Galway East Fianna Fáil TD Micheál Kitt has said he is disappointed by the Government’s decision to vote against a Fianna Fáil motion on the protection of arts and culture.
Deputy Kitt said: “Fianna Fáil is calling on the Government to publish a cost benefit analysis of proposed changes to the sector including any merges of the National Cultural Institutions.
“There is serious concern in the Arts sector about proposals coming forward from Government on mergers and changes to governance structures. It is essential that any changes are fully debated and that representatives of the sector are involved. The Arts sector supports 79,000 jobs nationally and is contributing almost €5bn to the economy, directly and indirectly. The Galway Arts Festival brought in €17.5m to the local economy in 2011. Studies and surveys show that for 70% of visitors to Galway, the Arts Festival was a factor in their decision to come. We look forward to this year’s event, which will begin in two week’s time”.
Deputy Kitt praised another local project – the Galway Picture Palace – and its organizer Lelia Doolan, and called on the Minister to release the €2.1 million in necessary funds for this project to proceed.
Referring to the work of Music for Galway, Deputy Kitt reminded the Minister that members of that group have been eager to stress the arms-length principle that has underpinned arts policy and structures in the State for more than 60 years.
“Fianna Fáil has a long record of supporting Irish arts and culture and delivered over €1.1 billion in investment for the sector between 2005 and 2010 alone. We are entering an extremely important time for the country with a series of landmark anniversary leading up to the centenary of the 1916 Rising. Fianna Fáil will be opposing any efforts to merge the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Crawford Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Ireland; National Archives and the Irish Manuscripts Commission; and the National Library and the National Museum.”
“I am extremely disappointed that the Government did not see fit to support our motion in the Dáil. The arts sector is extremely important and Fianna Fáil will continue to raise these issues, particularly if the Government presses ahead with mergers that are not in the best interests of the sector.”