Today Leo Varadkar and Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan announced additional funding of €25 million for Arts and Culture in 2020. €20 million of this money will go towards the Arts Council and is in addition to money already allocated bringing the new total for the year to €100 million.
The package will consist of bursaries for artists and various arts organisations as well as money towards resources for key cultural institutions such as museums as they get ready to reopen.
Today myself & @LeoVaradkar announced €25m investment in Arts & Culture 2020
✅€20m will be allocated to the @artscouncil_ie bringing its allocation this year to €100m
— ⚖️Josepha ⚡️STAY LOCAL⚡️Madigan (@josephamadigan) June 16, 2020
€5 million will be used to ensure the future of key cultural institutions and the production of online content and performances.
At the press conference Leo Varadkar said, “The pandemic hasn’t been easy for our artists and cultural institutions, and I know their livelihoods have been hit hard. So many events have been cancelled, so many places have been forced to close. The Government wants to recognise how important culture is to our lives and it wants to match its words with actions.”
The National Campaign for the Arts welcomed the response on Twitter today, acknowledging that the government has met their request for an additional €20 million
It is worth noting that whilst meeting the demands, when looked at through a wider lens €25 million is small amount when compared to countries that put their money where their mouth is when talking arts and culture.
Germany for example have committed €20 million for private radio broadcasters alone post-COVID-19. Although that is part of a post-pandemic stimulus package and Germany has around 20 times the population of Ireland, it’s also worth noting Germany spends €10 billion a year on culture – compared to Ireland’s latest budget of only €354 million.
The arts and culture are essential for education and entertainment, especially in these unprecedented times and although financial support is welcome we are still yet to see the government provide the support the sector deserves.