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Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media | Development and support of amateur and professional level arts post Covid-19

To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media the role she sees for the arts at local, national, professional and amateur levels to develop in the future; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– Bernard J. Durkan T.D.

For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 22 February, 2023.

To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media the degree to which she continues to support the arts throughout the country, with particular reference to both amateur and professional, given the need to recover from the  Covid-19 pandemic; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– Bernard J. Durkan T.D.

For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 22 February, 2023.


As Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, I allocate funding to the Arts Council.  Under the Arts Act 2003, the Arts Council has primary responsibility for the development of the arts in Ireland.   The Council works under its 10 year Strategy to address its statutory remit through a policy-driven focus on investment, advice, advocacy and partnership. My Department continues to invest in the development of the arts and artists countrywide with record €130m annual funding for the Arts Council now in place for the third year running.

I am informed that in January, the Arts Council announced funding of over €9 Million for Arts Centres and Ealain na Gaeltachta for 2023. The purpose of Arts Centre funding is to invest in and support the infrastructure of Arts Centres required to sustain and develop the arts in Ireland. Arts Centres are where artists and audiences meet and this is a key part of the Arts Council strategy to invest in public engagement. The Arts Council also announced the following allocations;

  • €19 million in individual artist awards which includes bursaries across all art forms, artist in residence schemes and new commissions.
  • €28 million for arts grant funding, project awards, festivals and touring ensuring that audiences throughout the country can experience the highest quality work.
  • Over €4 million for partnerships with each local authority and to Ealaín na Gaeltachta.
  • €13 million will be invested in a range of developmental projects including Creative Schools, Creative Places, Creative Europe and Culture Night, and towards the Arts Council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion plans.
  • €50 million for 107 strategically funded organisations across all parts of the country.

The Creative Ireland Programme is a culture-based initiative within my Department designed to promote individual, community and national wellbeing. Under its Creative Communities initiative, in conjunction with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, it has allocated over €29 million from 2018 to 2022 to the 31 local authorities to empower and support community-led participation.  Creative Communities delivers investment directly into local creative economies through their local authorities, for example, €191,290 has been allocated to Kildare County Council for 2023.

My role as Minister with responsibility for leading the co-ordination of the Decade of Centenaries Programme 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.  I have allocated €5 million to support the 2023 commemorative programme to deliver rich and diverse national and local programmes marking the significant centenaries arising in 2023.  Many of these investment programmes are delivered through the local authorities.

My Department also provides funding to support Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann which is the largest group involved in the preservation and promotion of Irish traditional music both at community and national level. Annual funding is provided to CCÉ for its work in the protection and promotion of Irish traditional music and culture.
My Department runs a Small Scale Local Festivals and Summer Schools Scheme. The Scheme is designed to support local cultural festivals and summer schools which are not in receipt of other central Government monies, and which may not be eligible under funding criteria for larger scale events supported by Fáilte Ireland, the Arts Council and similar bodies.

The Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme is a three year, €105m scheme, involving 2,000 artists and creative arts workers nationwide. Payments of €325 a week for three years to 2,000 recipients began at the end of October last. The pilot will research, over a three-year period, the impact of a basic income style payment on artists and creative arts workers.

I have allocated €6 million to the Night-Time Economy for 2023 which includes €2 million of capital funding to work with the sector to develop a sound-proofing grants package.  The overall allocation will allow my Department to build on some of the foundational work started last year and it will also help stimulate new ideas and new initiatives in the Night-Time Economy.

Much of the nationwide infrastructure of venues and arts centres used by the artistic communities was initiated and funded by local authorities. My Department focuses on providing capital grant funding to assist and maintain these arts and cultural facilities. Funding is administered through applications received for specific Grant Schemes.   Under Budget 2023, I announced €7m in additional capital funding for artists’ spaces and climate adaptation.  

Also supported annually under this subhead are smaller capital schemes. The Music Capital Scheme is supported by my Department and managed by Music Network. This provides funding for the purchase of musical instruments to both non-professional performing groups/ensembles and professional musicians.

In response to Covid-19, capital funding towards the pilot Outdoor Public Space Scheme 2021 funded 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 can provide year-round use can improve well-being and contribute positively to the public realm.  22 projects have been allocated funding under the scheme and a number of these have now been completed.

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