Period of change ahead for National Concert Hall, says Deenihan
Fianna Fáil Arts spokesman says board resignations undermined institution
The National Concert Hall: to be put on a statutory footing similar to other national cultural institutions. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons
The coming period will be one of change at Dublin’s National Concert Hall, Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan has said. He told the Dáil that legislative reforms planned for the institution would greatly enhance it for performers, staff and the public.
The Minister was replying to Fianna Fáil spokesman Seán Ó Fearghail, who said he understood that differences of opinion on governance and board focus had led to five members quitting the concert hall’s board in early April.
Mr Ó Fearghail said the taxpayer, as the concert hall’s principal funder, had a right to know what issues currently divided the board, what strategies were in dispute, and the Minister’s views on the dispute. The most recent annual report available suggested that €2.4 million of subvention was available to the concert hall in 2012 and it had returned a modest surplus of just over €100,000.
“It is deeply distressing to see an institution of State that has so much positive achievement to its credit to be undermined as a result of board conflict at this time.’’
Mr Deenihan said the concert hall had operated as a company limited by guarantee since its establishment in 1981. Last February the Government had approved his proposal to place it on a statutory footing, similar to other national cultural institutions, and the board had been informed.
Draft heads of the required legislation would shortly be submitted to the Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht for parliamentary scrutiny.
Mr Deenihan said placing the concert hall on a statutory footing mirrored similar decisions last year in respect of the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
He said as a statutory body the concert hall would be required to prepare and adopt a statement of strategy, submit progress reports and submit an annual business plan.