Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Arts & Heritage Niamh Smyth says it’s completely unacceptable that 14 posts on the Board of the Heritage Council have been left vacant.  Information provided to Fianna Fáil reveals that four of these positions have been vacant for almost three and a half years.

Deputy Smyth commented, “It is extremely disappointing to learn that the Heritage Council has been operating without a Board for almost six months.  This is an extraordinary and unacceptable situation and raises further questions about the Government’s commitment to the arts and heritage sector.

“It beggars belief that the Council has been functioning with only seven Board members since April 2015.  What’s worse is the fact that four out of the fifteen positions has been vacant for almost three and a half years.

“This situation is just not acceptable. Something as vital as our national heritage needs the strategic vision and oversight that a good Board can bring. It is not sustainable to allow it to carry on with no Board in place.

“Sadly this situation seems to be something of a pattern in the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The National Museum had some 13 to 15 vacancies on its board from January to June, 9 of them since last October.  The Crawford Gallery in Cork has 7 vacant positions. One of the exceptions is IMMA, which appears to have a full complement of members.

“The outstanding vacancies on Boards must be addressed as soon as possible. We can’t realistically expect to have a thriving arts and heritage sector when there is such an absence of leadership and oversight”.