Women, white Irish and those living in Dublin overrepresented in Arts Council funding awards, research shows

New figures show people with disabilities are underrepresented and Irish Traveller or black Irish men are most likely to be classified as ineligible for funding

Women, white Irish people, and artists living in Dublin are disproportionately overrepresented in successful applicants for Arts Council grants, according to new research.

Disabled people were underrepresented, accounting for 8.4 per cent of all awards even though they make up 14 per cent of the total population.

The data is based on an analysis by the Arts Council of applications and awards made in 2022. Almost 5,000 artists applied to the council last year and 1,916 awards were made. The total value of awards during this period was €15,886,880. The average value of each award is €8,357.

The council has had a policy since 2021 of publishing its breakdown of applicants and awards on the basis of disability, ethnicity and gender.


Women accounted for 57.6 per cent of all awards in comparison with men who accounted for 36.3 per cent of awards.

The percentage of women who were successful matched the percentage of those who had applied for grants. Westmeath had three times more female applicants than male, while Kilkenny and Mayo had twice as many female applicants.

Non-binary people received 3.2 per cent of all awards and an average award of €10,342, compared with an average of €8,334 for women and €8,236 for men.

Findings show applicants with disability are the most likely to be excluded having made an ineligible application (12.5 per cent), and applicants with a disability also requested the lowest and received the lowest funding overall on average.

Maureen Kennelly, Arts Council director, said the report, now in its third year, would be “enormously helpful” in supporting work to make the arts landscape more inclusive.

“True equality, diversity and inclusion in the arts requires not only embracing the differences that make us unique but also dismantling the barriers that have historically excluded voices and perspectives,” she said.

White Irish people were slightly more likely to be successful, accounting for 79 per cent of all awards while representing 76.6 per cent of the population.

The average value of applications from white Irish applicants was €8,934, while the average value of awards was €8,356.

The highest average value of applications is from individuals who identify as Asian or Asian Irish – Other (€11,947), as is the highest average value of awards (€11,914).

The second-highest average value of applications is from Black or Black Irish – African applicants (€11,014), although their average award value was €9,799.

Unsurprisingly Dublin, Cork and Galway, which have thriving arts scenes, are disproportionally represented in both applications and awards. Applications from Dublin, which make up 28 per cent of the population, accounted for 40 per cent of the total value of applications and 42.5 per cent of the total value of awards.

Thirteen counties had a higher-than-average application and award value: Carlow, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Roscommon, Tipperary and Westmeath.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times