Tuesday, 22 October 1991
Dáil Éireann Debate
1. Mr. Spring asked the Taoiseach if he has decided on a procedure of opening Government Buildings to members of the public who wish to visit it as an important public building, and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Since completion of the work on Government Buildings, a number of guided tours have been arranged, in response to requests from interested groups who made contact with my Department. For operational reasons, these tours have been conducted at weekends.
Mr. Spring: I am glad that some effort has been made to make this extremely important building accessible to the public. The sum of £17 million has been spent on restoring it. Perhaps the Taoiseach would give more information on  how he intends to make the building more accessible?
The Taoiseach: It would be my wish to make it accessible on as wide a scale as possible. It is the people's building, paid for by taxpayers, and I should very much like them to have opportunities to see it as much as possible. Unfortunately. however, we are living at a difficult time and my very strong advice from the responsible security agencies is that anything like general access is just not feasible. I had thought of having access to the quadrangle at least, but I am very strongly advised against it.
Mr. Spring: I understand that the public have access to the White House. Guided tours are provided there and they have more security problems than we would have in Dublin. The idea of being allowed to visit the quadrangle is akin to being allowed to look at the State records but not to touch them. Can the Taoiseach indicate when it is likely that the sort of guided tours he has mentioned will take place? Are they continuing as of now or will they be on a more regular basis?
The Taoiseach: Parties of school children are not contemplated at present. Groups of foreigners have visited Government Buildings, including a group from the Soviet Union. They came from the more respectable side of the Soviet Union. There was also a group from Norway. We have had groups from the north side, of course. A group from the construction industry also came who were interested to see the construction aspects.
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