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Shocking lack of oversight in Galway Arthouse cinema construction – Peadar Tóibín TD

28 September, 2016

Sinn Féin spokesperson on the arts, Peadar Tóibín TD has described as “shocking” the absence of oversight in the prolonged development of an art house cinema in Galway City. The projected which was officially launched in 2009 is projected to cost €9 million with no date of completion in sight.  

Speaking following the Joint Committee on Arts Hertitage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs meeting today Deputy Tóibín put questions to Minister Heather Humphries and to Dr Annie Doona of the Irish Film Board.  

He said;

“The litany of delays mishaps and delays surrounding this project is shocking. This project has been funded almost entirely by the public purse and as of yet, residents of Galway City are exposed to the spectre of stark grey structure, with no date of completion in site. 

“The Prime Time Investigates exposé on the project last night raised serious questions over administration and oversight on both national and local levels. The Department of Arts said it never carried out internal audits into the millions of euros worth of funding it provided. The Film Board claimed that it was reliant on the Department to provide oversight. 

“This means that millions of euro of taxpayers money was being spent with no-one monitoring the spending. It beggars belief that the Department could allow a situation where such lack of oversight could exist. This is particularly galling given the constant appeals for funding to finance the project which the Department continually consented to. 

 “Further notes of concern were that Solas, the company overseeing the project were in breach of the Charities Act. It also transpires that there was no public tender with which to select an operator of the cinema. 

 "While I do not wish to undermine the merit of the project itself, we’re not satisfied with response from the Minister as regards how well protected the investment of the state is and who will retain control of the site. The execution of the project itself has also raised serious concerns over the accountability and oversight of arts administration projects in this country.”

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