Thursday, 3 June 1999
Dáil Éireann Debate
16. Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands the proposals, if any, she has to provide better information signage at national institutions and monuments for 1999; the locations where improved information signage will be provided in 1999; the budget allocated for this proposal; and the projected timescale for the completion of the programme. [14706/99]
I was concerned that for many years there had been an inconsistency in the approach to signage at properties managed by Dúchas, the heritage service of my Department. In order to address this situation and to help to ensure standardisation in the quality and design of information panels at Dúchas sites, Dúchas has just produced a sign system manual. This manual is now the corporate design manual for Dúchas signage throughout the country and will help to ensure that in coming years, there will be consistency in signage at Dúchas sites. The manual has been circulated to all Dúchas depots.
This issue of improved information signage is also being addressed in a tangible way through a major signage programme currently in train at national monument sites. This extensive programme will continue for several years, and a list of the sites which will benefit under the current phase of the programme follows for the information of Deputies. The current phase of the programme, which concerns panels to be supplied in 1998-99, includes some 100 information panels which are scheduled to be delivered to the national monuments district depots from July 1999 onwards for distribution and erection at the individual sites. It will take several years, and  considerable costs and effort to complete this programme but I am fully committed to this course of action.
There are two different types of information panel involved. The production cost, including research, text preparation, translations, illustrations, design, manufacture and supply, is £2,819 each for the larger type and £1,393 each for the smaller panel. The total contract price for the current phase of the programme is approximately £192,000, excluding VAT.
In addition to my policy of improving information panels at national monument sites, I am also working with a number of local authorities to improve directional signs to Dúchas sites. The main example of such co-operation is with Clare County Council, which has agreed to provide more than 20 such signs in County Clare at my Department's expense. I am convinced that this investment will improve greatly the quality of the visitor experience to the Dúchas sites concerned.
This list identifies sites intended for signage under the current phase, but it is subject to alteration should other sites be subsequently identified as needing information panels as a greater priority.
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