What are Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney Planning for the Arts and Music?
Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney, the two candidates for the leadership of Fine Gael, and therefore the role of Taoiseach, have now both published documents on their political vision.
The Journal of Music took a look to see what they are saying about music and the arts.
Varadkar: Double the arts budget
Leo Varadkar’s document has the most concrete statements, promising to double the budget for the arts over the next seven years. In the context of the Arts Council, that would bring its funding to €130.2m by 2024.
Varadkar also reaffirms a Government commitment to the delivery of the key aims in the Creative Ireland programme, in particular prioritising ‘increased funding for enhanced arts in education provision’. This was announced by the Government last December.
Specifically with regard to music, he states that ‘we will develop a national network of instrument banks.’ This was in Fine Gael’s election manifesto in February 2016, and included in our article ‘Which Political Party Should Get the Music Vote?’.
Coveney: A national vision for the arts
Coveney’s plans regarding the arts and culture are more in the context of a national planning strategy and creating strong communities. Under the heading of ‘Bringing People and Communities Together’, he states that ‘the arts and education sectors… have a vital role to play in building shared values and ambitions’ and that all new developments around the country will take into account a ‘critical list of requirements’, which includes arts and culture.
Coveney was widely praised in the arts for his speech regarding the arts at the recent Places Matter conference, organised by the Arts Council.
The leadership election takes place on 2 June. For both documents, see below.