Agency will promote Irish arts overseas


Culture Ireland, a new national agency to promote Irish arts overseas, was announced yesterday by the Minister for Arts, Mr O'Donoghue.

The agency will be chaired by Prof Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and includes the director of the Arts Council and senior officials from the Departments of Arts and Foreign Affairs. It will be charged with establishing a strategic plan for the international promotion of Irish art and culture.

Its role will include the allocation of grants for overseas activity to Irish artists and arts organisations, the funding and facilitation of Irish participation at international arts events and the management of emblematic events in Ireland or abroad.

It will also advise the Minister on international arts and culture and is to draft a report within a year, outlining a three-year strategic plan. It will have a budget of €2 million for its first year.

Prof Ó Súilleabháin is a composer, performer and chair of music at the University of Limerick.

The other members of Culture Ireland/Cultúr Éireann are : musician Davey Arthur; Arts Council director Ms Mary Cloake; pianist and music teacher Dearbhla Collins; assistant secretary at the Department of Arts Mr Michael Grant; deputy director of Cork 2005 Ms Mary McCarthy; businesswoman Ms Eve Molony; Irish Film Institute director Mr Mark Mulqueen; arts consultant and broadcaster Ms Doireann Ní Bhriain; assistant secretary at the Department of Foreign Affairs Mr Gearóid Ó Broin; traditional music promoter Mr John O'Shea; poet Peter Sirr; and Gaiety School of Acting director Mr Patrick Sutton.