As set out in the programme for Government, the Government's policy on the arts is to promote and strengthen the arts in all forms, to increase access to and participation in the arts and to make the arts an integral and valued part of our national life. The Government appreciates the importance of the arts, culture and the creative industries to our society and economy. The arts sector continues to offer vital opportunities for the provision of important cultural, social and employment benefits to communities throughout the country.
Primary responsibility for the promotion of the arts at all levels throughout the country is devolved to the Arts Council. The council is funded by my Department and is statutorily independent in its day-to-day operations, including its funding decisions. In 2014, the Arts Council received an allocation of €56.9 million. Details of all funding provided by the Arts Council to arts practitioners, groups and venues, including arts centres, are available on its website at www.artscouncil.ie.
The nature of employment within the arts sector encompasses a wide range of activities. It can include those engaged in the arts practice within specific artistic genres and can encompass areas that flow from such artistic pursuits. It may also embody the industrial creative sectors, including audiovisual production.
The Government appreciates and values the contribution that the arts sector makes to the internationally renowned artistic reputation of this country. Within the current economic constraints, investment in the arts, culture and creative sectors is more important than ever, having regard to the employment intensity of the sector. In October 2012, the Arts Council published its latest update of the "Assessment of the Economic Impact of the Arts in Ireland", which is available on the council's website.