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Arts Plan

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 8 December 2015

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Questions (669, 672)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

669. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she communicates with local community groups involved in the production of amateur dramatic and musical festivals, given the need to offer appropriate financial assistance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44175/15]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

672. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she actively engages in promoting and encouraging the arts in its various forms, either directly or through bodies under her aegis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44178/15]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 669 and 672 together.

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.

The Government appreciates the importance of the cultural and creative industries to Ireland. The Arts Council is the main mechanism through which the Government directs funding to the arts and to artists. The Council provides significant support to individual artists through bursaries as well as individual grants. It also funds means-tested payments to members of Aosdána. The Arts Council recently published its new Strategy Statement: Making Great Art Work. This sets out the Council’s plans to lead the development of the arts in the decade to 2025 and prioritises two policy areas – the artist and public engagement.

This year, as part of Budget 2016, I was pleased to announce a 12% increase in allocations across a range of areas, including the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, and a new investment programme for regional arts and cultural centres. There will be significant benefits accruing for communities, artists and creative workers from many of the Ireland 2016 programmes supported by this additional funding, including at an international level.

My Department also provides significant funding towards numerous cultural events and bodies, which are of great economic and social benefit to the State. For example, my Department supports the annual Culture Night event, which has grown from a relatively small-scale cultural event, staged only in Dublin, in 2006 to the significant national cultural event it now is. My Department also provides support to numerous other cultural events through the funding it provides to the Arts Council, the national cultural institutions and a range of other cultural organisations.

I was also particularly pleased that the Government introduced a 25% increase in the ceiling for the Artists Exemption from 2015. This important measure recognises the invaluable contribution which artists make to Irish society.

My Department continues to work with other Departments to promote the cultural and creative industries within the framework of the Government’s overall objectives under the Action Plan for Jobs.

Finally, the place of artists in society has been a significant theme arising from the public consultation process, which I put in place for the development of Ireland's first national cultural policy, Culture 2025. This will be reflected in the policy document which I will publish early in the New Year.

These measures will, I believe, provide increased support to Irish artists, as well as community groups, both emerging and established, and underpin Government investment in arts and culture into the future.

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