I welcome this Report. In the first instance, I would like to thank the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and thank you Deputy as Chairman of the Committee for your work in completing this Report and also for the wide ranging consultations you undertook over a 13 months period.
This Government recognises the importance of the Arts. This is underlined by the Government's commitment to double spending on culture, heritage and the Gaeltacht by 2025. In Budget 2019, total funding for arts and culture increased by almost €22m to €189m. This represents an increase of 13% over 2018. Project Ireland 2040 commits to a capital investment of €725m in the arts and culture between in the 10-year period to 2027.
Primary support for the Arts is delivered through the Arts Council and Arts Council funding increased in recent years and now stands at €75 million in 2019, an increase of €6.8m or 10% over 2018. Annual funding to the Arts Council has increased by over 15% in the past two years.
Responsibility for the 28 recommendations relates predominantly to my Department and to the Department of Education and Skills. In relation to the recommendations which fall within my remit, I am pleased to inform you that work is already under way in many cases.
For example in relation to recommendations on young people, Creative Youth a key element of the Creative Ireland Programme is led by my Department in partnership with the Department of Education and Skills, the Arts Council and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Creative Youth aims to enable the creative potential of every child and young person. Creative Youth increased its budget from over €2m in 2018 to over €6m in 2019 across the various partners and is implementing a range of arts, creativity and education measures both inside and outside of the school system.
In relation to the recommendations on the Irish language, my Department in partnership with TG4, Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Foras na Gaeilge and the Arts Council has commenced the development of an Integrated Arts Strategy for the Gaeltacht and the Irish Language.