DÁIL QUESTIONS WITH PER ON SEANAD MOVE TO NATIONAL MUSEUM

10. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the outcome of the presentation to the Joint Committee on Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs on 25 January 2017 regarding the arrangements and costs involved in locating Seanad Éireann in the ceramics room of the National Museum of Ireland; the consultation taking place with staff of the National Museum on the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3743/17]
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: I have been raising the wholly inappropriate move of Seanad Éireann to the ceramics room of the National Museum of Ireland since last July when I was contacted by a number of concerned constituents, including Dr. Mark Clinton of An Taisce. I contacted the Ceann Comhairle, the Taoiseach and Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs on the issue and proposed possible alternative locations, including the Round Room of the Mansion House, Dublin Castle and public buildings in other cities, possibly in Cork or Galway. I also proposed using the large former committee room in Kildare House, where the Committee of Public Accounts, on which both Deputy Durkan and I sat, used to meet. Why is €1.5 million being spent disrupting a great national institution which oversees artefacts from 10,000 years of human habitation on this island for the sake of the Seanad?
Deputy Seán Canney: I would love to bring the Seanad to Galway. The Deputy asked about a meeting which was to be held on 25 January last. I am advised that the meeting did not take place. An inherent element of the advancement of the work of the Office of Public Works is its active, continuous engagement with the management and staff of the National Museum of Ireland. The Deputy referred to a number of alternative locations. The relocation of the Seanad would require the relocation of staff, including security and audiovisual services.
After a prolonged search it was agreed by everybody that temporary relocation to the ceramics room in the National Museum of Ireland was appropriate. The Office of Public Works has been actively engaged with the management and staff of the museum to assist with the process of its preparation of the detailed plans and tender documents required to advance these works. Any and all of the works proposed will ensure the integrity of the museum will be retained and respected at all times. The outcome of the investigative works that are now being undertaken will inform the detailed design and specifications of the works required and, accordingly, will facilitate the detailed cost estimate.
I take this opportunity to advise the Deputy that a lot of the work being done in the museum will be permanent work of benefit to it into the future. Disabled access is being provided and the fabric of the building is being enhanced and this will be of benefit to the museum into the future when the Seanad relocates to Leinster House. A large element of the cost relates to IT services, mechanical and electrical, and the installation of a lift for disabled access.
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Why are we going through all of this? I have had many experiences of the Office of Public Works and often times I have not been impressed with its performance. The Secretary General of the Oireachtas, Mr. Peter Finnegan, detailed in a letter to me last year the reason the move was necessary. As I said, committee room 1, where we met with our officials is on the same campus. Many members are located in the Agriculture House campus. What is the reason for this move? Is it related to the grandeur of the Seanad Chamber or to the Seanad as an institution? I was among those who supported the proposal to abolish the Seanad and to increase the membership of the Dáil because of the fundamental role we play and because I believe the people are the second House anyway.
Approximately €1.5 million has been spent already. I understand the OPW has dug pits without planning permission. What is proposed is a change of use of the building. Has planning permission been sought for it? The works were supposed to be under way by now and completed in the autumn. This process is a complete mess. This is cloak and dagger stuff about a great national institution. Why did we go down this road?
I understand An Taisce has made a complaint to Dublin City Council about this move. This is not exempted development. Why are we doing this? Why not just relocate the institution to Kildare House where the staff involved are located, the cost of which would be considerably lower?
Deputy Seán Canney: The decision to relocate to the National Museum of Ireland was made by the Houses of the Oireachtas and not the Office of Public Works. The OPW is only the facilitator of the works. The works currently under way are investigative works which will inform the design in terms of what needs to be done and what permits or consents are needed in that regard. As I said, a large element of the expenditure relates to the audio-visual services required and the installation of a lift, which will be of benefit to the museum into the future.
In regard to the location, every aspect and proposal was examined in detail. The Houses of the Oireachtas agreed that this was the best location to move to.
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Deputy Durkan and I were members of the Committee of Public Accounts when a proposal was put forward to fix the floor and roof of the Seanad Chamber. At that stage, the proposal was to move the Seanad to the Natural History Museum where there appeared to be more space and so on.
This seems very disruptive for the institution concerned, which we have all had experience of as children. We all recall visiting it for the first time and how evocative it was in teaching us about who we are and the great history of our people and country. The staff of the museum are being discommoded. I accept the Seanad could not have been relocated to the National Library and so on. A great deal of money is being spent on this project by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. As I said, to date €1.5 million has been spent on it. Is the final cost likely to be several million euro? If so, this is a costly escapade and one that is totally unnecessary. I am sure Senators would agree that it is possible to do one’s work in any reasonable size space. There are a number of such spaces around this House, including in Kildare House. I do not see why we are going down this road.
Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Was any thought given to the Seanad relocating to the old parliament building at the Bank of Ireland? I do not wish to be overly grand about this but it would have been a nice correlation.
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: The House of Lords.
Deputy Seán Canney: I do not have to hand all of the options considered. The necessity to move has been well documented. If the existing building is left as it is and there is ever a fire in it we will have no building. The requirements of a move have been decided by the Houses of the Oireachtas and not the Office of Public Works. The OPW is meeting those requirements as requested.
The Houses of the Oireachtas was involved at all stages in deciding the new location for the Seanad. No more than other issues that are raised, a decision has been made and we have to get on with the work. That is what the Office of Public Works is doing at this stage.

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Tommy questioning the Minister  for Transport on mututal recognition of disqualified drivers
Tommy questioning the Minister for Transport on mututal recognition of disqualified drivers

Tommy's Topical Issue Debate on RSA and road safety statistics
Tommy's Topical Issue Debate on RSA and road safety statistics

Tommy questioning the Minister for Education and Skills
Tommy questioning the Minister for Education and Skills

Tommy's Dáil speech on dredging in Howth Harbour
Tommy's Dáil speech on dredging in Howth Harbour

Tommy questioning Minister White on Eircode
Tommy questioning Minister White on Eircode

Tommy questioning Minister Kelly on Housing and Homelessness
Tommy questioning Minister Kelly on Housing and Homelessness

Tommy's Dáil speech on Social Welfare Bill 2015
Tommy's Dáil speech on Social Welfare Bill 2015

Tommy questioning Minister Bruton on Cadbury Coolock
Tommy questioning Minister Bruton on Cadbury Coolock

Tommy's Dáil speech on Topical Issues Debate on Drink-driving Conviction Rates
Tommy's Dáil speech on Topical Issues Debate on Drink-driving Conviction Rates

Tommy's Dáil speech on Budget 2016
Tommy's Dáil speech on Budget 2016

Tommy 's Dáil speech on Financial Resolutions No.4 Budget 2016
Tommy 's Dáil speech on Financial Resolutions No.4 Budget 2016

Tommy's Dáil speech on Sinn Féin's Social Housing Motion
Tommy's Dáil speech on Sinn Féin's Social Housing Motion

Tommy questioning Tánaiste on One Parent Family Payments
Tommy questioning Tánaiste on One Parent Family Payments

Tommy's Topical Issue Debate on  the Malahide Road Re-alignment
Tommy's Topical Issue Debate on the Malahide Road Re-alignment

Tommy questioning Minister for Health on Fair Deal Scheme
Tommy questioning Minister for Health on Fair Deal Scheme

Tommy questioning Minister Reilly on UN Review on the Rights of the Child
Tommy questioning Minister Reilly on UN Review on the Rights of the Child

Tommy's Dáil speech on the Civil Debt Procedures Bill 2015
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Civil Debt Procedures Bill 2015

Tommy 's question to Minister Coveney on BSE case
Tommy 's question to Minister Coveney on BSE case

Tommy's Dáil speech on St Michael's House Funding
Tommy's Dáil speech on St Michael's House Funding

Tommy's Dáil speech on the  Low Pay Commission
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Low Pay Commission

Tommy's Dáil speech questioning on uplifts to Rent Supplement
Tommy's Dáil speech questioning on uplifts to Rent Supplement

Tommy's Dáil speech on the Urban Regeneration and Housing Bill 2015
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Urban Regeneration and Housing Bill 2015

Tommy's Dáil speech on the Commission of Investigation into IBRC
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Commission of Investigation into IBRC

Tommy's Dáil speech on the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2015
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2015

Tommy's Dáil speech questioning Minister O'Sullivan on autism service
Tommy's Dáil speech questioning Minister O'Sullivan on autism service

Tommy's Dáil speech against sale of Aer Lingus
Tommy's Dáil speech against sale of Aer Lingus

Tommy's Dáil questions to Minister Flanagan on China
Tommy's Dáil questions to Minister Flanagan on China

Tommy's Dáil questions To Minister Richard Bruton on Cadbury Coolock
Tommy's Dáil questions To Minister Richard Bruton on Cadbury Coolock

Tommy's Dáil speech on the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Bill 2014
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Bill 2014

Tommy's Dáil speech on Topical Issue Debate on National Bus Strike
Tommy's Dáil speech on Topical Issue Debate on National Bus Strike

Tommy's Dáil speech on the Spring Economic Statement
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Spring Economic Statement

Tommy's closing Dáil speech on his High Pay and Wealth Commission Bill
Tommy's closing Dáil speech on his High Pay and Wealth Commission Bill

Tommy's Dáil speech on Peace and Neutrality
Tommy's Dáil speech on Peace and Neutrality

Tommy's opening Dáil speech on his High Pay and Wealth Commission Bill
Tommy's opening Dáil speech on his High Pay and Wealth Commission Bill

Tommy's Dáil speech on Neutrality Bill
Tommy's Dáil speech on Neutrality Bill

Tommy questioning the Tánaiste on changes to One-Parent Family Payment in the Dáil
Tommy questioning the Tánaiste on changes to One-Parent Family Payment in the Dáil

Tommy's contribution to the Topical Issue Matter of Cadbury Coolock job losses in Dáil Éireann
Tommy's contribution to the Topical Issue Matter of Cadbury Coolock job losses in Dáil Éireann

Tommy questioning Health Ministers in the Dáil on services for children with autism
Tommy questioning Health Ministers in the Dáil on services for children with autism

Tommy's Dáil speech in support on Jake's Law
Tommy's Dáil speech in support on Jake's Law

Tommy's Dáil speech on the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill

Tommy's Dáil speech on rising rents and the need for Rent Regulation
Tommy's Dáil speech on rising rents and the need for Rent Regulation

Tommy's Dáil speech on his submission for Budget 2015
Tommy's Dáil speech on his submission for Budget 2015

Tommy's Dáil speech on the Garda Síochana (Amendment) (No.3) Bill
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Garda Síochana (Amendment) (No.3) Bill

Tommy's Dáil speech on the Road Traffic (No.2) Bill 2014
Tommy's Dáil speech on the Road Traffic (No.2) Bill 2014

Tommy raises constituents' concerns regarding North Dublin Oil Pipeline
Tommy raises constituents' concerns regarding North Dublin Oil Pipeline

Tommy's speech on Social Clauses in Public Procurement Bill 2013
Tommy's speech on Social Clauses in Public Procurement Bill 2013

Tommy speaks on Workplace Relations Bill 2014
Tommy speaks on Workplace Relations Bill 2014

Tommy asks Minister Paschal Donohoe to introduce third payment option for penalty points offences
Tommy asks Minister Paschal Donohoe to introduce third payment option for penalty points offences

Tommy urges Minister Kelly to immediately deal with social housing crisis
Tommy urges Minister Kelly to immediately deal with social housing crisis

Topical Issue Debate on Allegations of Illegal Activity in Some Contracts under the School Building Programme
Topical Issue Debate on Allegations of Illegal Activity in Some Contracts under the School Building Programme

Tommy's Speech to the Dáil on the Wind Turbine Regulation Bill
Tommy's Speech to the Dáil on the Wind Turbine Regulation Bill

Tommy asks Minister Rabbitte about Possibility of Introducing Rent Controls
Tommy asks Minister Rabbitte about Possibility of Introducing Rent Controls

Tommy's Dáil Speech on State Airports (Shannon Group) Bill 2014
Tommy's Dáil Speech on State Airports (Shannon Group) Bill 2014

Tommy's Dáil Speech on Judicial Appointments Procedures Bill 2013
Tommy's Dáil Speech on Judicial Appointments Procedures Bill 2013

Tommy's Dáil Speech on Cemetery Management Bill 2013
Tommy's Dáil Speech on Cemetery Management Bill 2013

Dáil Statement by Tommy on Social Housing Crisis
Dáil Statement by Tommy on Social Housing Crisis

Tommy speaks in Dáil on Garda Inspectorate Report
Tommy speaks in Dáil on Garda Inspectorate Report

Tommy asks Minister Joan Burton about Social Welfare Appeals Waiting Times
Tommy asks Minister Joan Burton about Social Welfare Appeals Waiting Times

Tommy's Statement to the Dáil in response to Allegations about An Garda Síochána
Tommy's Statement to the Dáil in response to Allegations about An Garda Síochána

Tommy speaks on Offshore Wind Energy Plan in Dáil Éireann
Tommy speaks on Offshore Wind Energy Plan in Dáil Éireann

Dáil Speech by Tommy on Roads Bill 2014
Dáil Speech by Tommy on Roads Bill 2014

Tommy asks Minister Noonan about future of Irish Nationwide Mortgage Holders
Tommy asks Minister Noonan about future of Irish Nationwide Mortgage Holders

Tommy Calls for Commission of Investigation into Stardust Fire in Dáil Éireann
Tommy Calls for Commission of Investigation into Stardust Fire in Dáil Éireann

Tommy's Dáil Statement on Effects of Recent Flooding
Tommy's Dáil Statement on Effects of Recent Flooding

Tommy asks Minister Deenihan about War Commemorations
Tommy asks Minister Deenihan about War Commemorations

Tommy Broughan TD asks Taoiseach about Commission of Investigation for Stardust Fire
Tommy Broughan TD asks Taoiseach about Commission of Investigation for Stardust Fire

Tommy Broughan TD speaks at Conference 09
Tommy Broughan TD speaks at Conference 09

Tommy Questions Taoiseach on Aer Lingus Dispute
Tommy Questions Taoiseach on Aer Lingus Dispute

Tommy's Dail Speech on Illegal Occupations in Newtown Court & Clongriffin
Tommy's Dail Speech on Illegal Occupations in Newtown Court & Clongriffin

Tommy's Dáil speech on National Minimum Wage
Tommy's Dáil speech on National Minimum Wage

Labour Party Conference 2010
Labour Party Conference 2010

Dail Tourism Debate
Dail Tourism Debate

Labour Party Conference 2009
Labour Party Conference 2009

Dublin Bay North