Thursday, 2 October 2008

Ceisteanna (221)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

220 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his views on providing financial support to the development and promotion of dance here. [33136/08]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism)

My policy on the arts is to promote and strengthen the arts in all its forms, increase access to and participation in the arts, and make the arts an integral and valued part of our national life. Responsibility for the promotion of the arts at all levels throughout the country is devolved primarily to the Arts Council, and it is the principal agency through which State funding is channelled to the arts. Under the Arts Act, 2003, the general functions of the Council include the following:

to stimulate public interest in the arts;

to promote knowledge, appreciation and practice of the arts;

to assist in improving standards in the arts.

The Arts Council is a statutorily independent body, funded by my Department and independent in its day-to-day operations, including in relation to its funding decisions. Funding for the Arts Council has increased by almost 71.2% from €47.67 million in 2002 to €81.62 million in 2008. These are significant amounts of money in any context and have transformed and increased access to the arts and allowed the Arts Council to support artists and arts organisations nationwide. The Arts Council's policy on dance is outlined in their strategy Partnership for the Arts 2006-2010.

My Department takes a direct role in relation to the provision of grant-aid for arts and culture infrastructure and has provided substantial funding for the capital development of facilities around the country in recent years. For example, my Department has provided over €66m to over 100 arts facilities through the Arts and Culture Capital Enhancement Support Scheme (ACCESS), many of which include dance facilities. ACCESS has been widely acknowledged as a significant intervention in the provision of quality cultural spaces throughout the country.

Question No. 221 answered with Question No. 216.