Sunday 18 March 2018

An artless merger

Madam -- The response by Minister for the Arts, Jimmy Deenihan (Sunday Independent, July 8, 2012) to Eamon Delaney's article on the arts (Sunday Independent, July 1, 2012) seems to spend most of its time saying how Fine Gael and Labour were just as good a friend to arts and culture as Fianna Fail. However, it is the here and now that we want to concentrate on and not the merit of past achievements.

Many people have questioned the wisdom of the minister's proposal for the merger of the National Gallery of Ireland (NGI), the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Imma) and the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork, pointing out that these institutions have separate collections, diverse roles and contribute differently, as artist Ann Madden recently so eloquently said, "to the tapestry of our national identity". Merging these very different institutions under a single board with a newly appointed director general is a mistake.

The recent request by Robert Troy, Fianna Fail spokesperson on Arts and Heritage, for a cost-benefit analysis for another pet project of Mr Deenihan's department, the merger of the National Library with the National Archives and Irish Manuscripts Commission, will doubtless fall on deaf ears.

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