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Knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing

• The treating of the Arts Council as a quango by the Government in its frantic effort to apply slash-and-cut tactics to save money is short-sighted.

Our culture -- be it Irish dancing, music, singing, literature, films or painting -- has done so much for the well-being of our society. It has given us deserved recognition throughout the world.

It is not the concrete remains of half-built housing estates that makes you proud to be Irish.

I can tell you now that there will be no tourists flocking to our shores to study the graffiti or listen to birds flying in and out through broken windows to get to their nests in these concrete jungles.

Our culture has been used to sell Ireland and attract visitors for years upon years.

Just think of the Book of Kells or the phenomenon of Riverdance that spread like wildfire around the globe, which would never have happened if it was not supported in the embryo stages by the Arts Council.

Making such drastic cuts in this area will have a devastating long-term effect that starts in the classroom and feeds into the feilte and Fleadhanna Cheoil.

You could be sitting across from a person on a train or a bus, who smiles or tries to control a laugh as they read the book that would never have seen the light of day if not for the Arts Council.

In case you may jump to conclusions, I did not receive any funding whatsoever for my book, 'Hard Times, Good Times and The Celtic Tiger'.

The organisers of the annual Guth Gafa film festival that was held in Gortahork have thrown in the towel for now in their gallant efforts to stage this educational mix of documentary films, through lack of funding.

Those who advocate the discontinuation of funding to the arts would, in my book, be the ones who understand the price of everything and the value of nothing.

J Woods
Gort an Choirce, Dun na nGall

Irish Independent