Boost for the arts ahead of Galway 2020
The arts and culture sector has been given a €4m funding boost for next year with extra money for Galway's 2020 Capital of Culture programme and the State's centenary commemorations of two significant War of Independence events.
Culture Minister Josepha Madigan secured a 2pc boost for the sector with overall funding rising to €193m.
Included in the Budget package published yesterday is €1m in funding to kick-start the process of transferring the National Symphony Orchestra to the remit of the National Concert Hall.
Galway's Capital of Culture programme is to receive more than €1.1m in extra capital funding as the city hosts major cultural events throughout next year which will be used "to highlight Ireland's creativity and to build bridges with European partners", Ms Madigan's department said.
The State will also mark the centenary of a number of significant events from the War of Independence as part of the Decade of Centenaries programme with an extra €900,000 allocated. Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the execution of Kevin Barry, whose death at just 18 sparked nationalist outrage, and Bloody Sunday, where 32 people were killed or fatally wounded, including 14 civilians, at Croke Park. Centenary commemorations for both events are scheduled for November 2020. An extra €250,000 has also been allocated to the amateur theatre sector. Fís Éireann - Screen Ireland - is to receive an additional funding of €1m after the Government decided to extend the section 481 film tax credit until 2024.
The tax relief on television and film productions saw three large-scale projects qualify for tax credits of between €10m and €30m last year. Last year a report from the Department of Finance put the cost of the scheme between 2015-2017 at €242.5m. Elsewhere, the Arts Council has been given a budget of more than €80m next year. The €5m funding boost includes more than €1.25m to support an increase in performing artists, arts festivals, street arts and family events and there is also continued funding for popular events like Culture Night.
The Arts Council said it was pleased with the €80m in Government funding it will receive given the difficulties that could arise from Brexit and a global economic downturn.
But its chairman, Professor Kevin Rafter, said it would look for increased funding once the Brexit crisis has been resolved. Fianna Fáil's arts spokesperson, Niamh Smyth claimed the increase in funding, was less than €2m as most of the funding increase was money that has been "reallocated" from the Department's existing budget.