Dáil Éireann - Volume 333 - 31 March, 1982

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Arts Council Assistance.

[1039] 6. Mr. Deasy asked the Taoiseach the increased financial assistance he intends to provide for the Arts Council to allow the Irish Theatre Company to remain in existence.

The Taoiseach: I have authorised the Irish Theatre Company to continue in operation on an overdraft basis for the present. The question of supplementary funding to cover this will be dealt with later when their precise requirements for this year will be known.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Might I ask the Taoiseach if the money he has so generously given to the Irish Theatre Company will now be made good, that the allocation to the Arts Council will be made up to that extent to compensate, in other words, that it is additional?

The Taoiseach: There is a complex situation here. There are a number of organisations which in this particular year seem to have been — in their view anyway — hardly done by by the Arts Council. These are organisations which I know will find great sympathy on all sides of this House. How exactly to deal with that situation is something to which I am at present addressing that very open mind to which I referred earlier.

[1040] Dr. FitzGerald: The Taoiseach will agree that a rather fundamental difficulty has arisen because there is on the one hand the autonomy of the Arts Council which is in itself important and, secondly, the fact that a number of other organisations depend upon them for support; that the autonomy of the Arts Council precludes the Government from direct intervention, that there is a real difficulty in resolving this in a manner which does not interfere with the autonomy of the Arts Council but does ensure that bodies which have been put under their auspices, in the expectation that they will continue to be funded, do not cease to be funded?

The Taoiseach: I accept that that is the position.