Night-time economy fund of €6m and €130m for the Arts Council unveiled

Budget 2023: Council welcomes funding which will enable it to ‘continue and deepen its investment in the arts’

A €6 million night-time economy fund and €130 million for the Arts Council were among the announcements made for the arts sector in Budget 2023.

The cost of applying for a Special Exemption Order, which late-night venues require in order to open, has been halved from €110 to €55.

Minister for Tourism Culture Catherine Martin she wanted sectors under her department to “continue to recover and grow. [The] funding I have secured will help maintain and develop capacity in tourism and ensure that our arts, artists, our audiovisual industry and national cultural institutions are sustained.”

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The Minister said €7.5 million was also secured to establish Coimisiún na Meán for online safety and media regulation.

Ms Martin said the €6 million night-time economy fund was for driving footfall into towns, supporting performances, soundproofing grants to support venues as well as eight night-time advisers who will “lead reforms nationwide”.

The Arts Council said it welcomed the funding, which would enable it to “continue and deepen its investment in the arts”. Council chairman Kevin Rafter said the money would allow it to continue helping the arts sector recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and to deal with the significant cost-of-living increases.

“The council will continue to make the case — as it has done over the last two years — for an annual budget of €150 million to further develop the arts sector across the country,” he said.

The Licensed Vintners Association said the announcements would be a “boost” for pubs and the night-time economy, with energy grants and cuts on the cost of late-night trading benefitting the sector.

On media funding, Ms Martin said €15 million would be made available for public service broadcasting, which will “address the Future of Media Commission recommendation to provide interim funding to RTÉ”.

A new media grant fund worth €6 million aimed at “supporting local democracy and court reporting” was also announced as well as €7.3 million for TG4.

Ms Martin said the different strands of funding from her department would provide “increased support for the Gaeltacht and Irish language sector and will continue to support the sports sector and sustain Irish sporting life while providing brand new supports for our broadcasting and media sector.

“Some new funds will drive reform and open exciting avenues for sectors. They may define new terrain for the next generation, particularly in media and the arts.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times