Arts sector ‘decimated’ by 7% reduction in overall funding
Budget for Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht drops to €246 million
Multicultural Irish dancing troupe from the Bronx, New York preparing to perform at Áras an Uachtaráin. Culture Ireland, the agency responsible for promoting Irish arts abroad has had its budget cut by 20 per cent to €2.5 million. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh
The Arts Council, Culture Ireland and the National Concert Hall have taken significant cuts in this year’s budget as the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht struggles to deal with a 7 per cent reduction in funding.
The department’s budget has dropped to €246 million. Arts, culture and film will get €123 million, of which €56 million will go to the Arts Council, down 7 per cent from €59.9 million last year. This is the sixth successive year of cuts at the Arts Council whose budget has been reduced by more than one-third since 2008.
“We are constantly allowing our politicians to talk about the value of culture, and everyone who visits here is given the line that culture is central to who we are,” says Jo Mangan, artistic director of The Performance Corporation theatre group. “Yet the Arts Council, the vehicle that can provide access to audiences and ensure artists are not working for nothing, is constantly being decimated.”
The Irish Film Board will get €14 million – down from €14.3 million – and changes have been made to the taxation regime to make Ireland a more attractive location for film productions.
The National Concert Hall is one of the hardest hit – its budget has been cut by 8.5 per cent to €2.3 million.
Perhaps the worst casualty is Culture Ireland, the agency responsible for promoting Irish arts abroad. Its budget has been cut by 20 per cent to €2.5 million despite repeated statements by the Government on promoting Ireland’s image abroad.
Some €17 million in extra funding has been allocated from the sale of the Lotto licence. From this, Limerick will get €6 million for its National City of Culture programme. Projects commemorating the Decade of Centenaries 1912-1922 will also get €6 million, to include works at the GPO. Some €5 million is to be spent on protected building renovation.
The National Gallery’s annual funding is €7.2 million, down from €7.6 million last year, and an extra €10 million has been earmarked for the redevelopment of its historic wings from 2014 to 2016.
The National Campaign for the Arts said it was “appalled by this substantial, shortsighted cut to the arts, which will further undermine the cultural life of all our citizens”.