“We feel that despite rhetoric to the contrary, this budget is sending a message to artists that Ireland doesn’t value them.”

The NCFA have given their official response following the presentation of Budget 2020 by Minister Pascal Donohue yesterday. The National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA) represents over a thousand artists, arts workers and organisations from varying disciplines across Ireland.

Put simply they stated they are “devastated for the sector.” The comments follow the announcement that the Arts Council who facilitate direct funding to artists and arts organisations would receive an additional €5 million in funding from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

However this figure is slightly misleading, with the €5 million figure comprising of €3.75 million in re-allocated funding. Meaning money that already existed within the Department’s budget has moved to The Arts Council to be administered to the same organisations.

In reality it leaves just €1.25 million in actual additional funding for the Arts Council. Coupled with the fact that departmental allocations to Culture Ireland, who support Artists to work abroad, were cut by €0.5 million, it’s a heavy blow for artists that were hoping for improved financial support.

NCFA Chair Angela Dorgan said, “They create employment, they contribute to our society, they pay their taxes. Many are working two, three part time jobs just to try and keep their heads above water. All to make Art for our fellow citizens to enjoy, for our Government to amplify what a great place Ireland is to invest in and visit. And this paltry increase is how we recognise their value? It’s a slap in the face.”

The NCFA continued to say that it “accepts that monies have been allocated to other areas of culture, including the National Cultural Institutions, festivals, events and small increases in capital funding to Screen Ireland and Galway 2020, these will likely not benefit Artists directly. The Arts Council and Culture Ireland are the only two bodies that administer funding directly to Artists, Arts Workers and the organisations that fund and support them year-round. Poor funding of these two bodies impacts directly on the Artists, who will now be forced to jump through hoops to have their work commissioned or supported piecemeal elsewhere.”

In a nutshell, direct financial support for artists and arts organisations has seen no real noticeable change. The Taoiseach’s target of doubling the spending on arts to €316.6m by 2023 looks out of reach as spending only rose from €158.3m in 2017 to €193m in 2020, the year on year increase isn’t enough.

Angela added, “It is devastating for the sector, for the thousands who work in the arts in Ireland, not to mention making it next to impossible for our young creative minds to live and work here. They’re all leaving and when they’re gone, who will write the songs and the books, who will create for the theatres, who will create the artworks? Where will the Taoiseach and all the Ministers bring their visiting dignitaries when there is no-one left here to create and make great art?”

Josepha Madigan’s will follow the budget announcement with a media briefing tomorrow.

 

Words: Staff Writer 
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