Thursday, 23 October 1997
Dáil Éireann Debate
Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands (Miss de Valera): I assume that the Deputy means the Caretaker Board of the National Museum of Ireland chaired by Ms Barbara Nugent which was established by my predecessor with the approval of the previous Government in 1995. The National Museum of Ireland is an institution that currently functions within and as an integral part of my Department. Within this context the caretaker board does not operate as an entirely separate entity with final executive authority. The caretaker board is charged to oversee and guide the development of the museum (particularly in relation to the capital projects at Collins Barracks), to operate, as far as  possible, the functions assigned to the statutory board of the museum to be established under the recently enacted National Cultural Institutions Act, 1997, to prepare the way for the transition of the museum to autonomous status and to examine policy and other operational matters affecting the museum as they arise.
I have no immediate plans to restructure the caretaker board which I am pleased to say has operated very well since its inception and which has been especially helpful to me during the difficult period experienced in the Museum in recent times.
The caretaker board is distinct from the Board of Visitors for the National Museum which has been in existence since the 19th century. The Board of Visitors emanates from a formal agreement made in 1881 between the then Department of Science and Art and the Royal Dublin Society. There is no overlap of functions with the caretaker board as the function of the Board of Visitors is limited to making regular reports on the state of the museum's collections.
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