Féin's spokesperson for Arts, Culture, Sport & Tourism, Sandra McLellan TD,
has called on the government to, "stop penalising those with disabilities
and to reinstate the funding for Arts and Disability Awards Ireland
Speaking during a Dáil debate on the issue this afternoon, McLellan said:
"I raised the issue today because it is important to promote social inclusion at all levels including the arts. Arts and Disability Awards Ireland Scheme is a unique all Ireland project that is supporting and developing disabled and deaf people's involvement in the arts. It received funding from both Arts Councils on the island. The scheme is managed by Belfast based Arts and Disability Forum.
"The scheme has allocated a total €640,565.45 to 216 projects on the island since its inception in 2000.
"The scheme had been valuable in promoting the careers of disabled and deaf artists.
"The future is now uncertain for disabled and deaf artists as the cuts in funding signals the end of the Arts and Disability Awards Ireland
"Artists from both sides of the border who have received ADAI bursaries have gone on to win awards, commissions, recording or publishing deals and major grants.
"I would appeal to the minster to use whatever influence both financial and political to ensure that funding is restored to this worthwhile project.
"This is not a cut in line with the budget cut to the Arts Council itself. This is a slash and burn approach. And yet again it is those people with disabilities that are being burnt.
"Unfortunate, again and again, it is those with disabilities that are bearing the brunt of cuts and the politics of austerity. An 11% cut to Arts Council funding equals withdrawal of all funding to artists with disabilities. It is unjust and unacceptable.
"The minister must recognise this is wrong. I hope he sees to it that the decision is reviewed and the funding reinstated."