Aosdána motion on Israel


Madam, - I've been reading with dismay about the absurd goings on at Aosdána where Raymond Deane decided to try to bring his political agenda into the running of what is supposedly Ireland's organisation for "elite" artists.

The subsequent vitriolic debate in the national press only further highlights the belief of many professional artists including myself that Aosdána is a poor use of Arts Council resources. Aosdána is a jobs for the boys (and some girls) club.

One can only be nominated for election if friendly enough with two other members to be nominated, then one must convince the rest of the members that one is worthy enough to join them. If one does get elected it seems not only can one receive the annual tax-free cnuas but one can also use it as a platform to express one's political opinions officially through the State arts sector. Alas, I and many other worthy artists can't avail of this wonderful financial and political platform because we aren't chums with the right people.

With this farcical situation now making Ireland's "elite" artists the whipping boy of satirical journalists like Ian O'Doherty, is it not time the Arts Council considered scrapping Aosdána and instead putting in structures to provide annual funding to all worthy artists who are in genuine financial need, rather than handing out regular funding to a so-called elite, many of whom earn plenty of money as it is from commissions, teaching posts, personal appearances and political affiliations?

- Yours, etc,

DAVID FLYNN, Composer (Non-member of Aosdána), Bothúna, Spiddal, Co Galway.

Madam, - I have followed the voluminous correspondence on the subject of the Aosdána motion because I could not be present at the debate in question .

However, I do know that the motion passed was a toothless version of the original motion which I read and for which I would have voted.

The point is that a compromise motion was approved by this prudent parliament of artists.

When some of your correspondents descend to inappropriate personal attacks (Ms Mulkerns, Mr Rolfe) on Raymond Deane - whose original motion was,in fact, rejected! - it prompts me to suggest that the likes of Mr Rolfe confine their bile to attacking the assembly itself. How dare artists even discuss the Israeli regime's policies!

Myself, I would not criticise the assembly for its quite proper expression of support for the stance of some Palestinian and Israeli artists, but for the timidity of its phraseology.

- Yours, etc,

BOB QUINN, (Aosdána member), Co Galway.