'Huge Disappointment' at Arts Council Allocation in Budget 2018

Heather Humphreys and Leo Varadkar

'Huge Disappointment' at Arts Council Allocation in Budget 2018

Additional €3m short of expectations following Taoiseach's promises in May.

The Government has announced a 5% increase in funding for the Arts Council for 2018.

This amounts to €3m, bringing the total for next year to €68.1m, a smaller increase than the 8% (€5m) allocated last year.

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys also announced:

  • a 14% increase for Culture Ireland, from €3.5 million to €4 million; 
  • €2m to the Creative Children initiative (part of the Creative Ireland plan) which includes €1 million from the Department of Education and Skills; 
  • a doubling of funding to local authorities to support their Creative Ireland Culture Teams – new local arts plans were published in May;
  • additional funding of €1.7 million for the National Cultural Institutions (which includes the National Concert Hall);
  • additional capital funding of €90 million for culture, heritage and the Gaeltacht between 2018 and 2021; and
  • an increase of 9% for the Irish Film Board, from €16.5m to €18 million.

The increase for the Arts Council means funding is almost at the level it was in 2010. Recent figures can be seen below:

2007: €83m
2008: €81.6m
2009: €73.4m
2010: €68.7m
2011: €65.2m
2012: €63.2m
2013: €59.9m
2014: €56.7m
2015: €56.9m
2016: €60.1m 
2017: €65.1 
2018: €68.1 

In May, Leo Varadkar promised that he would double arts funding by 2024, which for the Arts Council would mean an additional €10.85m every year. Commenting on the Budget, Sheila Pratschke, Chair of the Arts Council, said: 

There is huge disappointment across the arts sector today at news of the 2018 budget allocation for the arts. Our funding of €68m will allow us to meet existing commitments but will severely hamper our efforts to broaden support to artists and organisations nationwide. While this will be a very difficult year for us and those we fund, we trust that the Taoiseach and government will stand over the promise to double funding to the arts and culture sector by 2024. We will continue to work with Minister Humphreys, to advocate for this increased investment in the arts and cultural sector. We need a commitment from government that we will have a significant uplift in investment from 2019.

The National Campaign for the Arts, a voluntary arts body, similarly expressed ‘deep disappointment at the minimal increases for the sector’.

In December 2016, the Government announced the Creative Ireland programme which promised that a national plan to provide every child with ‘access to tuition and participation in art, music, drama and coding’ would be in place by the end of 2017. Varadkar also stated in May 2017 that he would develop ‘a national network of instrument banks’ if he became Taoiseach.

For further details on the Government’s announcement, visit https://goo.gl/pmWRmv 

Published on 11 October 2017

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