and the ancillaries; and a third body which would deal with music, ballet and that sector.
I must admit that I came to that conclusion, influenced unduly perhaps, by the fact that the existing Comhairle Ealaíon, as they were at that time, seemed to me to be pre-occupied with one limited sector of  artistic endeavour. They seemed to be very pre-occupied with modern abstract painting, very much to the exclusion of the rest of the cultural field. I thought the solution to that sort of situation, and perhaps the way to prevent it arising in the future when some other comhairle might be equally pre-occupied with music to the exclusion of the other activities, was to have three separate bodies, each specifically directed towards its own particular field so that no major area of activity would be neglected. Three bodies with three separate budgets was what I had in mind.
As I say, I am quite prepared at this stage to withdraw from that point of view and perhaps to go back to the ideal of one central Arts Council. Particularly if they were to have any sort of controlling or co-ordinating function with regard to other bodies, we would almost certainly have to have one Arts Council responsible to the Government. Even if you are to settle for one body, some machinery must be built into that body, whether it be a subcommittee structure or something of that nature, which will ensure that the body as such will never be permitted to become totally absorbed in promoting one particular sector of the Arts to the exclusion of the others.
Some Deputies have spoken about the question of the new Comhairle Ealaíon remaining the responsibility of the Taoiseach and his Department. That is another decision which should be thought about. I am not sure if it has been on this occasion. I am not sure whether a positive decision to leave the responsibility for An Chomhairle Ealaíon with the Taoiseach's Department has been taken, or whether it is just a question of leaving things as they are. In my time I favoured transferring responsibility for An Chomhairle Ealaíon from the Taoiseach's Department to that of the Minister for Finance.
I think Deputy Collins was guilty of an error of judgment when he said that no Minister can approach the Minister for Finance with the same authority as the Taoiseach. With the exception, I would have added, of the Minister for Finance himself. It was not simply because the Minister for  Finance was the financial authority that I thought of transferring responsibility from the Taoiseach's Department to that of the Minister for Finance. I do not believe that the Taoiseach's Department is an appropriate home for a body of this sort.
I must say I am delighted that the present Taoiseach has gone to the trouble of bringing in this legislation even though I am critical of it as such. I hope it augurs well for the future that he is interesting himself in this area. To that extent I very much welcome this development. If, in spite of all the other pressures which are upon him, he is to take a very active interest in cultural matters and in the new comhairle, every Deputy in the House will commend him for that. Apart from whatever personal interest he may bring to bear on the situation, a body of this sort attached to the Taoiseach's Department is at some disadvantage. The Taoiseach has an overall co-ordinating responsibility, very often a responsibility to hold the balance between different Departments with conflicting priorities. In that sort of situation it is not difficult to visualise a body like An Chomhairle Ealaíon, attached to the Taoiseach's Department, to some extent being neglected.
I wonder even at this late stage, if the new comhairle are to be left in the Taoiseach's Department, whether the Taoiseach would not consider some similar type of arrangement to that which he has already brought into being in relation to the Government Information Service, in other words, leaving the comhairle attached to his Department but perhaps allocating direct responsibility for their promotion and development to a particular Minister who would not be as pre-occupied with all the broad spectrum of problems as the Taoiseach is. I am prepared to admit that perhaps this is a sort of administrative matter on which one Deputy's opinion is as good as another's, but I have put that forward as my view for consideration by the Taoiseach if it is not too late and if positive decisions have not already been taken by the Government in that regard.
One other aspect of the work of An  Chomhairle Ealaíon which I might mention is the fact that the comhairle administer a number of funds which are subsidiary to their main financial operations, the most important of those being Ciste Cholmchille. I believe that the existing council has not been active enough in regard to these funds. I believe Ciste Cholmchille offers a vehicle through which a very important impact could be made on our cultural life.
I should like to see the new Comhairle promoting this positively. They should bring it to the attention of the public and invite contributions from well-disposed individuals, and commercial firms. In any Government approach to the Arts there should be some thinking given to the role of the private patrons. In this House we are concerned with institutional assistance to the Arts. In modern times that is the most important aspect of the matter. There is still, and always will be, a role for the private patron. No matter how efficient our social services become there will always be a satisfactory, beneficial role for private charities and so also, I believe, in the artistic sphere. No matter how adequate the institutional arrangements we make are, there will always be a role for that particular personalised assistance.
The private patron can give that which no official body or institution can give. The comhairle in its thinking about the Arts—Deputy Collins also touched on this aspect—should give some consideration to the encouragement of private patronage. That particular area is full of loopholes. Many countries have walked into serious difficulties through their taxation provisions in trying to do something in that area, but I still think that with careful consideration systems of encouragement of private patronage could be devised which would not be in any way against the public interest. On that line of country these subsidiary funds which An Chomhairle Ealaíon administers could possibly be brought into much greater use.
Many Deputies have spoken of the  difficulties in selecting suitable people for membership of the new comhairle. With Deputy Faulkner, I would agree with the idea that the Taoiseach should make all these appointments. Perhaps I am not yet far enough removed from Ministerial occupational myopia but I still think that to a very large extent there is nobody better fitted to make impartial and objective appointments to this type of body than the Minister concerned. Deputy Faulkner endeavoured to say that he did not disagree with the appointments being made by the Taoiseach, nor do I. In spite of the difficulties involved in making suitable selections, I feel sure the Taoiseach will avail of advice and will not have any great difficulty in procuring a suitable panel to act on the new comhairle.
I should like to refer to what the Taoiseach said in his opening speech when he mentioned that he hoped the new council could be made representative of all branches of the Arts, including the visual and literary arts, drama and music, and that different areas of the country are properly represented. The Taoiseach has set for himself a very ambitious programme and I feel sure he will make every effort to meet the requirements which he has laid down in the selection of these people. I urge him to be adventurous. This is a case where it is necessary to meet imagination with imagination.
The new Comhairle Ealaíon will be operating in the realm of the imagination. If I had the responsibility I hope I would not be afraid to appoint a practising artist—I use the word “artist” in its broadest sense—to the new comhairle. I hope the Taoiseach will be courageous in that regard. Admittedly, there may be some difficulty, but it is worth taking a chance, and putting some creative people on the new comhairle. We know artists are given to grouping themselves together in self-defence. I hope any such difficulty can be overcome and the Taoiseach by selecting carefully can put a reasonable leavening of practising artists on the new comhairle.
The new comhairle will be faced  with the central dilemma which is always there. The wisdom with which they are selected by the Taoiseach will have a great deal to do with the way they tackle that dilemma. That, to my mind, is simply in what direction should their main effort be made: should they make the resources available to promote public exhibitions and performances which can be seen by the general public and appreciated by them and where they can be seen to be getting value for the money they are spending, or should they tackle the much more dangerous task of endeavouring to finance individual creativity, a process which may never result in any realisable or visible concrete results? This is the central dilemma which faces anybody operating in this area.
The easy thing is to mount the public exhibition and the public performance or, indeed, as the last council were inclined to do, to buy the painting. As somebody put it to me very succinctly; you can hang a painting on the wall for everybody to see but you cannot do that with a poem. I hope the new comhairle will be courageous in this respect and will advert to the need to subsidise individual creative activities even if the result of that subsidisation may never be seen in a concrete positive form.
I should like to mention some of the problems which I have come across as an individual Deputy and to which I would direct the attention of the incoming comhairle with a view possibly to doing something about them. In recent times I found myself being approached frequently by young people or their parents, young people who are particularly talented in some artistic field and who wish to go abroad to further their studies and to have access to training which, unfortunately, is not available in this country. There does not seem to be any machinery or any vehicle whereby talented young people of that sort can be subsidised for going abroad to procure further training in their particular art.
I know that is a very difficult field and the problem of selection would be a very complicated one, but certainly it is an area to which I think thought  and attention should be given, because there are quite a number of our young people today who are in need of such subsidisation. They have the talent. They have proved by winning scholarships or otherwise that they are of international potential standard, and they just have not got the resources to go abroad to get the further advanced teaching they need. If a way could be found in suitable cases of helping them, that would be something that would be very beneficial in the long run.
Another experience I have had as a Deputy is of well-meaning organisations coming to me who want to mount exhibitions or performances of one sort or another. They have all the good will in the world and very often they have the talent, but they have not got the exhibition-mounting expertise. Perhaps the new comhairle would give some thought to having a team, not necessarily a very large team but a few people at least, who would be available to voluntary organisations to instruct them in the mechanics and techniques of putting on exhibitions or performances. It need not be very costly because these voluntary organisations are always full of enthusiasm. They have the finance and everything else, as I say, except the experience of the actual mechanics of putting on exhibitions or performances.
I am sure nobody will be surprised if I mention very briefly in this context the provisions which are now incorporated in our income tax code whereby earnings from creative activities are exempt from personal taxation. I have been, and I am sure other Deputies have been, approached from time to time as to the administration of these provisions. I have never had any concrete evidence that these provisions are not working satisfactorily, but I wonder if the Taoiseach when he comes to reply would feel it appropriate at this stage—perhaps he would not but, if so, well and good—to say a word about the way in which these provisions are being administered and whether or not there are any complaints from practitioners as to their being denied the appropriate exemptions.
Finally, I repeat what I said at the  beginning, that I welcome the Bill in so far as it does direct our attention to matters artistic, and I also very much welcome the fact that the Taoiseach, in bringing it in, is obviously going to interest himself in this area. However, I do express disappointment as to the serious limitations of the Bill and hope that, perhaps, on some other occasion a much more comprehensive and far-reaching piece of legislation for the promotion of artistic and cultural endeavour will come before us.
Mr. Tunney Mr. Tunney
Mr. Tunney: Is dócha go bhfuil sé iontuigthe is ionghlactha go bhfuil sé tráthúil i leith Bille dá leithéid seo go labharfadh duine éigin an gná cúpla focal i nGaeilge, go mór mhór ar rúdaí a bhaineann le cultúr agus saoithiúlacht.
Cosúil leis na cainteoirí eile níl mé chomh dúthrachtach sin maidir leis an bhfáiltiú a chuirfinn roimh an mBille seo. I gcúrsaí ealaíona measaim go bhfuil sé thar a bheith tábhachtach go mbeadh saoirse ag baint leis. Maidir leis an sean-chomhairle, bhí ar a laghad cúigear ar an gcomhairle sin a toghadh ó na baill a bhí ansin cheana féin. Cuireann sé díomá agus saghas eagla orm chomh fada is a bhaineann sé le cúrsaí ealaíona sa tír seo anois go mbeadh sé go léir, de réir an Bhille seo, faoin Taoiseach, is cuma cé hé.
The Taoiseach, when speaking on these benches, quite frequently made a statement which I never accepted and which I, sitting quietly on the far side, always thought ill became him. He talked about people in government who were anxious to keep their hands on the loot. Apart from anything else, I thought it was a most uncharitable comment and a comment which does not reflect any credit on politicians whether in government or in opposition. The Taoiseach now brings before this House a Bill which, inter alia, refers to the expenditure of £500,000. He is reorganising structures which in themselves were democratic in the matter of the personnel of that council. In so far as he proposes altering them so that he himself will have the right to nominate all the new members of An Chomhairle Ealaíon. I am hoping that he has forgotten  the charges which he has made against former Taoisigh and former governments and that there will be no question, in the matter of the Arts above all else, of embarking on an era when having one's hands on the loot can be alleged.
If there is any feature or characteristic essential to the promotion of the Arts it must be that they be allowed certain freedoms. The Parliamentary Secretary said he welcomed the Bill in so far as the council would be answerable to the House. I am not sure if I share his welcome in this respect. I am not too happy with the situation where apparently the Arts generally will become a political football. The Taoiseach and the Government might have a second look at how they propose reorganising the existing structures and they should think twice before satisfying themselves that in future the Arts will become a unit of the Taoiseach's Department or some other Department. People from whom we would expect a certain adventurous and imaginative contribution with regard to the Arts apparently must always be aware that if at any stage their imagination or adventure causes them to stand on the toes of any politician their sincerity, ability and desire to advance the Arts can be called to question here for reasons unconnected with the Arts—reasons which are purely political.
When Deputy Faulkner referred to the appointment of the 16 members the Parliamentary Secretary said it was entirely different from the situation which arose in connection with the Higher Education Authority or the College of Art. I am at a loss to understand this. The director who is described in the Bill as the chief executive officer will be appointed subject to the approval of the Taoiseach. From now on all members of An Chomhairle Ealaíon will be appointed by the Taoiseach and answerable to him. I hope that the Taoiseach will be prepared to accept some amendments to this section.
Deputy Haughey referred to what he had expected and what he thought the country would expect from a  Government who could boast of so many academics and intellectuals. When the HEA Bill was being discussed here I remember taking issue with the present Minister for Foreign Affairs on the matter of university autonomy. I made the point that where universities were being serviced by the taxpayers I thought the time had come for these institutions to be answerable in some way to this House. The Minister for Foreign Affairs who was then in Opposition jumped to his feet, he addressed himself to the Press Gallery and asked that they would pay special attention to the fact that a backbench member of the Government party was advocating the end of university autonomy. I have not changed my mind about the universities. I do not know if the Minister for Foreign Affairs has been consulted about this Bill but I hope he will agree with me that there should be at least some autonomy so far as An Chomhairle Ealaíon are concerned particularly having regard to the fact that the amount of money is relatively unimportant as against the moneys paid to the universities.
The Bill is dull and uninteresting. It lacks imagination and the bite which would indicate that there was some real concern. I refer to the terminology in the Taoiseach's speech when he stated that he hoped this provision would stimulate interested persons and groups throughout the country to organise plays, exhibitions and other similar activities. That savours of words, not intent. While we do not expect other people to dwell too long on the words we use these were the words of the Taoiseach on an important matter. When we consider what we hope the Bill will achieve with regard to literature, language, drama and speech we should be more precise. To me plays and exhibitions are just that and I do not know what other equation exists. I am not making an issue out of this but it confirms my fear that this is only a veneer, something superficial, pretending we are doing something when, in fact, little has been done.
At a time when all the Ministers of the present Government are availing  of every opportunity to indicate to the people how flaithiúlach they can be with money, the sentence in the Taoiseach's speech which says that the provision of more money cannot by itself remedy shortcomings in the fostering of the Arts is an indication of how ungenerous we are to be in the matter of providing moneys for the Arts. I should hate to be an artist here and to be in need of money because reading that sentence I could not be very optimistic.
Regarding the type of person who will be chosen for this council, I would hope that the Government would by now have recognised the many people and many organisations who, in their own way and with very little financial support from the State or elsewhere, have been doing tremendous work in such fields as drama, for instance. I refer specifically to amateur drama. Deputy Collins and Deputy Healy referred to what has been achieved in Waterford and Cork by voluntary effort. I commend the people of both counties on the magnificent work which they are doing but I commend also those people in all other areas who are involved in the field of amateur drama. If I were sitting on the Government benches I would hope that the Government would not be slow to acknowledge the work that is being done by these people. It is my hope that the amateur drama movement will be represented on the council.
My fear is that An Chomhairle Ealaíon may consist of personnel who during the years have been associated with the Arts but that their association may have been publicised out of proportion to the contribution they made. We all know that in this field, as in any other, it is not always the person who has made the greatest contribution, not always the best worker, who appears in the forefront. However, regarding which sections might have representations I am confining myself to amateur drama in the hope that when the Taoiseach is examining the recommendations and the names that have been submitted to him, he will bear in mind the great work that is being done by all those who are involved in this field.
 Perhaps I can be accused of having a special interest in drama. I hesitate to use the word “exploited” but this is an area on which we could and should capitalise. An interest in drama should be stimulated in the schools.
Notice taken that 20 Members were not present: House counted and 20 Members being present,
Mr. Tunney Mr. Tunney
Mr. Tunney: Before the interruption I was expressing the hope that when the Taoiseach is appointing the members of An Chomhairle Ealaíon he would consider the qualifications of all and that he would consider sympathetically all names submitted to him of people who are involved in the amateur drama movement.
Representation will be given to the professional theatre and the professional theatre is obviously deserving of representation. I would hope that the great work done for the promotion of drama, apart altogether from the great need that exists, would be recognised, recognised in the movement which has been catering to supply this need in the country to date.
I should like to express my disappointment that the promised second national theatre has not yet evolved. I understood that before the last Government left office this decision had already been taken and we could look forward to seeing a second national theatre. I believe this would satisfy a need which was stressed by some speakers about the centralising of the national theatre in Dublin. I believe the object was to have a theatre which would visit provincial areas so that the people in those areas would reap some benefit. When the Taoiseach is replying he might give us some indication as to when it is proposed to make funds available for this promised second national theatre.
I will conclude on the note on which I began. Looking at this Bill, and having listened to and read the Taoiseach's speech, I am afraid that we are embarking on a very unwelcome and undesirable situation in which art will become the straitjacket of the politicians.
Mr. Wilson Mr. Wilson
 Mr. Wilson: On a point of information, it is stated that the Taoiseach will announce the terms of appointment. Why was the exact number of years not included in the Bill?
The Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave
The Taoiseach: Most Bills do not include such a provision. Some Bills governing the appointment of statutory boards do include such a provision, but generally there is an upper limit. In this case the upper limit is five years. Within that period a person can be appointed for any particular term.
Mr. Wilson Mr. Wilson
Mr. Wilson: Does the five years obtain in this?
The Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave
The Taoiseach: It does. That is the maximum.
Mr. Wilson Mr. Wilson
Mr. Wilson: Section 3 does not make it clear.
The Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave
The Taoiseach: If the Deputy looks at section 12——
Mr. Wilson Mr. Wilson
Mr. Wilson: That is in relation to members.
The Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave
The Taoiseach: ——he will see the position. If the chairman is not a member of the council he cannot be chairman. This applies to both the chairman and the members.
Generally this Bill was welcomed and the remarks of Deputy Tunney, who concluded for the Opposition, were out of line with what Deputy Wilson and other Opposition speakers said. This Bill proposes to extend the powers and functions originally laid down in the 1951 Act. It makes one substantial change in that it enlarges the council. Under the original Act the council could co-opt additional members not exceeding five in number. Experience over the years has shown that this limitation resulted in the council not being able adequately to cater for all aspects of the Arts, including the visual Arts. This was adverted to by a number of speakers. It was certainly the experience of the council and of successive Ministers for Finance. Deputy Haughey told us that he announced on one occasion that he proposed to set up three separate bodies, but that proposal did not get beyond the stage of announcement.  When he left the Department of Finance, his successor, Deputy Colley, moved towards the proposals now adopted in the Bill as a result of discussions he had and work that was done. It is a mistake, therefore, for any Opposition Deputy to think there is any fundamental difference.
The concept of an Arts Council was the brainchild largely of the late Dr. Thomas Bodkin who made a monumental contribution to Art in this country. He did that in his capacity as Director of the National Gallery and, subsequently, as a member of the Fine Arts Institute in Birmingham he continued his interest in the Arts here. Prior to the introduction of the 1951 Act he had done an immense amount of work, including publishing a reprint, on a smaller scale, of his earlier work on the Lane pictures. It was as a result of his interest and the interest the then Taoiseach, Mr. John A. Costello personally had in this, that the 1951 Act was brought in.
It is correct that the council appointed under that Act could not embrace all the different interests and it was for that reason it was decided to enlarge it. It is now recognised that three separate bodies would be unduly wasteful. We have not got unlimited resources and having three separate bodies dealing with the Arts would be unduly wasteful. While no formal decision was taken it was the general view, I think, of the previous Government that that was so and from what Deputy Haughey said it is obvious he shares that view.
So far as the general form of the Bill is concerned, I accept responsibility for it, but I want to make it clear that there is no fundamental difference. The members are appointed, as members are appointed under a number of other Acts, by the Minister responsible or by the Government on his recommendation. There is a difference between this particular body, however, and the body referred to by Deputy Faulkner. The method of appointment is similar to that which obtains in a number of State companies. The responsible Minister appoints the chairman and members of the Institute of Cultural  Research and Standards under the 1961 Act. An Foras Forbartha is similarly appointed and also Bord na gCapall, under the 1970 Act. The Government appoint the chairman of the Higher Education Authority on the recommendation of the Minister for Education under the 1971 Act. The President appoints the chairman of the Institute for Advanced Studies, again on the advice of the Government; a nominal appointment by the President on the advice of the Government.
The intention in this Bill is, as a number of Deputies have said, to get representatives, people whose skill or talent reflects the various artistic groups in the community and, also, as far as possible to ensure that areas outside as well as inside Dublin are represented. The decision on what money is to be provided initially will have to be taken by the council themselves. The council will come to the Government, as all State bodies do, and put up proposals which will be examined. There is no specific proposal in the Bill dealing with money. At the moment the subhead under my Vote for An Chomhairle Ealaíon is for £100,000 but that by no means exhausts State assistance to different artistic and cultural activities. So far as I and the Minister for Finance are concerned when the request comes from the new council it will be sympathetically examined.
There has been some criticism which is difficult to answer because I do not know precisely what is meant. Deputy Haughey said the Bill was “not forward-looking” and was “not comprehensive”. He said it had no “new targets”. I do not know how you would set artistic targets; it is surely the wrong concept to think you would produce good art in any form by setting a target; it would cease to be art if targets were set. Deputy Tunney suggested there was “no bite” in the legislation. The phraseology of every Bill is in technical, legal language designed to enable the body or the undertaking, whether statutory or otherwise, to promote or do certain things. Here, in the initial definition of the 1951 Act, we have defined a number  of matters which fall within the terms of the Bill. The Long Title sets out that it is an Act to “stimulate public interest in, and to promote the knowledge, appreciation, and practice of, the arts and, for these and other purposes, to establish an Arts Council, and to provide for other matters in connection with the matters aforesaid.” In addition on this occasion we enable the council to assist local authorities. There had been valid criticisms that local authorities are limited in what they can do. They can provide buildings and facilities for exhibitions but under the Bill this is extended and under section 11 “a local authority for the purposes of the Local Government Act, 1941, may assist with money or in kind or by the provision of services or facilities (including the services of staff) the council, or any person organising an exhibition or other event the effect of which when held would, in the opinion of the authority, stimulate public interest in the arts, promote the knowledge, appreciation and practice of the arts, or assist in improving the standards of the arts.”
People generally react quickly to what they see although this sometimes applies to what they hear. Recently the Arts Council promoted a very big exhibition in collaboration with the Australian Government. Deputy Wilson adverted to the possibility that if there was more money the council might attract more exhibitions to this country. I think he mentioned the Charlemagne Exhibition. As he appreciates, one of the difficulties is the cost not merely of transporting an exhibition of that size but of insurance and the risk involved in moving works of art which may be fragile goods. This is a limiting factor. Under the additional powers in this section the local authority will now have the opportunity of getting assistance from the council. I hope this will be possible. It has been said from time to time that too much of the artistic world is located in the capital. That is due to a variety of circumstances, including the fact that there are two very good galleries in Dublin—the National Gallery and the Municipal Gallery. There are  also very fine galleries in the provinces. I hope it will be possible for the new council to assist in promoting and developing artistic exhibitions, drama and other festivals.
I think it was Deputy Healy who remarked that sometimes the problem is that when touring companies go to certain places the patronage is not up to expectations and a loss is incurred and they must turn to bodies such as the Arts Council or in some cases to Bord Fáilte to meet deficiencies. We have introduced this Bill as rapidly as possible. Deputy Haughey said he thought it might have involved more comprehensive legislation; it is an illusion to think you can promote either art or drama or music by legislation. No matter how comprehensive it may be it will not produce musicians, playwrights, painters or writers. It ceases to be art if it can be mass produced. However, Deputy Tunney said we should not literally examine every phrase or comment made and perhaps this is true. I am sure Deputy Haughey did not mean it in that way.
Under this Bill a director will be appointed by the council subject to the approval of the Taoiseach. I doubt if that can be said to be bringing politics into the matter; if anything, it strengthens the powers of the council. Most members of the existing council were appointed by the Taoiseach and the Government and the remainder were co-opted. Under this Bill they will all be appointed. I think Deputy Wilson's comment on this was valid; it is a mistake for people to be left too long on any body. One of the criticisms applied to the council was that when they can co-opt so many persons it is almost self-perpetuating. The five-year limitation is reasonable; it affords an opportunity to reappoint people considered suitable and, at the same time, if, for any reason, whoever is responsible at the time feels there should be a change then it can be made.
So far as the question of providing extra money is concerned, this will be a matter for the council and will be considered in the light of the proposals they make when the council is brought into being. I think it is appropriate  that the view of the new council should be obtained before any decision is taken on this.
Deputy Haughey adverted to the fact that the Arts Council was under my Department and expressed the view that it was inappropriate that it should be there. That is his personal opinion on it. The Deputy expressed the view when he was Minister that it should be transferred to his Department. The Devlin Report commented on a number of matters including the question of transferring certain functions from one ministerial Department to others. This report recommended that a number of departmental functions might be transferred from particular Departments to other Departments and that some might even be merged. These are being considered.
Until that consideration has been concluded there is no proposal to transfer the Arts Council elsewhere. Indeed the first step in implementing the recommendations of the Devlin Report was the setting up of the proposed Department of the Public Service. As Deputies are aware, the legislation on that was passed prior to the Summer Recess. That was the first step, and any of these matters will have to be considered in the light of that.
There is validity in some of the comments made by Deputy Wilson and other Members. In any body of this character one is dealing with people. Some Deputies pointed out that one of the criticisms of the council was that they intended to purchase works by established artists and, in certain cases. purchased quite a number of paintings or pieces by particular artists. That, I believe, falls within the question of personal opinion, but during the course of the annual debate on the Estimates when the Estimate for An Chomhairle Ealaíon is being discussed matters of that character can be raised.
I believe that if the council is an active body and members of it are adequately interested in its work then it will obviously mean that no particular view-point is dominant in decisions that are taken. One of the criticisms that has been made is this one, and obviously it is one that must have some validity if a number of people  have made it. I do not believe that it is necessary to have a particular official to deal with the complaints, as suggested by Deputy Wilson, but when the annual Vote is before the House matters of this sort can be raised. In addition, I feel sure that the council would listen to representations and comments made.
I agree with the view expressed here, a view which I have expressed on many occasions, that the present Director of the National Gallery has done a tremendous amount for art, not only in this city but in this country. Probably one of the attributes that he has is that he is alive to the necessity to go out to the people, to use a modern term, selling, not in the literal sense, and putting before the people the artistic treasures we have. He has done so by conducting lectures and arranging talks and discussions on topics and different aspects of art. That is part of the work and to that extent he has done a very praiseworthy job.
One of the advantages that the National Gallery has had here is that it has been separate from any Department. If one thing more than another inhibits artists or writers it is the feeling that they are restricted in some way by any form of control. They feel that they generally prosper best when they have adequate freedom. I believe that is one of the matters which has helped the National Gallery.
Deputy Haughey asked if there were any particulars to show whether the tax concession for artists and others was working satisfactorily. There are no figures available. As Deputies will appreciate it is not possible to get individual figures of taxpayers because the Revenue Commissioners cannot disclose them.
The Parliamentary Secretary referred to the question of co-operation with the Arts Council in Northern Ireland. The report of An Chomhairle Ealaíon, referring to the joint efforts with the Arts Council—a report which I understand will shortly be available —points out that there has been considerable co-operation. The Secretary of An Chomhairle visits the Northern Arts Council at least annually and  has addressed the Ulster Arts Club in Belfast. The comhairle in its purchases of paintings and sculptures never distinguished between the North and the South. In fact, many of the works purchased are works of Northern artists.
In addition some of the fellowships administered by the council apply to persons in both parts of the country. The comhairle also showed many exhibitions here which were organised by the Arts Council in the North of Ireland. They were also shown in Cork. The comhairle has also paid for exhibitions from here which were shown in Belfast. In addition they have organised joint exhibitions and both councils frequently have offered exhibitions from abroad to one another in order to reduce the costs.
On all these fronts—the same applies in drama and in literature as well as in music—there has been a great deal of co-operation. I believe that is as it should be and I have no doubt it will continue.
Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Tuesday, 23rd October, 1973.
Dáil Éireann 268 Arts Bill, 1973: Second Stage.