I propose to take Questions Nos. 389 and 408 together.
The Programme for a Partnership Government contains a very important commitment to work to progressively increase funding to the arts, including the Arts Council and the Irish Film Board, as the economy continues to improve.
In Budget 2017 I secured significant additional funding for the Arts Council and the Irish Film Board. The increase in the Arts Council's allocation in 2017 is €5 million, or 8%, and will assist the Council greatly in implementing its 10-year strategy Making Great Art Work (2016-2025). I also secured an increase of €2 million for the Irish Film Board, representing a 14% increase in its annual budget.
Budget 2017 also includes:-.
- increased funding for all of the National Cultural Institutions;
- an increase of €1 million for Culture Ireland;
- an additional €1 million to the Heritage Council; and
- funding of €5m for the implementation of a Legacy Programme now known as the Creative Ireland Programme and the main implementation vehicle for the priorities identified in the draft framework policy Culture 2025/Éíre Ildánach which I published in July last year.
I also recently announced details of more than €9 million in capital funding for existing dedicated arts and culture centres across the country. The Arts and Culture Capital Scheme is the most significant investment in arts and cultural centres in a decade and will target investment at a range of different facilities, including arts centres, theatres, galleries and museums, as well as artists’ studios and creative spaces. This kind of investment is at the centre of what I am trying to achieve through Creative Ireland Programme and the Action Plan for Rural Development.
All of this represents real and substantial funding increases across the arts and cultural area and has been welcomed across the sector. It re-affirms the commitment of this Government to progressively increase funding for the arts as the economy improves, as set out in the Programme for a Partnership Government.