I am aware of the issues referred to in the question and I am determined to deliver additional supports to the arts and culture sector in line with Government commitments.
Primary support for the Arts is delivered through the Arts Council. Funding for the Arts Council has increased in recent years and now stands at €75 million in 2019, and increase of some €6.8m or 10% over 2018. The Creative Ireland Programme is also delivering additional resources to the sector, for example, through the Creative Youth Programme and the Culture and Creativity Strategies delivered by local authorities.
The Arts Council, which is independent in its funding decisions under the Arts Act 2003, operates within a published 10 year strategic framework entitled Making Great Art Work. This strategy prioritises support for artists throughout their careers, by the involvement of many agencies in cultural provision, by the impact of the arts on the creative economy, and by the depth and breadth of people's engagement with the arts.
For example the Arts Council now include as an assessment criterion, an organisation’s policy on the remuneration of artists in an effort to ensure that organisations in receipt of Arts Council funding should offer fair and equitable remuneration to artists.
With regard to legal protections for workers across the arts sector, it is important to note that employees in every industry and sector are entitled to all existing legal protections.
As members will be aware legislation was introduced by my colleague, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection. The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018 should improve the insecurity and unpredictability of working hours for employees on insecure contracts and those working variable hours. Employment law in general should also have a role to play in terms of existing legal protections. There are also institutions for reporting abuse of employment legislation. I am satisfied that the industry works in general to a high standard.