The recent Arts and Culture Capital Scheme 2016 - 2018 is focused on the refurbishment and enhancement of the existing stock of arts and culture facilities throughout the country. This is the most significant investment in cultural infrastructure in a decade with funding provided to a range of facilities, including arts centres, theatres, galleries and museums, as well as artists’ studios and creative spaces. A substantial grant was allocated to the facility to which the Deputy refers.
As I have previously informed the Deputy in May, due to the very exceptional circumstances in the case, my Department was supportive of assisting with the reconstruction of this building under the above mentioned Scheme. In this regard, my Department offered to provide funding of up to €250,000 to assist with the restoration and enhancement, in principle, to Cork County Council, pending clarity on all reinstatement issues including the contribution from insurances and subject to the acceptance by the Council of the conditions attached to this funding.
However, I understand that the County Council's re-instatement proposal is significantly more ambitious than the available finance, and in this regard, there may also be other options open to the Council to close the funding gap. At present, while there has been further engagement between my Department and Cork County Council on the challenge presented by the funding gap, the matter remains under examination and the Council is continuing to explore options to restore the facility for the people of Macroom and surrounding areas.
Project Ireland 2040 has given explicit recognition to the importance of our culture, language and heritage. Investing in our Culture, Language and Heritage 2018-2027 sets out the Government’s objectives for capital investment in Ireland’s culture, language and heritage. The plan sets out significant investment on a phased basis over the next 10 years including €40m to secure existing investment in arts and culture infrastructure nationwide and ensure a regional balance. This level of investment will ensure the upkeep of regional infrastructure right across the country.
The Arts and Culture Capital Scheme is making a huge difference to many individual organisations and my Department is already seeing good outcomes and receiving positive feedback. My Department is currently giving consideration to new round of grant funding for Arts and Cultural Capital to be announced in the near future.