De Valera `sought British advice'


Officials in Dublin have declined to confirm or deny a report in a British newspaper that the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands received tips on getting more Government funding for the arts from her UK counterpart. The advice to Ms de Valera from Mr Chris Smith was given in a Dublin meeting this year in which the UK Minister outlined his methods of winning funding for his arts and sports budget.

Minutes of the meeting show Ms de Valera asked Mr Smith for his advice on how he secured funding from the Treasury.

The minutes of the meeting were released to the Guardian newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act.

Mr Smith said he never argued the case for arts by themselves, but instead emphasised their economic and educational return. He finally argued that the artists needed more cash to improve their management, according to the Guardian.

Mr Smith this year won a 4.3 per cent real terms increase for the arts.