14 October 2008: Arts Council comments on its Budget allocation

The Government has allocated a grant of €75.7 million to the Arts Council for 2009. Commenting on the 2009 funding of the Arts Council, Maurice Foley, Deputy Chair said:  "We do appreciate the challenges facing the Government and the Minister and we understand the need to cut some public spending.  Nevertheless, we are disappointed at the 2009 allocation to the Arts Council, which will in practice leave us with nearly €9 million or about 10 % less money in overall terms than we invested in 2008.

"In these difficult times, the enrichment of our lives by the arts is more necessary than ever.  The arts are not a luxury and they have massive public support - just look at the huge attendances at the summer/autumn festivals all over the country and the sell out of the current 40 venue Gate Theatre tour.  Arts Council support is essential for all such events and for many, many more.

"The arts also make a pivotal contribution to our tourist industry and towards maintaining Ireland as a creative, knowledge-based, high-value economic hub.

"For most of the organisations we fund, our support is essential and it is well leveraged by talented artists, capable managers and enthusiastic volunteers.  Public funding of the arts increased considerably in recent years, from a low base, and it was well spent.  The inevitable cuts will jeopardise much of this investment.  The public can expect fewer festivals, fewer exhibitions, less theatre and less music.  Individual artists can expect fewer bursaries.  There are also likely to be job losses.

 "The Council will continue to do its best to maximise the value to the public and the arts community of the funds it has to invest.  However, significant grant cuts are unavoidable, conditional commitments will have to be reviewed and some organisations will need funds from other sources if they are to survive.  The Council will vigorously make the case for better funding in 2010.  However, for now we recognise that the arts are in a new funding environment and that we must all plan accordingly and face up to very difficult decisions."

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Yelemba dance troupe from the Ivory Coast - Clonmel Junction Festival.

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