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Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media | To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media the extent to which she continues to support the arts in each county and at national level

To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media the extent to which she continues to support the arts in each county and at national level; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


My Department’s priorities are set out in its published Statement of Strategy 2021—2023.  The overarching  goal is to ensure the “sectors recover and grow in a manner that underpins social cohesion and supports strong, sustainable economic growth, with a focus on a number  of cross cutting goals of equality, diversity,  social inclusion, the Irish language and  environmental sustainability”.  The Statement of Strategy is available at this link

The Strategy sets out the actions that my Department will take over the coming period, both nationally and regionally, to enrich the quality of life in Ireland through supporting the development of tourism, culture, arts, sports, media and Irish language.  In addition to their immense inherent value, these are valued by all of our communities as important resources for social cohesion, individual and community wellbeing and for the presentation of Ireland as an attractive destination for tourism and sustainable inward investment.  

In the context of culture, the goal is to “support and develop engagement with, and in arts, culture and creativity by individuals and communities thereby enriching lives through cultural activity; and to promote Ireland’s arts, culture and creativity globally while also coordinating the Decade of Centenaries 2012–2023 commemorations programme.” 

As independent State bodies under the aegis of my Department, the Arts Council and Screen Ireland have spatial goals contained in their strategic plans.  The Arts Council’s 10 years strategic plan Making Great Art Work sets out five priority areas, each with a distinct goal – ‘The Artist’, ‘Public Engagement’, ‘Investment Strategy’, ‘Spatial and Demographic Planning’, and ‘Developing Capacity’.  Key objectives under Spatial and Demographic Planning involves key strategic partnership with local government and to ensure that national, regional and local capital provision are co-ordinated and sustainable. 

Some €371.4 million will be allocated to the arts and culture sector this year including record levels of funding for the Arts Council and Screen Ireland in recent Budgets.   The Arts Council maintains the record €130 million funding allocated in 2021 and 2022 allocation for Screen Ireland is €36.7 million, an increase of more than €6.6 million on the 2021 allocation.  Some €50 million is allocated for further supports for the live performance sector following on from the successful operation of a number of schemes in 2021, including the live performance support scheme, LPSS, the music and entertainment business assistance scheme, MEBAS, and the events sector Covid support scheme, ESCSS, thereby supporting a successful return to full-scale performances.

€25 million has also been secured to pilot a new basic income guarantee scheme for artists. This measure was the key ask from the Arts and Culture Recovery Task Force and will bring new life and support to the arts and culture sector on a national, regional and local basis.

Funding for the arts and culture sector also includes the following: €4 million to deliver a suite of initiatives proposed by the night-time economy task force; €5 million in additional funding for the national cultural institutions to ensure they continue to provide high-quality services to the public and deliver progress in their ongoing programme of investment; and €5 million to support the 2022 commemorative programme delivering rich and diverse national and local programmes marking the significant centenaries arising in 2022. 

Many of these investment programmes under will be delivered through the local authorities.

Earlier this year,   I announced the Government’s decision in principle to extend the Creative Ireland Programme until 2027.  Creative Ireland was launched in 2017 as an all-of-government culture and wellbeing programme committed to the vision that every person should have the opportunity to realise their full creative potential.  Established as a legacy initiative of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, Creative Ireland collaborates across government and with arts, community and voluntary organisations to deploy creativity as a strategy for wellbeing, social cohesion and economic success.  Alongside its very successful Creative Youth initiative, the programme’s Creative Communities partnership with the 31 local authorities, and their delivery of thousands of creative projects, has been key to enabling community-led nationwide engagement.  Last week, I announced the details of Cruinniú na nÓg 2022, which will take place on Saturday 11 June 2022 with events in every county.  This initiativeis being delivered through the network of Creative Ireland Coordinators and local authority Culture and Creativity Teams in each of the 31 local authorities and is supported by RTÉ. 

My role as Minister with responsibility for leading the co-ordination of the Decade of Centenaries Programme (2012-2023) is to help ensure that the challenging events of this important and formative period in our history and related themes, are meaningfully, proportionately and sensitively remembered.  Last December, I announced funding of €2 million for local authorities in 2022, to support their leading role in developing community-led commemorative activities, for the final phase of the Decade of Centenaries Programme.

I am very cognisant of the challenges faced by the arts, culture and live entertainment industry as the sector recovers post-pandemic.  As mentioned earlier,  I have provided a €50 million suite of supports for the live performance sector in 2022, to provide performance and employment opportunities for artists and crews, including €5m for Local Authorities to support local artists and performances through the LLPSS (Local Live Performance Support Scheme).  This scheme in particular has provided thousands of hours of employment for local musicians, artists and crews.

In response to Covid-19,  capital funding towards the pilot Outdoor Public Space Scheme 2021  by my Department is intended to fund local authorities to adapt, equip or otherwise improve public spaces for cultural and events activities, taking account of public health guidelines and of the needs of the local arts community. Outdoor public spaces that can provide year-round use can improve well-being and contribute positively to the public realm.

It is worth noting that much of the nationwide infrastructure of venues and arts centres were initiated and funded by local authorities. These centres are also supported through capital schemes largely operated by my Department. Projects supported included the provision of new integrated art centres, theatres and studio space and the refurbishment of existing performance spaces.  Support provided to these arts centres by local authorities and the Arts Council is critical to ensuring that a stable and vibrant network can be maintained. Capital funding schemes operated by my Department continue to be focused on enhancing this existing stock of arts and culture centres throughout the country.

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