Aosdána grants and the Arts Council


Sir, – The common view of the Aosdána cnuas is that it is a subsidy for worthy artists whose works fail to attract sufficient remuneration in the marketplace. Colm Tóibín’s view (“Colm Tóibín slates plan to cut grants for non-productive artists”, April 22nd) is that the cnuas should also be paid to worthy artists who find themselves unable to produce any artistic works, even of a non-commercial nature.

Myles na gCopaleen wrote a famous piece on the over-production of poetry and market constraints on the production of bad jam.

Imagine how he might have played with the idea of paying a stipend to jam-makers who are unable to produce even unsaleable jam.

Surely one cure for lack of artistic inspiration is to engage with life from a different angle, perhaps as employees or entrepreneurs or pensioners. Or by joining, as Patrick Kavanagh put it, the “mere men” who “are climbing out on dangerous branches of banking, insurance and shops”. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 6W.

Sir, – In his final days in hospital, Pearse Hutchinson wrote some of his finest poems, including Listening to Bach, published in an eponymous collection.

Under the proposed Arts Council policy, Pearse, one of our neglected poets, could be deemed non-productive.

How in the name of mammon could a grant recipient be productive sitting in a hospital bed listening to Bach? – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.