16 November 2011: The arts continue to be a major employer and contributor to Irish economic output

A report on the economic impact of the arts in Ireland, launched this morning (16 November 2011) by Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, shows that the arts provide significant direct and indirect employment, with Arts Council's annual funding from the Exchequer supporting over 2,600 jobs. The employment supported generates an annual turnover of €135 million with tax revenues (in the form of PAYE/income tax, PRSI and VAT), to the Irish Exchequer of €41 million.

  • The arts sector supports 21,328 jobs and contributes €306.8 million in taxes.
  • The arts too impact on the wider creative industry* contributing €4.7 billion to the economy and supporting 79,000 jobs.

The report, entitled an Assessment of the Economic Impact of the Arts in Ireland, (PDF, 0.30 MB) is published by the Arts Council, the state agency which supports and develops the arts in Ireland. This 2011 report commissioned by the Council from Indecon International Economic Consultants, represents an update on Indecon's previous independent evaluation of the economic impact of the arts, published in 2009.  This update report, which is concerned with the impact of the arts in Ireland in 2010, indicates "that the arts continue to be a major employer and contributor to Irish economic output."

The report indicates that the turnover of the organisations supported by the Arts Council determines their ability to purchase goods and services, to employ staff and to undertake programmes of investment. These functions in turn have an impact on the wider economy. Total funding committed by the Arts Council to organisations and individuals amounted to €60.3 million in 2010.  The estimated turnover of the Arts Council funded organisations and individuals in 2010 as stated, was €135m.

The Arts Council own grant-in-aid has been reduced by €16.4 million or 20% over the four years, 2008 to 2011; there has been 400 jobs losses since the 2009 report and an associated loss of €13 million of VAT and other taxes to the Exchequer.

Speaking today at the launch of the report, Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said: "The arts are a significant economic contributor and employer in their own right as this report indicates, but they are also important building blocks for those economic policies the Government has identified as crucial for our economic recovery.  The arts underpin policies in attracting foreign direct investment, in the creation of an imaginative labour force, in establishing an innovative environment in which the creative and cultural industries can thrive and in cultural tourism. By focusing on the arts as an element of social and economic renewal, we are playing to our strengths. "

Pat Moylan, Chairman, Arts Council added: "Our artists and arts organisations continue to play their part in our national recovery. While the arts should not be evaluated solely on economic grounds, it is clear from this report that the sector is a financially important and labour intensive one. We believe that protecting this investment should be a priority of Government."

Further information

The report, an Assessment of the Economic Impact of the Arts in Ireland, (PDF, 0.30 MB) looks at the contribution of the arts in three sectors (1) the economic impact of Arts Council funding recipients (2) the economic impact of the wider arts sector and (3) the economic impact of creative industries.

The purpose of this research was to establish an evidence-based assessment of the economic impact of the arts as an input into wider economic policy.

Arts Council grant-in-aid from Government was €81.6 million in 2008 and €68.6 million in 2010. Its grant-in-aid for 2011 is €65.2 million.

*The wider creative industry includes film and video, publishing, advertising, software, radio and television, libraries, archives, museums and other arts facilities.

The 2009 Indecon Report, referenced above, is also available in the publications section of the Arts Council’s website.

Desert Rose, (oil on board) - Colin Middleton, 1975, Arts Council Virtual Gallery.
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Desert Rose, (oil on board) - Colin Middleton, 1975, Arts Council Virtual Gallery.

Recent publications
22 April 2014: Arts Council Plenary Minutes (March 2014) (PDF, 0.07 MB)
15 April 2014: Irish Arts Sector - Private Investment Report (PDF, 1.16 MB)
10 April 2014: Arts Council Prompt Payments Report January-March 2014 (PDF, 0.46 MB)