I propose to take Questions Nos. 143, 146, 151 and 152 together.
I refer the Deputy to my previous responses to Questions on these topics.
As the Deputy will recall, responsibility for the promotion of the arts at all levels throughout the country is primarily devolved to the Arts Council. The Arts Council is the principal agency through which State funding is channelled to the arts. Under the Arts Act 2003, the Arts Council is a statutorily independent body, funded by my Department and independent in its day-to-day operations, and I have no role to play in relation to its funding decisions. Funding decisions for local festivals, musical and dramatic productions, are a matter for the Arts Council and full information on those decisions is made available on its website www.artscouncil.ie.
The Programme for Government includes a commitment to expanding private support of the arts. To achieve this, my Department introduced a philanthropy scheme in 2012 and 2013, both of which have helped to encourage arts organisations to build partnerships with potential sponsors. In addition, the Arts Council introduced the RAISE programme, which is working to significantly enhance fund-raising skills in ten arts organisations with a view to reducing the sector’s dependency on funding from the taxpayer and moving it more towards the business sector.
A small capital grants scheme to encourage philanthropy has been introduced by my Department for 2014 with an overall allocation of €300,000. The maximum allocation per project will be €10,000, with up to 70% of the cost of the project to be funded by my Department and the balance of 30% to be funded from the project's own resources, or philanthropic sources, or a mixture of both. The 2014 scheme is a further indication of the ongoing work being done to support the development of a culture of philanthropy in the arts sector.
Ealaín na Gaeltachta has also put in place a seed fund aimed at developing strategic arts initiatives in the Gaeltacht. Projects that may be supported under the initiative include the development of events, exhibitions, etc, that contribute to the artistic life of the Gaeltacht. Ealaín na Gaeltachta Teo, is a joint venture between Údarás na Gaeltachta and the Arts Council, and promotes the development of the contemporary and traditional arts in the Gaeltacht. The maximum grant available under the initiative is €1,500 Details are available at www.ealain.ie/contact-us.