Thomas Pringle TD

PQ: Cuts in the Arts Budget will impact heavily on tourism, island, rural & Gaeltacht life

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DAIL QUESTION

NO.14

To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the reason the Arts budget was cut by 16 per cent amounting to €30 million in Budget 2017 taking into account the huge benefits the arts provide for island, rural and gaeltacht communities and the impact this will have on tourism development in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
– Thomas Pringle.

For ORAL answer on Thursday, 20th October, 2016.

Ref No: 31105/16 Lottery: 10 Proof: 10
R E P L Y

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Heather Humphreys TD)
I am glad to report, as stated earlier, that I have retained the majority of the €18 million current funding which was provided for the 2016 Commemorations for reallocation to arts and cultural purposes within my Department’s vote. It will therefore become part of the baseline for the Arts division of the Department, meaning it will be available for future years.

The Deputy may wish to note that Budget 2017 will include an additional €5 million for the Arts Council, an 8% increase in its annual budget; increased funding for all of the National Cultural Institutions; an increase of €2 million for the Irish Film Board and €1 million for Culture Ireland as well as an additional €1 million to the Heritage Council. I have also obtained a new funding stream of €5m for the implementation of a Culture 2025/Ireland 2016 Legacy Programme which will allow me to build on the positive legacy of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme. I will be announcing details of this new initiative shortly.
This represents real and substantial funding increases across the arts and cultural centre and has been welcomed across the sector. Indeed much of the funding initiatives announced in the 2017 budget should have a real impact on communities, artists and arts organisations across the country including in the Deputy’s constituency of Donegal.

It should be noted that the majority of the €49m allocation to my Department to provide for the Commemorative Programme in 2016 went towards a series of capital projects, including the new visitor centre at the GPO, Richmond Barracks, the Kevin Barry Rooms at the National Concert Hall and the Athenaeum in Wexford.

Now that these projects have been completed, the capital funding provided for them will not be repeated in 2017. These projects will, of course, continue and go on to leave a positive lasting legacy for the people of Ireland.

All these measures for supporting culture re-affirm the commitment of this Government to progressively increase funding for the arts as the economy improves, as set out in the Programme for a Partnership Government.

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