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Forget the IMMA board debacle, we need to examine Aosdána

Too much energy has been wasted on the bushfire which flared since the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) board appointments debacle.

It is also a debilitating spectacle to see the authority of the Arts Minister, Heather Humphreys, being reduced to that of a puppet as she strives to preserve the anonymity and omnipotence of the unelected political apparatchiks who seem to call the shots. A more pressing public concern is the capacity and effectiveness of the board of IMMA to lead an organisation and the capability of the Minister to oversee the affairs of the entities funded by the exchequer.

The 2012 annual report of IMMA revealed an alarming drop in visitor numbers from 418,000 in 2010 to 63,642 in 2012 causing the subsidy for each visitor to rise from €16.30 to €83.70.

Why has the Minister not demanded the publication of the 2013 annual report by the board of IMMA before now?

The Minister could also serve the wider public interest by radically reforming Aosdána, a body in urgent need of major and far-reaching reform. In this era of transparency, how can such a heavily-subsidised body have no published mandate, no measures of accountability and the freedom to recruit its membership in conclave?

Furthermore, if the Minister declares that she takes ‘full responsibility’ for the appointment of insiders to roles at IMMA that are subject to political influence, what level of responsibility should she be taking with respect to Aosdána members who receive a State stipend of €17,180 per year?

Myles Duffy

Glenageary

Co Dublin


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