Written Answers - Arts Promotion.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 640 No. 3

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  27.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism  Information on Seamus Brennan  Zoom on Seamus Brennan   his preferred options for the promotion of the arts in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25763/07]

  106.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism  Information on Seamus Brennan  Zoom on Seamus Brennan   his preferred options for the promotion of the arts at community level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25915/07]

  107.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism  Information on Seamus Brennan  Zoom on Seamus Brennan   if he will adopt proposals to encourage participation in the arts at local level. [25916/07]

Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism (Deputy Séamus Brennan): Information on Seamus Brennan  Zoom on Seamus Brennan  I propose to take Questions Nos. 27, 106 and 107 together.

Government Policy on the Arts is set out in the Programme for Government and will be elaborated further in my Department’s Statement of Strategy. My policy on the arts is to promote and strengthen the arts in all its forms, increase access [949]to and participation in the arts, and make the arts an integral and valued part of our national life.

Responsibility for the promotion of the arts at all levels throughout the country is primarily devolved to the Arts Council. The Arts Council is the principal agency through which State funding is channelled to the arts. Under the Arts Act, 2003, the general functions of the Council include the following:

to stimulate public interest in the arts;

to promote knowledge, appreciation and practice of the arts;

to assist in improving standards in the arts.

The Arts Council is a statutorily independent body, funded by my Department and independent in its day-to-day operations, including in relation to its funding decisions. Funding for the Arts Council has increased by almost 68% from €47.67 million in 2002 to €80 million in 2007. These are significant amounts of money in any context and have transformed and increased access to the arts and allowed the Arts Council to support artists and arts organisations nationwide. The Government’s commitment to the arts is evidenced by these large increases in funding to the Arts Council.

My Department has taken a direct role in relation to the provision of grant-aid for arts and culture infrastructure and has provided substantial funding for the capital development of facilities around the country in recent years. For example, my Department has provided over €43m to 40 arts facilities through the Arts and Culture Capital Enhancement Support Scheme (ACCESS). Furthermore On 24th April last, funding of €32 million was offered to the promoters of 67 projects nationwide under the Arts and Culture Capital Enhancement Support Scheme II (ACCESS II 2007-2009).

The ACCESS scheme is designed to assist in the provision of high standard arts and culture infrastructure, thereby enhancing access to the arts throughout the country. ACCESS has been widely acknowledged as a significant intervention in the provision of high quality arts and culture infrastructure around the country.


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