Cost-benefit analysis of library merger urged


MINISTER FOR Arts and Heritage Jimmy Deenihan has been urged to publish a cost-benefit analysis of proposed changes to the State’s national cultural institutions.

Fianna Fáil’s spokesman on arts and heritage, Robert Troy, said there was serious concern in the arts sector about proposals coming forward from Government on mergers and changes to governance structures.

“It is essential that any changes are fully debated and that representatives of the sector are involved. The arts sector supports 79,000 jobs and is contributing almost €5 billion to the economy, directly and indirectly,” he said,

The Dáil last night debated a Fianna Fáil private members’ motion seeking to protect State investment in arts and culture.

In a statement beforehand, Mr Deenihan said no organisation was above examination or reform.

He said State funding for these institutions – which amounted to more than €48 million this year – must be utilised as effectively and efficiently as possible.

“One of the simplest ways in which we can help the institutions to work in a more effective and efficient way is to encourage them to share common functions,” he said.

“Many of the institutions have individual marketing and human resources departments, while institutions also purchase things – such as insurance or printing services – which may, if pooled, drive total spending down over time.”

He said a number of options were under consideration, and his department has been engaging with the cultural institutions since the Government published its reform plan last November.

Mr Deenihan said he will be bringing reform proposals to the Government in the near future.

Among the proposals being examined include plans to merge the National Library with the National Archives and Irish Manuscripts Commission.