Thursday, 19 September 2019

Questions (9)

Tony McLoughlin


9. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the events planned for Culture Night 2019 in County Sligo; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37429/19]

View answer

Oral answers (6 contributions) (Question to Culture)

I ask the Minister to outline the events scheduled to take place in Sligo on Culture Night, which is taking place on Friday night.

Culture Night has grown from a relatively small-scale cultural event staged only in Dublin in 2006 to the significant national cultural event it now is, with more than 400,000 people visiting museums, galleries, historic houses, artists’ studios and cultural centres across the country on the night. I have been very impressed at the variety of events I have been able to attend on Culture Night as Minister. In 2018, a total of 1,606 venues across the island of Ireland participated in Culture Night, with an attendance of 420,000. Nationally, events are run in partnership with local authorities. Events were also held throughout Northern Ireland and overseas. In 2018, Sligo hosted 38 events in 19 venues and welcomed 2,435 visitors.

Culture Night 2019 will take place on Friday, 20 September from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Details of events in every area are available on It is anticipated that attendance figures will increase this year. This year Sligo has been allocated funding of €4,500 to assist with the cost of events. This funding is provided on a matched funding basis through the local authority.

I know that Sligo has always been a place with a vibrant, active and devoted cultural community. Some of the innovative events in the Sligo programme for 2019 include Art House Open Studio, Sligo Global Kitchen at the Model and Culture Comhrá at the Hawk's Well Theatre.

My Department has also allocated a further €183,005 to projects in the Sligo area through my Department's Creative Ireland programme in 2018 and 2019, including "His Deep Gaze" and for activities in Cruinniú na nÓg.

The cultural scene is bubbling and bursting with new ideas and pioneering practices, and is winning the world over. It calls on people across Ireland not to miss out and get out and support our culture creators, big and small, across the country on Friday. Around every corner there will be something to explore from awesome animation and stunning light projections to rattling reading and pulsating performances, exhilarating exhibitions and resounding concerts.

I welcome the funding allocated to Sligo and the local authorities. I also welcome the funding given to the Model and to the Hawk's Well Theatre over recent years. The Minister mentioned the events taking place. I compliment everybody associated with Sligo County Council on their effort and commitment in recent years. It is encouraging that the numbers have been increasing and we expect this trend to continue on Friday night. The Minister has given considerable funding to the creative arts. The funding of €4,500 for Friday is badly needed by the local authority because matching funds can be difficult at times. It is vital that people come out on Friday night, not just in Sligo but throughout the country. It is encouraging to see the number of people coming out. I ask that the Department consider funding for all these events again in the future.

I hope that funding for Sligo will continue. The allocation of €4,500 this year is the same as the amount allocated last year. I have no doubt it will be put to good use on Friday night. While in Sligo in March, I visited the Hawk's Well Theatre, which has received capital grants from the Department. The Hawk's Well Theatre is a 340-seat theatre which hosts a diverse programme of arts and entertainment, including professional and amateur drama, a wide range of music from traditional and jazz to opera, dance, pantomime, children's theatre and comedy.

On 19 May I attended the national Famine commemoration in Sligo town. I also visited the Model, home of the Niland collection, which features one of the largest public holdings of works by Jack Butler Yeats. It also features a broad range of traditional and contemporary works by artists, including Norah McGuinness, Dorothy Cross, Alice Maher, Clodagh Emoe, Eamon O'Kane, Seán McSweeney, Estella Solomons and Paul Henry among others.

I also attended the launch of Project Ireland 2040 at the Institute of Technology Sligo on 15 February 2018, when we announced the details of almost €1.2 billion in capital spending plans for my Department.

I acknowledge the funding. The Minister is right in what she said about the Hawk's Well Theatre. That money was very well received. Work is about to begin on a major development in the theatre. Wonderful works are being done at the Model. Great credit is due to the staff at the Model and the Hawk's Well Theatre as well as to the people supporting those fine facilities in Sligo town. The Minister has been to the Model on a number of occasions and she also went to the Hawk's Well Theatre to announce additional funding. She will have seen the enthusiasm in both those facilities which is replicated in many others. Sligo County Council has a number of events in the programme for Friday night. The Minister has always been very supportive on her visits to Sligo and the announcements made in respect of the two major projects at the Hawk's Well Theatre and the Model.

I agree with the Deputy. At the Hawk's Well Theatre this Friday, Rafeef Ziadah and Sorcha Fox will perform "Sendiana", which is about exile and terror. I expect it to be really powerful. Sligo Global Kitchen at the Model will bring communities together to enjoy a global food experience. The Yeats Society in Sligo will host "Sisters, Sisters, Sisters" by storyteller Imelda Ryan Jones. People will be able to tour the Sligo Masonic Hall and learn about the Masonic order.

I also mention the small-scale local festivals and funding schemes for summer schools.

In 2019 the Sligo Feis Cheoil received €2,000, the Yeats International Summer School received €5,000 and the Enniscrone and District Community received €1,500 for the Black Pig Festival in 2018.

I will continue to support Sligo in any way I can. I hope that all the Members present enjoy Culture Night.