Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Arts & Heritage Niamh Smyth says the Government must reaffirm its commitment to Arts, Culture and Heritage by allocating an increased budget for the Department next month. The sector has suffered a series of cuts over the past number of years and this trend needs to be reversed.
Deputy Smyth explained, “This Government claims to subscribe to the idea that arts and culture are intrinsic to the Irish State, but aside from the money allocated for the 1916 centenary commemorations, swingeing cuts over previous years have left the arts community seriously underfunded. Minister Humphreys and her Cabinet colleagues must lead the way in reviving the sector by allocating more money to the Arts Council and the Heritage Council.
“The Arts should be accessible to everyone and it is essential that there is additional investment in arts education. Particularly, I would like to see the model of Cavan Monaghan Education and Training Board Local Arts in Education Partnership initiative rolled out to all the ETBs in Ireland. Local authorities have also played a key role in bringing arts to the regions, resulting in new county venues, theatres and arts centres being built across the country between 2000-2007. This progress needs to be developed further and additional investment is essential.
“The Programme for Government states, “Arts and culture are intrinsic to the Irish State. We believe the arts belong to everybody and we need to increase access to, and participation in, the arts, boost our creative industries and preserve our heritage. Societies which invest in the arts and heritage are more prosperous, successful societies”. This is something that I and my party colleagues fully subscribe to, but the investment must be forthcoming. We cannot continue to starve the arts sector of money and expect it to flourish. The Government must decide how serious it is about arts, heritage and culture and reflect that in its budget allocation”.