Fianna Fáil is using its Dáil time this week to highlight the importance of the Arts sector in Ireland. The Private Members motion, which will be debated this afternoon, will look at the main issues facing the arts community.
Fianna Fáil Arts & Heritage Spokesperson Niamh Smyth explained, “As a party, we have always been supportive of Irish arts and culture and have a strong record of investment in the sector. The tabling of this motion is testament to our commitment to ensuring that arts and culture remains at the heart of Irish life and that its contribution to a well-rounded society is fully recognised and realised.
“The arts are central to the social and cultural wellbeing of the country, but the sector also plays an important economic role in terms of employment and tourism. The popularity of Ireland as a location for the tv and film industry should be supported, and we must work to ensure that our reputation as a location destination is advanced and publicised.
“I am concerned about the effective dilution of the Arts portfolio at Cabinet level; something that is shared by many within the arts sector. Since being appointed as Fianna Fáil Arts Spokesperson, I have been meeting with various interest groups and they have expressed their anger and disappointment at the move by the Taoiseach to essentially sideline this important portfolio. Fianna Fáil wants to see the restoration of Arts and Heritage as a portfolio in its own right, and this is reflected in today’s motion.
“The Government’s proposed culture policy Culture 2015 is currently in development, but I am concerned about the lack of engagement with politicians from non-Government parties. If this document is to be the blueprint of our cultural strategy over the next 9 years, then I believe that there should be cross party support for it. Our motion calls for this policy to be considered, discussed and voted on by the Dáil before its formal adoption as the official strategy of the state.
“With that in mind, I believe that the Minister should publish the strategy in draft form so that it can be discussed with invited stakeholders before an Oireachtas committee. Then, if necessary, it could be revised and enhanced by all parties and be fully debated in the Dáil”.