Una Mullally: Why two Gaeltacht Ministers but no minister for Dublin?
With a directly elected mayor scuppered for now, there’s a feeling no one is in charge of the city
Even at a basic financial level – which is how you have to talk to Fine Gael – why won’t the Government prioritise the capital, when Dublin is the driving force of the economy? File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times
When a rake of new junior ministers were announced last week – the second-highest ever number in the history of the State – there was a glaring omission. That Ireland does not have a dedicated department for the arts, or arts and culture (never mind heritage, a post that is now history), nor a junior minister for arts, culture, creativity or anything else involving things the Government pushes to the fore when celebrations or self-congratulation is required yet not supported adequately at other times, is ridiculous. The grumble in the arts community is growing into a roar, so fed-up artists are of having their heads patted when they win awards or inspire the nation, and then being kicked through the cat flap of Government departments in Fine Gael’s Ireland. Perhaps increased funding will pacify the arts world, but there’s nothing that annoys creative people more than being ignored or sidelined. It is a profession, after all, based on presenting one’s work in search of meaning, reflection, identity, affirmation, and if success prevails, praise. But leaving the arts aside, a la Fine Gael, the announcements showed that rural Ireland now has an embarrassment of ministries.
Heather Humphreys has responsibility for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, then the Arts, and then the Gaeltacht. Michael Creed is Minister for Agriculture. Seán Kyne has responsibility for Gaeltacht Affairs, which gives the Gaeltacht two ministries, which is very strange considering Fine Gael has consistently neglected and undermined the Irish language. Maybe if more artists lived in rural areas they’d get somewhere. Michael Ring is the Minister of State for Regional Economic Development, another echo of Humphreys’s ministry. Andrew Doyle is in charge of forestry and horticulture.