Sorcha O’Connor: Budget boost to Arts Council and Irish film industry welcomed
The Arts Council has welcomed the 10pc Budget boost to its funding, which sees its total funding increase to €75m next year.
Budget 2019 saw the body secure a €7m jump in funding from the previous year as chair of the Arts Council Sheila Pratschke said it showed the Government understands the importance of the arts in the "life of the nation".
She thanked Culture Minister Josepha Madigan for her determination to secure the funds in Budget negotiations.
"This investment affirms the Government's commitment to place the arts and culture at the centre of Government policy and is a further endorsement of the ambitions laid out in Project Ireland 2040 and Global Ireland 2025," said Ms Pratschke.
"The figure of €75m allows the Arts Council to move forward with confidence, providing additional support to artists, enabling organisations to create work of excellence and allowing people across the country have access to high-quality arts experiences."
Overall, the Budget will see additional funding of more than €36m to the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in 2019, an increase of 12pc on 2018 allocations. This is comprised of €21m in capital expenditure, an increase of 39pc on 2018, and €15m in current expenditure.
Meanwhile, the Irish film industry has enjoyed a positive year with the success of projects like famine epic 'Black 47', which made €1.6m at the all-island box office. The continuation of the tax incentive for film, television and animation, Section 481, until 2024 was welcomed by Screen Ireland, the national development agency for the industry.
A 5pc regional uplift will also provide incentive for the production of Irish film, developing jobs and opportunity, according to Screen Ireland chair Dr Annie Doona.
Speaking after the Budget 2019 announcement, Ms Madigan said: "This increased funding is tangible evidence of the importance attached to our cultural and creative heritage under Project Ireland 2040 and clearly demonstrates this Government's commitment to increase spending in the arts and culture sector on a trajectory that will see funding doubled by 2025."
As for the Irish language, with a further €5m allocated, the Budget got a positive response from Údarás na Gaeltachta due to €1.5m extra given to create employment in 2019.