Tory-DUP austerity damaging local Arts infrastructure - Ó Muilleoir
Speaking after meeting arts groups and artists in his South Belfast constituency, Sinn Féin MLA Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said:
“Tory austerity supported by the DUP is damaging our local Arts infrastructure. Artists and arts groups are an engine for progress, diversity and community cohesion in South Belfast and it is no coincidence that this constituency is also the most diverse and boasts the strongest cross-community relationships in the city.
“A suggested 12 per cent cut to the arts budgets could lead to a real crisis in the sector with dire consequences for our efforts to promote a future-focused and vibrant Belfast with a place for all and where difference is celebrated. Artists and art groups deserve consistent, mainstream funding.
“Local arts institutions including the Lyric, the Crescent Arts Centre, An Droichead, Irish Pages and Arts Ekta, are the very bedrock of Belfast and their voices must not be ignored.
“When Finance Minister, I brought forward three initiatives to boost the sector: providing funds to buy the work of local artists, allocating £1m from dormant funds for arts regeneration projects, and the Per Cent for Art initiative.
“Regrettably, only the first of these has come to fruition.
"I have now written to the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Communities to ask that he meet a delegation of arts groups from South Belfast to ensure their voice is heard in any discussion around budgets for the Department.”