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 the previous year. This compares with a 5% increase in overall voted public expenditure in 2019.
Primary support for the arts is delivered through the Arts Council, whose funding has increased in recent years and now stands at €75 million in 2019, an increase of €6.8 million, or 10%, over 2018. The Arts Council, which is independent in its funding decisions under the Arts Act 2003, operates within a published ten-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. For example, 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.
My Department supports a broad range of programmes and initiatives across its remit to promote Ireland’s image, including, in particular, the Creative Ireland programme and Culture Ireland. The remit of Culture Ireland, which is 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.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House.
The cumulative impact of these funding increases is further testament to the commitment to double Government spending in the arts, culture and heritage sector. My Department and I will continue to work rigorously with all of my Government colleagues towards delivering on the commitment to increase Government spending in the arts and culture sector on a trajectory that will see funding doubled by 2025. In this context, I am already delivering additional supports to the arts and culture sector, building on the €1.2 billion earmarked for culture, heritage and the Irish language under Project Ireland 2040, thus leading to increased activity and employment across all sectors under the remit of my Department.