Extra €2m secured for National Library and National Museum
National cultural institutions receive funding following warnings of reduced services
An extra €2 million has been secured to fund national cultural institutions including the National Museum of Ireland and the National Library of Ireland. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times
The money was announced by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD following warnings by the institutions that they may have to shut down services or charge admissions fees if their budget allocation was not increased.
The minister said she was “delighted” to have received the money from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin in the revised estimates.
Many cultural and arts organisations expressed disappointment when the budget allocation for the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht was not increased in the 2015 budget, save for a €4 million allocation towards the Easter Rising commemorations.
Last month the National Museum of Ireland warned that it faced “difficult options” which might mean the introduction of entry charges for the public or the closure of some facilities from January.
The National Museum complained that it had seen a 35 per cent increase in visitor numbers since 2008, but its funding had been drastically reduced in the same timeframe.
The NMI, which has four constituent museums - the Natural History museum on Dublin’s Merrion Street, the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology on Kildare Street, the Decorative Arts and History museum in Collins Barracks and the Country Life museum in Co Mayo, said it needed an increase in funding of €650,000 in 2015 in order to maintain services at existing minimal levels.
Similar complaints were made by the National Library of Ireland (NLI). Its board warned that it would have to reduce services and not be able to play a full part in the Decade of Commemorations.
It has warned the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht that it faced “very unpalatable and unavoidable decisions with regard to service provision in 2015”.
The National Library stated that it needed an extra €1 million a year to maintain existing services.
The money has not yet been allocated but Ms Humphreys singled out both the National Museum and the National Library as two institutions which will receive help in “addressing their funding challenges. The additional funding secured will be used to deal with a number of issues across the cultural institutions.
She added: “Our national cultural institutions are an essential component of our cultural fabric. Through their collections and exhibitions they make a huge contribution to our society. I am committed to prioritising and promoting the arts as our economy continues to improve.”