The Government's policy on the arts is to promote and strengthen the arts in all its forms, to increase access to and participation in the arts, and to make the arts an integral and valued part of our national life. I am continuing to work towards this goal with my Department and the agencies within its remit.
The Programme for Government 2011-2016, along with my Department’s Statement of Strategy, has the overall goal of promoting and developing Ireland’s world-class artistic and creative strengths at home and abroad, and maximising their societal, economic and reputational value for the country.
As the Deputy will know, responsibility for the promotion of the arts at all levels throughout the country is primarily devolved to the Arts Council. Under the Arts Act 2003, the Arts Council is statutorily independent in its day-to-day operations and my Department has no role to play in its executive or funding decisions.
I understand, however, that Arts Council members and staff have met their Australian counterparts on several occasions in recent years, and remain in contact with them and arts practitioners in other countries. The Arts Council continues to monitor arts developments throughout the world and adopt good practice, where practicable.