I note with interest the proposals received. My Department and the bodies under its aegis have taken practical steps to provide such opportunitie to children and young people.
My Department recently supported Cruinniú na nÓg which took place on the 15 June 2019. Now in its second year, this national day of creativity for children and young people included free access to over 700 events across the country such as workshops, exhibitions and performances, with a special focus on starter workshops to encourage young people to try something new. Further information is available at https://cruinniu.creativeireland.gov.ie.
Cruinniú na nÓg is part of the Creative Ireland Programme which seeks to ensure that every child in Ireland has practical access to tuition, experience and participation in music, drama, art and coding by 2022. Another element of the Programme is the Creative Youth Plan which was launched in December 2017 and includes the Creative Schools pilot project, currently underway, and which is a partnership between my Department, the Department of Education and Science, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Arts Council. Creative Schools, which will have 300 schools participating from September this year, will see each school developing a bespoke school plan to embed arts and creativity and explore new links with artists and cultural organisations, both locally and nationally. To assist this, each participating school is being awarded €2,000.
In addition, a pilot group of Education and Training Boards are developing new Creative Youth Partnerships to extend the reach of the Creative Youth plan to the non-formal sector. The ETBs in question are Laois/Offaly, Limerick/Clare and Kerry.
The Deputy should also note that the National Cultural Institutions have a general policy of free admission for children while access to all our National Parks is free. The OPW additionally provides free educational visits to heritage sites for schools provided certain conditions are met, while children under the age of 12 have free access to a huge number of OPW managed sites. Further information on access to heritage sites can be found here: http://www.heritageireland.ie