Sunday 11 December 2016

Humphreys to meet director over 'shameful' arts funding

Published 20/05/2016 | 02:30

Critical: Irish film director Lenny Abrahamson. Photo: David Conachy
Critical: Irish film director Lenny Abrahamson. Photo: David Conachy
Heather Humphreys. Photo:Kyran O’Brien.

Heather Humphreys has said she looks forward to meeting Oscar-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson who has criticised the lack of a dedicated Arts minister.

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The 'Room' director hit out at Taoiseach Enda Kenny for the decision not to have a specific arts portfolio.

He took to social media while Mr Kenny was in the United States promoting Irish culture as part of the 1916 commemorations, claiming it was "a photo op" and arguing that support for the arts is "shamefully low".

Ms Humphreys, who is the Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht, later contacted Mr Abrahamson to assure him she values the arts and the film sector.

She said she would be making the case at Cabinet for extra funding.

Mr Abrahamson responded to suggest they meet when he's home from the United States in July.

Last night, Ms Humphreys told the Irish Independent: "I certainly look forward to sitting down with Lenny."

She noted that his films had been part-funded by the Irish Film Board and said he is a "great example of what is possible when artists and film makers are supported over a period of time".

She said the Programme for Government contained a commitment to increase funding for the arts.

Her remarks come after Mr Abrahamson expanded on his criticism on RTÉ Radio.

He said that "the arts get pushed to the back of the queue" amid competition for resources at Cabinet.

The sector needs a "couple of very hard decades of consistent investment", he added.

Irish Independent

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