Saturday, 18 April 2009
ARTS MINISTER ON BUDGET CUTS TO THE ARTS
Here are the official comments on the Supplementary Budget, April 2009, by Martin Cullen TD, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism.
Minister Cullen said: “The Arts, Sport and Tourism sectors are important drivers within the economy - both as contributors to economic growth and to employment levels. One fifth of the working force in our country earn their living from tourism/hospitality, arts and sports. Between them they generate almost six and half billion euro in foreign currency earnings per year.”
With particular reference to Arts and Culture the statement said:
Expenditure in relation to the Arts, Culture and Film sector has reduced by €41m from €221m in 2008 to €180m in 2009, a reduction of 18.5%. Within this, the reduction in relation to current expenditure has been 6% while the reduction in relation to capital expenditure has been 42%, owing primarily to the completion of once off major capital projects such as the Wexford Festival Opera House and the Gate Theatre extension.
The Minister said: “The bulk of the cuts in this sector have been concentrated into capital expenditure to protect day to day expenditure and ensure venues remain open, job losses are minimised and the contribution to cultural tourism enhanced." Pre 2009 commitments in respect of local arts and culture (capital) infrastructure will be honoured. Current funding to the Arts Council, the state agency which develops and supports the arts in Ireland will be confirmed on the publication of the Revised Estimates.
OK. 'Cultural Tourism' is all very well but day-to-day, your average living, breathing, working individual artist is not that concerned with Cultural Tourism. She is concerned with having the time and space to practice her art and with, somehow, earning a living from it. Swinging cuts in the Arts Sector are not good for that individual artist.
I think the Arts needs a department of its own and should not be lumped in with Tourism, which has much more commercial concerns. Or with Sport, which gets ENORMOUS corporate sponsorship and media coverage.