Festivals, jobs may go as arts funding slashed


ARTS:THE OVERALL arts, culture and film budget has been cut to €185 million for next year, down from €204 million this year.

Of that €185 million, €127.6 million is on current spending, €46 million on capital expenditure and €12 million on the National Gallery. The budget for other national cultural institutions is €20 million, down from €24 million this year.

The Arts Council's budget for the year is approximately €76 million, a reduction of either 8 per cent or 12 per cent, depending on which way it is calculated.

The council's funding was €82 million last year, but it was allocated an additional €3 million immediately afterwards, bringing it to €85 million. Arts Minister Martin Cullen said that of the €76 million, €74.3 million will be on day-to-day funding and grants, down from €77 million in 2008, so is a 3.75 per cent cut in expenditure. Of that, 3 per cent is to be saved internally, in payroll, administration, consultancy, etc, so the effective reduction in grants is 0.75 per cent, or about €800,000, according to the department.

The National Library of Ireland, the National Archives and the Manuscripts Commission are to be amalgamated, as are the National Gallery of Ireland, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Crawford Gallery.

The department indicated this would involve amalgamating the boards, directorate, governance, HR, infrastructure and management. Culture Ireland will remain part of the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism, with its own board of directors, and its funding remains at €4.7 million.

A large saving comes from large one-off projects completed this year, such as the Gate Theatre, the Opera House in Wexford, the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield, Carlow Arts Centre and the Everyman Theatre.

Maurice Foley, deputy chairman of the Arts Council, said the council was disappointed at the allocation, "which will in practice leave us with nearly €9 million or about 10 per cent less money in overall terms than we invested in 2008. The public can expect fewer festivals, fewer exhibitions, less theatre and less music. Individual artists can expect fewer bursaries. There are also likely to be job losses." He added: "Significant grant cuts are unavoidable, conditional commitments will have to be reviewed and some organisations will need funds from other sources if they are to survive."