Sinn Féin demands answers on €19 million cut to arts budget – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Gaeilge, Gaeltacht, Arts and Culture, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, has expressed deep concern at the apparent cut of over €19 million in the budget allocation for arts and culture programme funding announced in this year’s budget.
The Dublin South Central TD said:
“The figures are deeply worrying. The figure for arts and culture funding has dropped from €371 million in 2022 to €352 million next year.
"This comes despite claims that the budget will 'enhance' and 'expand' supports within the sector, which begs the question: who will lose out to make up for these cuts?
“Sadly, no clarity or detail was provided in either the Budget speeches or documents published yesterday, or in the glossy press releases and videos released by the Department for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media today.
“At a time when artists and arts workers face venue closures and the cost of living crisis, many of them after getting the bad news that their basic income application was unsuccessful, it would be totally unjustifiable to cut the funding upon which they rely by €19 million.
“It suggests a government totally hostile to the arts at this time of crisis.
“In contrast, Sinn Féin’s alternative budget outlined how we would not only have maintained the baseline arts funding from 2022, but increased funding for arts and culture by an additional €17.26 million for a total of almost €389 million for the arts in 2023.
"Even in hard pressed times, Sinn Féin would not leave the arts behind.
“This funding would have allowed for vital increases for funding across the sector as it battles the cost of living crisis.
This would include additional money for the Arts Council, Culture Ireland, our National Cultural Institutions and Screen Ireland, as well as investing in the creation of a dedicated Culture Quarter for Dublin at Moore Street, protecting the historic 1916 Battle-site for future generations while securing space for culture and the arts, just as developers are closing down and destroying such spaces across our capital.
“Sadly, this government has set out no such plan to preserve our built heritage and ensure an increase in cultural spending at this time of crisis.
"The attempt to fudge the figures by announcing increases while in reality cutting funding for the sector by €19 million is an insult to arts workers.
“Minister Catherine Martin has a lot of explaining to do, and we hope she will bring clarity at her press conference in the morning.”