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Sinn Féin proposal for Culture Committee Inquiry into Arts Council budget

31 May, 2007

Sinn Féin West Belfast MLA Paul Maskey, member of the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee designate has said that the level of Arts spending here is an absolute disgrace and welcomes a proposed Inquiry into the Arts Council budget and its potential dividend for the cultural enrichment of the six counties.

Speaking after today's Culture Arts and Leisure Committee meeting Mr Maskey said:

"Arts spending in this part of Ireland is among the lowest anywhere in Western Europe. Current per capita spend on the arts here is £6.13 which is less than half the spend in the rest of Ireland which is currently £12.46.

"Spending on Arts and Culture is about much more than the Ulster Orchestra. It is about more than enhancing the quality of life. Community arts in particular promotes development, social inclusion and allows people to explore and understand local identity.

"Apart from the intrinsic social value of arts and culture, there is also significant scope to enhance the economy, to drive local economic regeneration and the tourism sector.

"I welcome the cross party support for my proposal and am heartened that David McNarry's proposed enquiry into the Irish language Act was rejected." ENDS

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