Basic income scheme for artists, art workers to be piloted in 2022

Budget 2022: Arts Council funding remains at €130m

A basic income guarantee scheme for artists and arts workers is to be piloted next year, Minister for Culture and Arts Catherine Martin has indicated, with an initial budget of €25 million.

The proposed development for the arts sector, one of those hardest hit by Covid-19 restrictions, was welcomed by the grassroots organisation National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA).

It said the proposed scheme was “something we have long fought for”, with campaign member Cian O’Brien saying he was keen to learn the details, particularly how many people would be included in the pilot, how they would be chosen and the amount of income guaranteed.

The pilot will initially run for three years and the NCFA said “the devil will be in the detail”, which is to be announced on Wednesday.


“We’re feeling very positive. It’s a red letter day for artists and arts workers,” Mr O’Brien said.

The budget for the Arts Council, the Government agency tasked with developing the arts, is to remain at €130 million next year. Its allocation was increased in Budget 2021 in response to the impact of the pandemic on the sector.

“We aspire to a country where everyone has the opportunity to create, engage with, participate in and enjoy the arts, regardless of who they are or where they live and work. Today’s historic budget announcement moves us ever closer to that vision,” the council’s director Maureen Kennelly said on Twitter.

Ms Martin also signalled that €25 million would be allocated for the live entertainment sector.

Creative Ireland

Details are expected on Wednesday on investment in Culture Ireland, which promotes and supports Irish arts abroad, and on the continuation of Creative Ireland, a five-year culture and wellbeing programme within Ms Martin’s department.

The Minister said: “Sectors in my brief have been among the hardest hit during the pandemic but today we look towards a strong and sustainable recovery.”

Among other broad announcements, with further details to come, Ms Martin mentioned €5.5 million in finding for a new media commission, €4.2 million for Irish language programming on TG4, and more than €84 million for the Gaeltacht and the Irish language.

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey

Deirdre Falvey is a features and arts writer at The Irish Times