I am pleased to inform the Deputy that I secured significant increases in the operational budgets of the National Cultural Institutions (NCIs) for 2021. The NCIs encompass many of Dublin's iconic cultural venues including the National Gallery, the Irish Museum of Modern Art at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, the National Library, the National Museum, Collins Barracks, the Natural History Museum, the Chester Beatty Library, the National Archives and the National Concert Hall. Funding for the NCIs increased from €48.9m in 2020 to €60.2m in 2021; an increase of 23% in a single year.
In addition, there is a €460m investment programme for our NCIs to modernise these centuries old buildings so that they can provide a modern state of the art home for our national collections. Despite the pandemic, construction work continued when possible during 2020 and progress continues to be made on the appraisal and planning phases of this programme of investment.
In response to COVID-19, my Department opened a further stream (Stream D) of funding specifically for capital adaptations or equipment necessary to assist arts and culture organisations in re-opening. Under this stream capital funding is provided to assist in the re-opening of theatres, arts centres and culture venues as part of Project Ireland 2040. Capital grants of up to €10,000 have been provided to arts and culture facilities including venues in Dublin (and elsewhere) to allow them to re-open safely. Since the scheme opened last July, 77 capital grants have been made and €382,000 drawn down by the grantees.
Primary support for the arts, including a number of cultural venues particularly theatres, is delivered by the Arts Council. In 2021, the Government allocated €130m to the Arts Council which is an increase of 62% over the amount initially allocated for 2020. The Arts Council, which is independent in its funding decisions under the Arts Act 2003 and provides support to venues. The Council have in place a number of new and enhanced funding programmes which have been introduced in response to COVID-19 and includes an Emergency Stabilisation Fund to provide once-off financial support to Strategic Funded and Arts Centre Funded organisations that are in need of emergency grant aid.
In addition, my Department funded a range of performances at venues nationwide under the pilot Live Performance Support Scheme. These included performances in Dublin venues such as the Olympia Theatre and Whelan's on Wexford Street.
Finally, in line with a commitment in the Programme for Government, I established a Night-time Economy Taskforce last July which is affording an opportunity for relevant stakeholders from across the night-time culture sector to develop an innovative approach to supporting and developing a vibrant, diverse, and sustainable night-time economy across Ireland, including our capital city.