In 2019, funding of €339 million was allocated for developing culture, heritage and the Irish language. This is an increase of €36 million, or 12%, on that for the previous year.
Primary support for the Arts is delivered through the Arts Council, who’s funding has increased in recent years and now stands at €75 million in 2019, an increase of €6.8m or 10% over 2018. The Arts Council, which is independent in its funding decisions under the Arts Act 2003, operates within a published 10 year strategic framework entitled Making Great Art Work. This strategy prioritises support for artists throughout their careers, by the involvement of many agencies in cultural provision, by the impact of the arts on the creative economy, and by the depth and breadth of people's engagement with the arts. The Arts Council now includes as an assessment criterion, the organisation’s policy on the remuneration of artists in an effort to ensure that organisations in receipt of Arts Council funding should offer fair and equitable remuneration to artists.
Project Ireland 2040 is the Government’s long-term overarching strategy to make Ireland a better country and supports business and communities across all of Ireland in realising their potential. €1.2 billion of Project Ireland 2040 is allocated to the Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht sectors as follows:
- €460 million for our National Cultural Institutions.
- €265 million for cultural and creativity investment programme
- €285 million for natural and built heritage
- €178 million for the Gaeltacht. The Irish language and the islands.
A Cultural and Creativity investment programme comprising €265 million will be closely aligned with the cultural infrastructure, creative communities and creative industries pillars of the Creative Ireland Programme.
- €200 million will be invested in our vibrant media production and audio visual industries which will have a positive impact right across the country
- A €40 million programme of investing in cultural infrastructure across all regions will see support for the maintenance and development of regional arts centres, theatres, regional museums, galleries, archives, multi-use facilities, artist studios etc.
- A €10 million national digitisation investment programme will see national collections digitised over the course of the plan supporting the conservation, preservation and dissemination of the national collections;
- Galway as EU Capital of Culture will receive €15 million funding for its cultural programme under the Plan.
In relation to capital funding the plan includes a total of €40 million, or €4 million in each of the 10 years from 2018 to 2027 to secure existing investment in arts and culture infrastructure nationwide and ensure a regional balance. A total of €3.9m was spent on arts and culture infrastructure in 2018. This level of investment will ensure the upkeep of regional infrastructure right across the country.
The Arts and Culture Capital Scheme allocated €10.214m to 134 projects under three complementary grant streams for the refurbishment and enhancement of the existing arts and culture facilities throughout the country. Over €1.5m of this was drawn down in 2018 and over €7.6m remains to be paid out over the coming years. This is the most significant investment in cultural infrastructure in a decade with funding provided to arts centres, theatres, galleries and museums, artists’ studios and creative spaces. The list of these projects with the amounts of their allocations is available on my Department’s website.
The Arts and Culture Capital Scheme is making a huge difference to many individual organisations and my Department is already seeing good outcomes and receiving positive feedback. My Department is currently giving consideration to new round of grant funding for Arts and Cultural Capital to be announced later this year.