As I advised the House in my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 267 of 6 December 2017, my Department's commitment to supporting diversity and inclusion is reflected in its policies and operations and in those of the bodies under its aegis.
One of the stated aims of Culture 2025, which is my Department's national cultural policy document, is to create opportunities for increased citizen participation, especially for those currently excluded or at risk of exclusion, with a key value being the right of everyone to participate in the cultural life of the nation. This right runs throughout people’s lives, irrespective of where they come from, where they live, their religious beliefs or their economic or social backgrounds. In line with these policy objectives, my Department's Creative Ireland programme continues to promote the Traveller mentoring programme and in 2017, through Cork City Council, funded the renovation of the Traveller culture exhibition at Cork Public Museum in 2017, with the refurbishment designed by visual artist and Traveller, Leanne McDonagh.
In 2017 the Irish Film Board and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, BAI, provided €625,000 in funding for Carmel Winters' film, "Float Like a Butterfly", which is due for release this year and is set among the Traveller community. The Arts Council supports the Traveller community under the arts participation and the artist in the community schemes. Managed by Create on the Arts Council’s behalf, these schemes encourage artists to work in a culturally diverse context including among the Traveller community. The work of artists from the Traveller community has also been recognised this year with the election to Aosdána of playwright Rosaleen McDonagh and the awarding of the Arts Council’s next generation bursary award for 2017 to visual artist Leanne McDonagh.
The cultural institutions are also active in this space. In 2017 the Chester Beatty Library partnered with the National Concert Hall as part of Dublin City Council’s Dublin Culture Connects programme under which the poet Stephen James Smith is working with the Traveller women’s group at Labre Park in Ballyfermot to look at shared stories. The National Museum is planning a major exhibition with the Traveller community to be hosted in the Museum of Country Life from June 2018. The exhibition will focus on the traditions, customs and history of the Traveller community over the years.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
My Department is also represented on the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy Steering Group, which monitors the implementation and progress of the recently published the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021. I look forward to working with my Department and those bodies under its aegis in developing these important initiatives.