Tuesday, 6 February 1996
Dáil Éireann Debate
99. Mr. Lawlor asked the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht the way in which the Arts Council can be expected to deliver on its three year Arts Plan 1995-1997 in view of the fact that its allocation in the 1996 Estimates is some £3.4 million less than envisaged in the Plan; if he will confirm that the final allocation for 1995 was more than £3 million lower than proposed in the Arts Plan; whether he will make a commitment to at least meet the 1997 Arts Plan figure of £26.1 million; whether he accepts that the shortfall in funding will almost certainly mean that it will take the Arts Council five or six years to realise the objectives in its original plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2314/96]
Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht (Mr. M. Higgins): The arts plan launched by An Chomhairle Ealaíon in February 1995 was formally adopted by the Government in November last. The question of financing the plan however was left to bilateral discussions between myself and the Minister for Finance. Arising from these discussions and having given due consideration to the strategic objectives of the plan. I agreed with the Minister for Finance that the funding requirements  set out in the plan could be phased realistically over the five year period 1995-1999 rather than the three years as proposed. An Chomhairle has agreed to recorder its priorities over five years starting in 1995.
My success in securing a funding level of £18.4 million for An Chomhairle Ealaíon for 1996, an increase of some 13 per cent on the 1995 allocation, and of almost 86 per cent on the allocation for 1992, the year before I assumed responsibility for this area, shows the commitment of this Government to the long-term development of the arts in Ireland. The level of funding that will be made available to An Chomhairle in 1997 will be decided in the context of the budgetary situation for that year.
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