Thursday, 12 December 2019

Questions (389)

Brendan Smith


389. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to increase funding for projects (details supplied) in 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52487/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

Under Budget 2020, total funding for the arts and culture sector in 2020 will increase by over 2% from €189m to almost €193m. 

Primary support for the arts is delivered through the Arts Council. Funding for the Arts Council has increased in recent years and will reach €80 million in 2020.  This is an increase of €5m or 6.7% over 2019.  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.

Local authorities are the second-biggest funding organisation for the arts in Ireland.  According to the Arts Council's 2018 Annual Report,  their net investment was almost €40.1 million, an 8% increase on 2017 (€37.1 million), which in turn was a 7% increase on 2016 (€34.65 million).  The Arts Council's relationship with Local Authorities is based on the ten-year strategic partnership agreement entitled A Framework for Collaboration 2016–2025.  On the basis of this document, in 2018 both partners collaborate on various initiatives overseen by the Arts Council/Local Government Management Liaison Group and a Working Group.  In 2018, the Arts Council provided up to €1.8 million to local authorities to support key partnership arrangements. Local authority funding to venues was maintained in 2018 and increased in some instances and were broadly maintained in 2019.

The Creative Ireland Programme is a five-year all-of-government, culture-based initiative, led by my Department, that emphasises the importance of human creativity for individual, community and societal wellbeing.  The vision of the Creative Ireland Programme is to position creativity at the heart of public policy, to enable, encourage and enhance collaboration and innovation, and to create opportunities for all citizens to engage with all forms of creative activity.

The main source of funding for local community events and activities under the Creative Ireland Programme is Pillar 2: Creative Communities'.  In 2019, total funding of €3m was allocated to all 31 local authorities (approximately €96,000 each) to enable them to support an extensive programme of activities, events and initiatives in each county.  Each local authority has established a Creative Ireland Co-coordinator and a local Culture Team to manage and allocate this funding in accordance with local needs and in line with their own, individual 5-year Culture and Creativity Strategy. Nearly 1,500 projects were funded nationwide in 2019 covering a broad range of topics including archaeology, architecture, biodiversity, crafts, heritage, drama, dance, literature, music, storytelling and the visual arts.

In addition to this core funding, the Creative Ireland Programme allocated approximately €15,000 to each local authority outside of Dublin and €75,000 each to the four local authorities in Dublin to develop a special programme of events for Cruinniú na nÓg – the national day of creativity for children and young people which was held in June.

It is anticipated that funding will be made available to local authorities in 2020 to enable them to further implement their Culture and Creative Strategies and to deliver Cruinniú na nÓg. Details of allocations to individual local authorities will be announced shortly. Further information on the Creative Ireland Programme can be found on its website as follows:

The Arts and Culture Capital Scheme 2016 - 2018 focused on the refurbishment and enhancement of the existing stock of arts and culture facilities throughout the country. Funding of €10.214m was allocated to 134 projects under three complementary grant streams. Funding was provided to a range of facilities, including arts centres, theatres, galleries and museums, as well as artists’ studios and creative spaces.  A number of grants were allocated to the projects within the regions to which the Deputy refers.

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that I recently announced a new €4.7m capital investment scheme for arts and culture centres across the country.  Applications are now being invited for the Cultural Capital Scheme which will run from 2019-2022.  The Scheme will focus on enhancing the existing stock of arts and culture centres that operate as not-for-profit organisations throughout the country and that have a clearly defined arts and culture focus.  Full details of this scheme including detailed guidelines can be found on my Department's website.

A particular focus of the new scheme will be its emphasis on the reduction of carbon footprints to dovetail with the Government’s action on climate change.  Projects providing additional capacity for artists and artistic production particularly in arts centres will also be favoured.  This funding is provided from a €40m capital investment allocation for local arts and culture infrastructure contained in Project Ireland 2040 “Investing in our Culture, Language & Heritage 2018-2027'.  

This scheme has been informed by the recently published strategic Review of Arts Centres and Venues by  the Arts Council & the County and City Management Association as well as the Arts Council's published  Arts Centre Policy and Strategy 2019 which sets out its funding criteria for arts centres from 2020 onwards.