Dáil Éireann - Volume 623 - 06 July, 2006
Written Answers. - Policy Directives.
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if his Department lays down policy priorities or guidelines to the Arts Council or other bodies or agencies which receive funding from his Department; the policy directives; if specific reference is made to a particular type or category of application or if the recipient bodies or agencies have autonomy in deciding such issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26949/06]
Mr. O’Donoghue Mr. O’Donoghue
Mr. O’Donoghue: The Arts Act 2003 provides that I, as Minister, may in relation to the performance by the Arts Council of its functions, other than  those relating to funding of the arts, give a direction in writing to the Council requiring it to comply with such policies of the Minister or Government as are specified in the direction. I have never in practice used this power.
In addition, I, as Minister, may by direction in writing require the Arts Council to establish one or more Special Committees to advise it on such matters relating to the arts as are specified in the direction. Such Special Committees shall comprise:
• A Chairperson appointed from among the members of the Council by the Minister
• Four ordinary members, two appointed by the Minister and two by the Arts Council
Only one such Special Committee has been appointed to date, to advise the Arts Council on the support of the Traditional Arts. The Arts Council is statutorily independent under the Arts Act 2003 regarding its funding of the arts.
The Irish Film Board:
The functions of the Irish Film Board are set out in the Irish Film Board Act of 1980, and the Board is independent in the discharging of those functions.
The Arts Act 2003 provides that the Minister may give directions to the Arts Council requiring the Council to comply with specified policies of the Minister or of the Government. However, the Minister has not issued any such direction. The 2003 Act also provides that the Arts Council shall be independent with regard to the funding of the arts.
In general, the autonomous National Cultural Institutions such as the National Library of Ireland and the National Museum of Ireland operate a policy established by their Statutory Boards. However, my Department’s provision of capital funding to the National Cultural Institutions is provided subject to that funding being expended in accordance with my Department’s cultural priorities. Staffing in the National Cultural Institutions is of course subject to overall Government policy in relation to staff numbers.
Irish Sports Council:
The functions of the Irish Sports Council are provided for under the Irish Sports Council Act 1999 and the Minister approves their Strategy Statement every three years.
Campus and Stadium Ireland Ltd:
Campus and Stadium Ireland Ltd is in receipt of funding from my Department. I have met the Board of CSID on a number of occasions to discuss policy issues and give directives for example  asking the Board to do the development plan for Abbotstown.
The National Sports Campus Development Authority Bill 2006 which has recently been considered by the Oireachtas sets out the functions of the National Sports Campus Development Authority that will replace CSID. The Bill provides that the Minister may give general policy directions to the Authority.
The role of Fáilte Ireland is set out in Section 8 of the National Tourism Development Authority Act 2003. The company has full autonomy in undertaking the functions conferred on it by the Dáil.
National Policy on Tourism is set out in “New Horizons for Irish Tourism — An agenda for Action” which was presented to Government and published in September 2003. In keeping with the Government’s policy on partnership the agenda was drawn up by a group comprising of experts from across the Tourism industry including the chief executives of Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland and the Chairperson of Fáilte Ireland. In drawing up the policy the group met with 17 key representative groups across the industry,
The Tourism Strategy Implementation Group monitors progress on the implementation of the policy. The Group advises me on the implementation of the recommendations of the New Horizons report and responds to evolving issues as they arise in the course of the development of the tourism industry in a dynamic international context. It works with the tourism industry and other Government Departments and Agencies to address a number of key areas. Both Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland Ltd are represented on the Group.
Both my officials and I regularly meet with the management of Fáilte Ireland to review implementation of Tourism Policy and to discuss issues relevant to the Industry and work with each other to ensure Ireland achieves its full tourism potential. My department keeps Fáilte Ireland fully informed of Government policy and decisions on matters pertaining to Corporate Governance and the general management of State agencies.”
Tourism Ireland does not administer any grant schemes. As a North-South Body, it receives funding from both Irish and British Exchequer and policy direction is provided jointly through the North-South Ministerial Council. In practice, this means that my Ministerial counterpart in Northern Ireland and I jointly approve Tourism Ireland’s 3 year Corporate and Annual Business Plans as well as our respective funding contributions to support delivery of these plans. The Agreed Programme for Government provides very specific policy direction for Tourism  Ireland’s activities. In addition, National Development Plan contains a specific Tourism Marketing Measure in the Productive Sector Operational Programme which describes the objectives, targets and activities which can be supported. More recently, the New Horizons Report on Irish Tourism provides a very clear policy backdrop to Tourism Ireland’s marketing activities — containing as it does, very specific recommendations for action in the tourism marketing area.
Question No. 39 answered with Question No. 17.
Question No. 40 answered with Question No. 7.
Dáil Éireann 623 Written Answers. Policy Directives.