Sunday, 21 December 2008

100% CUT IN FUNDING TO IRISH WRITERS' CENTRE




The Irish Writers' Centre's funding has been cut by 100%.

I was gobsmacked when I read about this in the Irish Times yesterday; I thought I must have misread. The Irish Writers' Centre have lost ALL of their Arts COuncil funding for this year. They received €200,000 last year but will receive ZERO in this round of grant allocations. Why? What have they done to deserve this? Surely that money paid wages and basic things like the electricity and heating bills? Where is the shortfall to come from? I have worked in a Writers' Centre and I know how difficult it is to make ends meet while providing a lively programme of events for writers and all those with an interest in literature.

The Irish Writers' Centre runs impressive courses and is a national one-stop shop for information on writers and writing in Ireland. How can the Arts Council justify this type of slash in funding? It is mystifying to me, as a person who values the Writers' Centre and its work, and has enjoyed many courses and nights out there.

Literature as a whole has been awarded a measly €2.28 million (down more than 9.5%) for 2009. The Abbey Theatre alone will receive almost 4 times that amount. I just hope that the Writers' Centre does not disappear under the weight of this funding cut; that, to my mind, would be criminal.

8 comments:

Tania Hershman said...

That is shocking, absolutely awful. Who is running the Arts Council? Art-haters? Makes NO sense to me. Shame on them.

Claire said...

I have no idea what they're thinking with that cut. Very quickly losing a lot of respect for the Arts Council here...

Emerging Writer said...

I'm gobsmacked too. The decisions of the arts council seem to be shrouded in secrecy on a similar level to a masonic cult. This is our money as taxpayers and we ought to be told more about the basis of such decisions.

Mervyn said...

This seems an absolutely bizarre decision. €200,000 is what a solicitor might earn, and for the loss of that we're to be without a writers centre??

Maybe it's intended that the centre earn its money -- perhaps by raising fees for creative writing classes?

Surely the centre pays rent for the premises. With no funding it will probably shut doors immediately.

Women Rule Writer said...

I agree with you all.

In fairness to the Centre, it appears to be business as usual, but for how long?

As Emerging Writer said, it would be helpful to know the basis for the decision, but the Arts Co are hardly going to spill the beans, are they? After all, that might make them look BAD. Hee hee hee - hysterical and despairing laughter...

Mervyn - in my experience writing classes barely cover their costs. And the Centre hire TOP notch writers, like Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill and Cormac Millar, who are well respected in their genres and, as such, are paid accordingly, one supposes.

The whole issue kept me awake 2 nights ago. It's such a dissing of Irish writing as an entity. I still can't get my head around it.

BarbaraS said...

I've done a double and triple take on this, and I still can't get over it... this is a shocking decision and probably won't be the last one we hear in connection with Irish writing... dear gods!

Women Rule Writer said...

Barbara - sadly, you are quite right. I am worried about small publishers, magazines and other writers' centres. How will they have all fared? The info is not up on the council's site yet.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Loopers! (The arts council not yous lot)I could(almost) understand a cut-back but to go from 200k to Zero? That seems a crass mis-handling of funds.