Tuesday 6 December 2016

Emer O'Kelly: Artists are now starved of any affection

Grants are focused on how works will play to the masses, leaving many of our talents penniless, writes Emer O'Kelly

Emer O'Kelly

Published 25/12/2011 | 05:00

NOT too many people in Ireland have heard of the Ciste Colmcille. It is a tiny, seldom-used fund available within the Arts Council to assist artists in dire need.

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There has only been one application for its benefits in the past two years. I know of only three artists who have ever received funds from it -- in two cases because I know the artists in question, and in the third because, as a member of the Arts Council, it was my unpleasant, embarrassing duty to sit on the tiny sub-committee of three to adjudicate on the degree of urgency and need in a particular claim.

All three cases involved people who are household names to anyone who has ever read a book or seen a play or film. It was horrible to have to interrogate the paperwork supplied by a revered figure in need of urgent major surgery.

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