Friday, April 07, 2006

Questions to Arts Council from Siún Hanrahan.

AS A MEMBER OF THE ARTS SECTOR IN NORTHERN IRELAND, I WOULD LIKE TO PUT
THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS TO THE ARTS COUNCIL OF NORTHERN IRELAND:


1. The Arts Council say they “agreed to help OBG to wind down its
affairs in an orderly, business-like manner”. Is it orderly and
business-like to give two days’ notice to the four permanent members of
staff, and not even leave time to take down the current exhibition?

2. The Arts Council say there were financial irregularities at the
Ormeau Baths Gallery. Why then did a forensic audit, called by the Arts
Council, clear it of any wrongdoing?

3. The Arts Council say they are “actively exploring options with
potential partners in the visual arts sector and are confident that the
gallery space will re-open”. Given the alienation of the arts sector as
a result of this sudden closure how can this confidence be justified?

4. Given the Arts Council’s advocacy of an “arm’s length” policy
towards their clients, why have they continuously interfered in the
day-to day running of the gallery over a two-year period?

5. The Arts Council has declared a number of reasons for the closure of
the gallery including unsustainability and loss of confidence in the
management. What evidence is there for any of these claims?

6. The Arts Council says they are “saddened by the decision of the
Chair of the Ormeau Baths Gallery to announce the closure of the
Gallery”. How can they claim to be “saddened” when their own withdrawal
of funding forced the Gallery’s closure?


Siún Hanrahan.

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