The Government agency with primary responsibility for promoting knowledge, appreciation and practice of the arts in Ireland is the Arts Council of Ireland, which has been allocated €77 million for its work in 2019, an increase of some €6.8 million, or 10%, from its allocation for last year. Total expenditure on arts and culture by my Department in 2019, including the Arts Council of Ireland, national cultural institutions and Screen Ireland, will be some €190 million, an increase of €23 million, or 14%, on 2018.
Through its Culture Ireland division, my Department has primary responsibility for the promotion of Irish culture abroad. In 2019 I allocated €4.6 million to Culture Ireland, an increase of €600,000, or 15%, from last year. On 7 January last I announced the appointment of five cultural ambassadors. These new positions will see high-profile figures from Ireland’s arts and culture community promoting Ireland globally as part of the Government’s Global Ireland 2025 initiative. The latter is a whole-of-Government initiative which aims to double Ireland’s footprint globally through a mix of actions in the cultural, diplomatic, business, education and tourism areas. In addition, a conference of cultural stakeholders is being held in Dublin on 24 January to discuss how best to advance Ireland’s global visibility and strengthen global relationships.
Other mechanisms by which we support culture and creativity include the Creative Ireland programme, a culture-based programme designed to promote individual, community and national well-being. Its core proposition is that participation in cultural and creative activities drives personal and collective well-being and achievement. Under the programme, my Department will commit €2 million to local authorities under pillar 2, the creative communities element, in 2019.