Planning Issues

Questions (370)

John McGuinness

Question:

370. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the delays in many local authority areas in arranging pre-planning meetings with developers of residential schemes; if an analysis has been undertaken of local authority performance in this regard or the wider planning process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52551/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

Section 247 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, provides that any person intending to apply for planning permission for development on land in which he or she has an interest may request a pre-application consultation with the relevant planning authority about the proposed development. This consultation is held subject to the agreement of the planning authority, with the duration of the consultation a matter for each planning authority.

Under section 30 of the Act, I am specifically precluded from exercising any power or control in relation to any particular case with which a planning authority or An Bord Pleanála is or may be concerned, including pre-application consultations.

The specific information identified in relation to pre-planning meetings is not collated or available within my Department's statistics. However, a planning authority keeps a record in writing of any consultations that relate to a proposed development and a copy of this record is kept with the documents to which any planning application in respect of the proposed development relates.

Creative Ireland Programme

Questions (371)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

371. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the amount of Creative Ireland funding committed for 2020, by county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52201/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

The matter of funding proposals for measures under the Creative Ireland Programme for 2020 are being examined at present in the context of Programme priorities for next year and will be finalised shortly.

It is anticipated that, as in 2019, funding will be made available to local authorities in 2020 to enable them to implement their Culture and Creative Strategies. In addition, each local authority was also allocated funding in 2019 by my Department to support organisation of the national day of free creative activities for children and young people, Cruinniú na nÓg. I understand this event is already being planned by my officials for June 2020 and I expect a similar degree of collaboration between the Creative Ireland Programme and each Local Authority to deliver this.

Details of allocations to individual local authorities will be announced shortly.

Waterways Ireland Funding

Questions (372)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

372. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the funding allocated to Waterways Ireland and projects committed to by county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52202/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

The capital expenditure by Waterways Ireland to the end of November 2019,  is outlined by county in the following table.

The body's 2020 commitments will be published in the 2020 Business Plan.

County

Value €'s

All   Counties

715,901

Carlow

65,152

Cavan

76,606

Dublin

527,978

Greenway   (Dublin/Kildare/Meath/Westmeath/Longford)

337,127

Galway   & Offaly

2,071,105

Kildare

171,779

Kildare   & Meath

671,011

Limerick

7,085

Longford

162,224

Offaly

20,613

Roscommon

495,175

Westmeath

64,445

Total

5,386,202

Departmental Budgets

Questions (373)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

373. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the capital allocation of her Department in each of the years 2020 to 2025; and the areas to which funds will be allocated in each year. [52207/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

Under Project Ireland 2040 - the National Development Plan €1.188 million in capital expenditure has been allocated to my Department for the period 2018 to 2027.  Annual capital allocations were provided for the first five years of the plan covering the period 2018 to 2022.  For my Department, the annual  capital allocation under Project Ireland 2020 for the coming years are as follows:

- €76 million in 2020,

- €80 million in 2021, and

- €110 million in 2022.

A further €793 million has been allocated for the years 2023-2027, however, this has not yet been disaggregated by year.

In addition to this Project Ireland 2040 investment provision, Budget 2020, also saw €5 million being allocated to my Department as part of this Government's commitment to climate action.  This additional funding will be used to support peatlands restoration projects. 

In terms of our investment under Project Ireland 2040, my Department has developed a detailed sectorial investment plan, Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage, which sets the high-level, strategic capital investment priorities for the Department to 2027.

The investment plan sets out three strands of activity, capital investment and infrastructure programmes, capital grant schemes and major capital projects, across the following programme areas:

- €725 million towards enhancing our cultural infrastructure, incorporating,

- A €460 million investment in our National Cultural Institutions and,

- €265 million for a national Culture and Creativity Investment Programme;

- €285 million towards a heritage investment programme; and,

- €178 million towards investment in our language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands.

In 2020, we will support a broad range of projects and initiatives under these three strands.  Key outputs for the year are as follows:

- Progress the next phases  of the National Library of Ireland and National Archives redevelopment projects

- Progress projects at the Crawford Art Gallery, National Museum of Ireland - Natural History, National Concert Hall, Abbey Theatre, and others through the appraisal stages of the Public Spending Code

- Deliver Galway 2020 - EU Capital of Culture project 

- Invest in regional arts and cultural centres 

Continue to invest in our programme of trails and visitor centre upgrades across our National Parks and Nature Reserves

- Protect our built heritage through an investment of €4.3 million under our Built Heritage Investment Scheme and Historic Structures Fund

- Support proposals for the development of a flagship language and culture hub in Dublin City.   

- Support our agencies and partners in delivering culture, heritage and language projects across the country including Screen Ireland, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Waterways Ireland and local authorities.

Cross-Border Projects

Questions (374)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

374. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the status of CANN and CARE funding in a case (details supplied); the status of the provision of local projects under the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52388/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

With €9.4 million funding from the INTERREG VA programme, the Collaborative Action for the Natura Network (CANN) is a cross-border environment project which aims to improve the condition of protected habitats and to support priority species found within the Border Region of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, allowing the region as a whole to meet key EU biodiversity targets and ensuring the future of these internationally important habitats and species. 

The CANN project team is made up of local authorities, research institutions and charities from across the three jurisdictions, and is supported by the lead government departments, and overseen by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) with the aim of working together with local communities and stakeholders towards a common goal of improving the environmental condition of these sites.  

Actions include delivering educational and outreach programmes and raising awareness of the significance of the habitats and species found on the sites, with the aspiration of safeguarding the conservation of these key sites and ensuring their sustainability beyond 2021 and the lifespan of the CANN project. 

In Ireland, the CANN project is focused on seven protected wetland habitats and seven species, including marsh fritillary, freshwater species and breeding wader species.  Slieve Beagh SPA (004167) is included as one of the project sites.

My Department's National Parks and Wildlife Service sits on the steering group of the CANN project, as the national statutory body for nature and biodiversity in Ireland.  However, the lead partner for CANN is Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and questions relating to site management by the project and its staff, including for sites in Ireland, should be directed to them.

CatchmentCARE (Community Actions for Resilient Eco-systems) is an EU-funded project that aims to improve freshwater quality in cross-border river basins across three cross-border catchments through development of water quality improvement projects in the Finn, Blackwater and Arney catchments and installation 50 boreholes across the region.

Partners in the CARE project are local authorities Donegal County Council (who are the Lead Partner), Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council, Ulster University, as well as the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, British Geological Survey, the Loughs Agency, Geological Survey Ireland and Inland Fisheries Ireland.

The consortium will develop three policy actions, six catchment actions and three community actions, based on three critical criteria: (i) measurable impact on water quality; (ii) transferable beyond the three catchments; and (iii) contribute to a project legacy.

Donegal County Council is the lead partner for this project and matters relating to progress with the project should be directed to the Council. My Department is not a partner in the CARE project and does not have a role in this matter. 

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (375)

Niall Collins

Question:

375. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of credit cards issued to Ministers and officials working in her Department; the amount spent on credit cards in each year since 2016; the bank interest paid on credit cards in each year since 2016; the controls in place to monitor the issuing of and the expenditure on the cards; the controls in place in each agency to monitor expenditure on personally held credit card bills that are subsequently used to recoup work-related expenses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52398/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

A total of 3 departmental credit cards are currently in use by officials working in my Department.  

There was €10 bank interest paid on credit cards in 2018.  No bank interest was paid on credit cards in the years 2016, 2017 and 2019.

The Credit Card Usage Policy outlines the controls in place to monitor the issuing of, and the expenditure on, the cards. Each credit cardholder signs this policy, agreeing to abide by the rules outlined in the Policy, before the credit card is issued to them.  

The following table below details the amount spent on credit cards in each year since 2016:

Year

Expenditure

2016

€8,532

2017

€12,071

2018

€13,143

2019 ytd

€23,270

Inland Waterways Development

Questions (376)

Brendan Smith

Question:

376. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the capital investment proposed for the Shannon-Erne waterway in 2020; the projects that will benefit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52432/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

Waterways Ireland continue to invest in Blueways and Recreational trails for the benefit of the local community and tourists alike.

During 2020 there are plans for substantial investment on the Shannon-Erne waterway, with funding under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme being match funded from Cavan and Leitrim County Councils, and Waterways Ireland.

The development of these trails provides a unique opportunity to deliver off-road walking and cycling as a means to attract new visitors to rural areas and also provide new recreational opportunities for local people.

As well as the provision of infrastructure, Blueways provide a model for partnership between the private, community and voluntary sectors and local and national state bodies. The Blueway model has worked successfully on the North Shannon, and Shannon-Erne, with all of these bodies working in partnership to provide rural regeneration in areas where the tourism potential was underdeveloped. The partners work together to enhance capacity building among the private sector and provide and promote tourism packages for the visitor. Experience has shown that such packages and marketing of a Blueway attracts new visitors resulting in real economic benefits and job creation through increased tourism and recreational spend. The Blueways also provide other benefits in terms of increased health and well-being among users. The community and social benefits should not be underestimated as local people derive an increased sense of pride in their area from the additional investment, regeneration and growth the Blueway brings.

Blueway and recreational trail development planned for the Shannon-Erne in 2020 include:

- Ballyconnell to Bellaheady Bridge Recreational trail - 5.5km recreational trail from Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan to Bellaheady Bridge, Co. Cavan primarily along the banks of the Shannon-Erne Waterway.

- Belturbet to Lock 1 Corraquill Recreational Trail - 6km recreational trail from Belturbet, Co. Cavan to Lock 1 Corraquill, Co. Cavan

- Leitrim Village to Kilclare Blueway - 3.9km Blueway trail from Lock 16 – Lock 14 & Lock 12 – Lock 9 in Co. Leitrim

- Aghoo Bridge to Lock 4 Aghoo Recreational Trail - 360m recreational trail and bridge underpass from Aghoo Bridge to Lock 4 Aghoo, Co. Leitrim

In addition to these developments, capital investment in 2020 will include upgrading of the current lock operating system for the 16 Locks in the counties of Fermanagh, Cavan & Leitrim, and enhancement of the mechanical fleet on the Shannon-Erne Waterway.

Inland Waterways Development

Questions (377)

Brendan Smith

Question:

377. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht when a new facility (details supplied) will be available for use; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52436/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

Waterways Ireland has progressed on delivering on the 2015 Government approval to create a 2.5km stretch of the Ulster Canal from the Erne Navigation to the International Scout Centre at Castlesaunderson, Co. Cavan.

The project has been fully funded by my Department.

The navigation channel on the River Finn up to Castlesaunderson is now open to waterway users, the channel having been dredged where required. Approximately 1 km downstream of Castlesaunderson a new navigation bridge, together with a new short lateral canal, beside Derrykerrib Bridge has been constructed.

Waterways Ireland has worked with Cavan County Council in relation to recreational amenities at the Council site at Castlesaunderson, including a public jetty.

A contract for the construction of this new floating jetty was substantially completed in October 2019. The jetty will be operational for the 2020 boating season once reinstatement works are complete.

Film Industry Promotion

Questions (378, 382, 384)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

378. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which she continues to encourage film making here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52449/19]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

382. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the steps she continues to take to promote Ireland as an attractive film location; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52453/19]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

384. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which overseas filmmakers continue to interact with her Department with a view to use film locations here; the interactions which have already taken place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52455/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 378, 382 and 384 together.

Screen Ireland, which is under the aegis of my Department, is the national development agency for Irish film making and the Irish film, television and animation industry.  Its statutory remit is to assist and encourage the making of film in the State and the development of a film industry in Ireland.  Screen Ireland supports writers, directors and production companies across these sectors by providing investment loans for the development, production and distribution of film, television and animation projects.  Screen Ireland has a vision for a vibrant, creative and sustainable Irish film, television and animation industry, with diverse voices, talent and opportunities which speaks to and connects Irish film culture with audiences at home and abroad. The allocation of funding to Screen Ireland in 2020 will be  over €21m.

Screen Ireland works in conjunction with the enterprise agencies to support the development of the film sector to make a substantial contribution to inward investment.  It promotes Ireland as a location for international production by providing advice and support for international companies seeking to locate production activity here, organising inward and outward trade missions on an annual basis and working in partnership with EU counterparts on co-productions. Earlier this year, in the course of the Taoiseach’s trade mission to LA, Screen Ireland announced its intention to establish a presence in Los Angeles

The Government’s ‘Global Ireland 2025’ initiative, which was launched last year, lists film as a high-impact way of promoting Ireland on the global stage.  Under the initiative ‘Bringing our Culture and Heritage to the Wider World’ also committed to boosting Screen Ireland’s presence in Los Angeles and Screen Ireland will establish a new base in Los Angeles in 2020.  Strengthening the base in Los Angeles will allow for the building and managing of relationships with major US studios and content producers, communication of the opportunities available in Ireland, and identifying upcoming, portable productions that could locate in Ireland.  It also delivers on an aim in the Audiovisual Action Plan for Screen Ireland to provide a stronger presence in key markets such as Los Angeles.

The Audiovisual Action Plan is an industry-wide, long-term plan, under the Creative Ireland Programme and part of Government policy to support the audiovisual industry. In April 2018, I joined with the Taoiseach and Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, in launching my Department’s capital investment plan: 'Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018 – 2027’. This plan incorporated an amount of €200m to be invested in media production and the audiovisual industry over the next 10 years and represented a first step in the Government’s ambitions to enable Ireland to become a global hub for the production of film, TV drama and animation. The investment will be delivered through Screen Ireland.

Other Government supports to the sector include international film co-production treaties, an annual international programme of Irish film festivals, through engaging high-profile talent to project a positive image of Ireland and reflect Ireland as a creative place and the Section 481 tax relief,. Earlier this year, I was pleased to welcome EU Commission approval in respect of two aspects of Ireland's tax credit: the extension of the Section 481 credit until 2024 provides certainty for film production companies on the future availability of the credit, ensuring the continued growth of our film industry. It is a key recommendation in the Audiovisual Action Plan. A further key measure under the Plan saw the introduction of the Regional Film Development Uplift which offers an additional tapered tax credit over a period of 4 years. This is an important step in support of this Government’s ambition to make Ireland a global hub for the production of Film, TV Drama and Animation in supporting creative talent in Ireland and helping to develop a vibrant creative audio-visual sector throughout the country.

I will continue to work to support the development and expansion of the film and television production sector. In that regard my Department will continue both to work with Screen Ireland to ensure that Ireland is maximised as a location for both indigenous and international film production and to work with colleagues across Government and the industry on the implementation of the Audiovisual Action Plan.

Arts Promotion

Questions (379, 380, 383)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

379. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which she has been able to assist directly or through other bodies the arts at local level; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52450/19]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

380. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the degree to which she continues to have ongoing contact with local community groups with a view to promoting interest in the arts in its various forms at local level; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52451/19]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

383. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which she has contact with the arts section of Kildare County Council with a view to promotion of the arts in the county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52454/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 379, 380 and 383 together.

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. Further details of these initiatives with local authorities arts offices including Kildare can be  accessed on the Arts Council's website under "local arts " at the following link www.artscouncil.ie/Arts-in-Ireland/Local-arts/.

 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 well-being.  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.

I also announced my intention, in context of Budget 2020, to provide funding of €250,000 for the amateur drama sector in 2020. Details of that scheme will be announced shortly.

Arts Promotion

Question No. 382 answered with Question No. 378.

Question No. 383 answered with Question No. 379.

Question No. 384 answered with Question No. 378.

Question No. 385 answered with Question No. 381.

Questions (381, 385)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

381. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of stage productions supported by her Department in respect of music and drama; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52452/19]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

385. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the degree to which she continues to support drama and musical productions in each area both urban and rural; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52456/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 381 and 385 together.

Primary support for the Arts including theatre, stage productions, drama and music is delivered through the Arts Council.  Funding for the Arts Council has increased in recent years and now stands at €80 million in 2020, and increase of some €5m or 6. 7% over 2019.  

The Arts Council is independent in its funding decisions under the Arts Act 2003 and arts organisations, artists, and groups working with the arts are entitled to apply for funding. The Arts Council’s strategic framework Making Great Art Work was published in 2015 and sets out the Arts Council  plans to lead the development of the arts in the decade 2016–2025, setting out is mission which includes the investment of public monies allocated by the Government in supporting artist and arts organisations. The strategy also sets out the Arts Council’s commitment to monitor its funding to ensure there is a good balance between supports for established artists and organisations and for new and emerging artists and organisations.  There are  five priority areas  contained within this strategy that include the artist, public engagement,  investment strategy, spatial and demographic planning and developing capacity.

The Creative Ireland Programme is now in its third year and it provides significant support to Local Authorities to enable them curate a programme of local events and activities each year. 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 well-being.  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. 

In addition to the above, in support of music, funding is provided by my Department:

- for the purchase of equipment under the Music Capital Scheme to performing groups and individual talented musicians on an annual basis throughout the country.  The Scheme is managed by Music Network on behalf of my Department; and

- to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann which is the largest group involved in the preservation and promotion of Irish traditional music both at community and national level. 

I also announced my intention, in context of Budget 2020, to provide funding of €250,000 for the amateur drama sector in 2020. Details of that scheme will be announced shortly.

Question No. 382 answered with Question No. 378.
Question No. 383 answered with Question No. 379.
Question No. 384 answered with Question No. 378.
Question No. 385 answered with Question No. 381.

Arts Promotion

Questions (386)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

386. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of jobs available through the medium of the arts in its various forms; the extent to which the activity encourages job creation and interest from outside the arts; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52457/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

Primary support for the arts in Ireland is delivered by the Arts Council.  Funding for the Arts Council has been increasing steadily in recent years and it will reach €80 million in 2020.  The increase in 2020 is €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.

The Arts Council supports over 600 artists and over 650 arts organisations that are in receipt of core and programming funding on an annual basis. The Arts Council reported in their 2018 Annual Report that, it spent €62.1 million in grant aid directly to organisations and artists. Bursaries totalling €1.8 million were given to individual artists and a further €1.8million went to local authorities to support key partnership arrangements. The Annual Report which is published on its website contains details of these allocations.   I understand that this approach was maintained in 2019 and represents an investment in the work and development of artists.

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.

Film is one of the art forms that is in receipt of funding through Screen Ireland which is under the remit of my Department.  In June 2018, I launched the Government's Audiovisual Action Plan.   The Plan drew heavily on a Study prepared by international audiovisual consultants Olsberg SPI with Nordicity entitled  Economic Analysis of the Audiovisual Sector in the Republic of Ireland which was also published in June. The report measured the economic value of the Irish audiovisual industry, and proposed policy changes to support its future growth.  The report showed that the Irish audiovisual sector generated €1.05 billion in gross value added in 2016 and supported employment of 16,930 full-time equivalents of which 10,560 was direct employment.   The largest contribution to employment came from the film, TV, and animation sub-sector, which generated 11,960 full-time equivalent jobs (FTEs) of employment of which just over 7,000 was direct employment such as cast and crew.  

The audiovisual sector supports thousands of jobs of Ireland and there is significant potential for further growth in the years ahead.  I recently published the First Progress Report on Implementation of the Audiovisual Action Plan.

This Government highly values the cultural, creative and economic potential of Ireland’s audiovisual industry and the report sets out the initiatives undertaken to date to make Ireland a global hub for TV drama, film and animation. Key achievements since the plan’s launch in June 2018 include: the extension of Section 481 Film tax relief until 2024, along with changes to improve the administration of the relief; the introduction of the Regional Film Development Uplift, which offers additional tax reliefs to incentivise film production in the regions; increased funding for Screen Ireland which has increased to over €21m for 2020 and will support increased investment in feature film and TV drama. These initiatives, together with a renewed emphasis on training and skills development in the audiovisual industry will continue to contribute to the growth of jobs in the sector.

The remit of Culture Ireland, a division of my Department, is to promote and advance Irish arts worldwide thus strengthening Ireland’s cultural profile and global reputation.  Strategic priorities include providing support for the international presentation of Irish artists and arts organisations, developing new and diverse international audiences and markets for Irish arts, and linking culture into the Government’s international promotion strategy in tandem with other relevant Government Agencies. Critically, the work of Culture Ireland is focused not just on promoting Ireland but also increasing career opportunities for Irish 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 and has the potential to deliver very significant direct and indirect employment under the following investment proposals.   

- €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.

The funding increase in 2020, despite the challenging economic and political climate, is testament to the Government's commitment to the arts, culture and heritage sector.

Arts Funding

Questions (387)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

387. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent of the philanthropic support received by the arts in the past 12 months to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52458/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

Private support for the arts is an important funding source and the Government continues to support this through tax incentives and other initiatives.   The Programme for a Partnership Government contains a commitment to encourage strong, mutually beneficial links between the business community and the arts community to assist arts organisations to capitalise on sponsorship opportunities and to develop business partnerships and fundraising skills.  

The Arts Council, which is funded by my Department, operates a programme, which seeks to enhance fund-raising skills in arts organisations with a view to diversifying the sector's sources of funding.  The programme is called RAISE and is designed to assist the sector in securing philanthropic contributions to the arts in Ireland.    

In terms of other capital investment,  I recently announced a new €4.7m Capital investment scheme for arts and culture centres. This new scheme will run from 2019-2022.  Its objective is to enhance the existing stock of arts and culture centres throughout the country with a clearly defined arts and culture focus such as theatre spaces.  The funding, which is being made available as part of the Capital Investment Framework 2016-2021, is dependent on matching funding being secured by project promoters and therefore provides an opportunity for philanthropic support.

In addition, Project Ireland 2040 provides for investment of €460m in a significant number of capital projects in our National Cultural Institutions over the next 10 years and states that individual cultural institutions will be raising their own contributions (typically around 10%-15% of project costs) through philanthropic effort.

My Department does not have a breakdown of the total flows of philanthropic funding to the sector.

Inland Waterways Development

Questions (388)

Brendan Smith

Question:

388. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to extend the blueways programme in 2020; the particular schemes in this regard; the level of investment in each project; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52486/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

Waterways Ireland continue to invest in Blueways and Recreational trails for the benefit of the local community and tourists alike. During 2020 there are plans for substantial investment in Blueways with financial support from the Local Authorities and funding from the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.

Blueway and recreational trail development planned for 2020 includes:

- Ballyconnell to Bellaheady Bridge Recreational trail - 5.5km recreational trail from Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan to Bellaheady Bridge, Co. Cavan primarily along the banks of the Shannon-Erne Waterway.

- Belturbet to Lock 1 Corraquill Recreational Trail - 6km recreational trail from Belturbet, Co. Cavan to Lock 1 Corraquill, Co. Cavan

- Leitrim Village to Kilclare Blueway - 3.9km Blueway trail from Lock 16 – Lock 14 & Lock 12 – Lock 9 in Co. Leitrim

- Aghoo Bridge to Lock 4 Aghoo Recreational Trail - 360m recreational trail and bridge underpass from Aghoo Bridge to Lock 4 Aghoo, Co. Leitrim

Barrow Blueway from Lowtown to Athy

46km recreational Blueway trail

Capital funding will also be utilised to take forward further Blueway developments in 2020 including:

- Shannon Blueway Lough Allen to Hotel

- Shannon Blueway Roosky Canal Loop

- Inner Lakes Canoe Trail

- O’Briensbridge Canoe Trail

- Killaloe Blueway

These projects are currently at differing stages of concept design, environmental studies, planning and identification of suitable funding mechanisms in order to bring to fruition. They are all partnership projects between local communities, the Local Authorities and Waterways Ireland. Waterways Ireland has set aside a budget of €60,000 to take forward these projects in 2020.

Waterways Ireland are planning to continue a programme of marketing and promotional activities aimed at activating, animating and encouraging users to the existing Blueways in 2020.

Such a programme will include:

- Undertaking a “Head into the Blue” marketing campaign to promote water activity;

- Working towards a common goal with Fáilte Ireland through their Ireland’s Ancient East and Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands propositions;

- Forming and growing other Strategic Partnerships to leverage marketing impact through e.g. Local Authorities, NGBs, National Tourism and Sporting Bodies in Ireland and NI, IAAT, etc.;

- Bringing a focus on Blueways Events and Education that focus on participation in active water sports;

- Working in partnership with Fáilte Ireland, Tourism NI, Sport Ireland and Sport NI to support quality and consistency of Blueway development across the island of Ireland through independent accreditation system; and

- Developing an approach towards assessing and quantifying the return on investment for Blueway development, in terms of not only visitor numbers but also health and well-being impacts.