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Sinn Féin supporting the Arts – Tóibín

4 October, 2016

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on the Arts, Peadar Tóibín TD, has outlined Sinn Féin’s commitment to the sector with the publication today of Sinn Féin’s alternative budget. The fully costed budget has indicated increases in key sectors of the arts, above projected government spending.

Speaking today, Deputy Tóibín said:

“We recognise that there are manifold benefits from investment in the arts. Apart from enriching our lives, when the arts are funded appropriately we see a tangible effect on the economy through the creation of jobs and increased tourism.

“Unfortunately, since 2008 we have witnessed the decimation of capital expenditure spending across the Arts – between 2008 to 2014, there was a 76% reduction in Arts, Culture and Film investment. It is truly remarkable that our creative industries have managed to rally so well despite the savaging of their budgets in previous years.  The centenary year of 1916 finally saw increased investments in the arts. We are determined to build on this and continue to cultivate a world class arts sector.

 “Sinn Féin are committed to developing an environment where the arts and culture industry can thrive. We are proposing an increase of €15.5 million in current funding, along with our capital investment programme of €15.75 million for 2017 for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. It represents the beginning of a process focused on repairing Ireland cultural landscape as well as plans for a longer-term financial commitment towards the development of a national youth arts strategy.

“We need to start making investing in a sector whose intrinsic cultural and economic value was disregarded by Fine Gael to the point of contempt. Sinn Féin appreciates the pivotal role that the arts plays in our lives and will support nurturing our arts industry in kind.” 

Note: The key measures in question are below

Increase Investment in the Arts Council by 16.5% - Cost €10 million

In recent years funding to the Arts Council has been cut by over €23 million. The arts support almost 21,000 jobs and are a significant part of our economy. Despite the effects of austerity, 3,500 artists continue to seek support from the Arts Council. Public investment in the arts is imaginative, directly impacts on employment and ensures a sustainable dividend for the State. Sinn Féin also proposes to better engage both Arts Councils on this island through increased North/South touring schemes and the co-funding of cross-border organisations.

Increase Investment in Culture Ireland - Cost €500,000

Culture Ireland promotes Irish arts across the globe. It financially supports Irish artists and organisations presenting works at venues and festivals abroad including the Edinburgh festivals and Venice Biennales. These projects also make contributions to developing and promoting our cultural tourism offering, benefiting the domestic and foreign tourist.

Increase Investment in National Cultural Institutions by 13.6% - Cost €5 million

National institutions including the National Archives, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the National Museum depend on public investment. These institutions have endured cuts in excess of 40% and as a result day-to-day operations, opening hours, staffing numbers and programming have all been affected. The National Library of Ireland (NLI) has seen a staffing reduction of 24% since 2008. We propose increasing funding by 13.6% - €5 million.

Commence Development of a Youth Arts Strategy

Sinn Féin want to see the development of a National Youth Arts Strategy, promoting participation, progression and provision developed. In 2017 the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, working alongside both the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Department of Education and Skills, should carry out research, planning and consultation on a National Youth Arts Strategy. A three-year implementation programme with a funding allocation of at least €5 million should follow the initial research, planning and consultation phase.

Allocation increase for Film Board - €3.75 million
The increased grant allocation of €3.75 million to the Film Board will increase support to films by more than one third.

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