Dáil Éireann - Volume 546 - 12 December, 2001

Written Answers. - National Cultural Institutions.

31. Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands her views on the imposition of charges for admission to museums or galleries in receipt of funds from her Department; her further views in particular of the decision of the National Gallery to impose a charge for admission to the planned exhibition of Impressionist paintings; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31821/01]

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands (Miss de Valera): In general, admission into our national cultural institutions should be without charge. However, where an institution incurs significant additional expense that cannot be met from its own resources in exhibiting material acquired on loan, a charge to cover this additional expense is not unreasonable.

Under section 61 of the National Cultural Institutions Act, 1997, the National Gallery of Ireland may determine fees for admission to the gallery, subject to my consent. The proposal to charge for admission to the exhibition of Impressionist paintings, on loan from the Boston Museum of [985] Fine Art, on the opening of the new millennium wing of the gallery next month, is a case where it is considered necessary to recoup part of the cost of acquiring the exhibition on loan.

In these circumstances, consent was given to the board of the National Gallery to devise a scheme of charges, bearing in mind the Government's anti-poverty and national children's strategies and Government programmes in respect of the aged and unemployed. There is no admission charge to view the gallery's own collections.