The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, today (Tuesday) announced a funding package of over €300 million in 2018 towards the development of our cultural and creative heritage. Included in the increase is an additional €3 million for the Arts Council, a 5% increase in its annual budget bringing it to €68 million (up 20% since 2014) and an increase of €1.5 million for the Irish Film Board, a 9% increase in its annual budget bringing it to €18 million (up 29% since 2014). Both are still below their pre-recession 2007 figures.

The Minister has secured an increase in funding to her Department of €13 million, comprising €9 million in current expenditure and €4 million in capital expenditure. This includes an €8.5 million boost in funding for arts and culture to accelerate the Creative Ireland Programme, which is designed to mainstream creativity in the life of the nation. She has also secured an additional €90 million in capital funding between 2018 and 2021 to allow for multi-annual planning for the first time, to benefit our National Cultural Institutions in particular.

Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB), the national development agency for the film, television and animation industry, welcomes the budget increase of €1.5 million announced today by Irish Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD.

This is an 9% overall increase, bringing our capital budget, which is invested in film, television and animation projects, to €14,202,000 for 2018.

We very much welcome Minister Humphrey’s consistent support for developing the potential of the Irish screen industries. We look forward to being in a strong position next year to increase our support for the development and production of Irish films and animation. Last year, production activity reached the highest level on record due to the strong and consistent Government support the sector has received and we remain ambitious for the future growth of these creative industries. We look forward to continuing to work with Minister Humphrey’s on the Creative Ireland initiative to strengthen Ireland as a centre of excellence for film, television and media production.
 Dr. Annie Doona – Irish Film Board Chair

The Irish film, television and animation sector has gone from strength to strength and is a central component of Ireland’s creative economy, employing over 7000 full-time job equivalents and valued at over €.5 billion in annual turnover.

Minister Humphreys’ increased funding for the IFB comes after Irish film and animation was placed in the international spotlight at the Toronto International Film Festival last month, with an unprecedented eight titles screening in Official Selection, including Nora Twomey’s highly anticipated debut feature, The Breadwinner, which is soon to be released in Irish cinemas. At the domestic box office, the hugely successful prison-break drama, MAZE, starring Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Love/Hate) continues to soar and has been incredibly well-received by the critics. The current success of the industry is the result of years of investment in Irish creative talent, made possible by the consistent Government backing and support for the IFB and this continued support is vital to the lifeblood of Ireland’s screen industries.

The increase of the Arts Council budget is felt as insufficient.

There is huge disappointment across the arts sector today at news of the 2018 budget allocation for the arts. Our funding of €68m will allow us to meet existing commitments but will severely hamper our efforts to broaden support to artists and organisations nationwide. While this will be a very difficult year for us and those we fund, we trust that the Taoiseach and government will stand over the promise to double funding to the arts and culture sector by 2024. We will continue to work with Minister Humphreys, to advocate for this increased investment in the arts and cultural sector. We need a commitment from government that we will have a significant uplift in investment from 2019.
Sheila Pratschke, Chair of the Arts Council

This is echoed by the National Campaign for the Arts. NCFA expressed deep disappointment at the minimal increases for the sector in Budget 2018. This is despite the Government greatly raising expectations in the last year through its high-level initiative Creative Ireland whose stated aim is to raise the priority of arts, culture and creativity across Government, and the Taoiseach’s campaign pledge to double investment in the sector.

Budget allocations to key organisations are modest, in particular the Arts Council moving from €65m to €68m, an uplift of just 5% compared to last year’s increase of 8%, and equally disappointing in percentage terms compared to Culture Ireland’s increase from €3.5m to €4m (14%) and the Irish Film Board from €16.5m to €18m (9%). These figures fall far below expectations.

The contrast with Canada is striking: both the Taoiseach and the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, campaigned for office with a pledge to double arts and culture funding, but PM Trudeau actually delivered on his pledge in his first budget last year, setting out a concrete 5-year programme of increases.  The NCFA therefore calls on the Taoiseach as a matter of urgency to set out a concrete and credible path to delivering his pledge and to clarify if this commitment still exists.

The Budget 2018 decisions are completely inconsistent with the commitments, and indeed policy focus, outlined by An Taoiseach and through the prism of Creative Ireland.  We’re deeply disappointed at the funding allocations issued today and call on An Taoiseach to outline how his commitment of a 100% uplift to the Department’s funding will now be achieved over the coming years. Today’s announcements have proved underwhelming for our beleaguered sector where even the announcement of an increase in the minimum wage will have no impact as the majority of those working in the arts earn less than €10,000 per annum. We are a long way from restoring the €30 million stripped from the Arts Council funding since 2008. As we continue to sit at the bottom of the EU league for investment in the arts,  the NCFA calls on the Government to apply their own strategy to double arts funding to the EU average as a matter of urgency.
Jo Mangan, Chair – National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA)

Minister Humphreys feels that the increases are a huge boost for the sector.

It is an exciting moment for arts, culture and creativity in Ireland, from the opening of landmark exhibitions in our National Cultural Institutions to innovative community arts projects. Through Budget 2018, I am re-affirming my commitment to continued investment in the sector as the economy improves.

The Creative Ireland Programme, which I launched last year, is already yielding positive results in both rural and urban communities, with more and more people engaging with creativity than ever before. I am determined to build on this momentum in 2018 by providing funding increases to key institutions, agencies and initiatives that deliver arts, creativity and culture right across the country.

The additional funds will be used to further develop the Programme to increase citizen engagement with creativity in Ireland. I will also be working to build on our existing relationships with our various partners on the Programme.

The Arts Council, which plays a crucial role in the direct funding and development of arts in Ireland, will receive an additional €3 million to enhance its support to artists and arts organisations of all sizes throughout the country. Although an autonomous body, the Council’s work builds on all pillars of the Creative Ireland Programme, and I look forward to continued successful collaboration with them in the year ahead.

I am allocating a further €1.5 million to the Irish Film Board to build on its vital work in supporting Irish film, television drama, documentary and animation. Similarly, its work is key to the successful roll out of Pillar 4 of the Creative Ireland Programme, which is focussed on fostering Ireland’s potential as a centre of excellence in media production.

Increasing access to arts, culture and creativity is the driving force of the Creative Ireland Programme, which is why I have allocated €1 million to accelerate the Creative Children initiative under Pillar 1 of the Programme. I am pleased to say that this will be matched by a further €1 million from my colleague Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Education and Skills, bringing the budget to €2 million for 2018. The programme will be delivered in partnership with the Arts Council.

For the same reason, I will double my Department’s funding to local authorities in 2018 to support and build on the work of our local Creative Ireland Culture Teams, and have also secured additional capital funding to invest in regional arts and cultural centres. This will harness the energy of Pillar 2 of the Programme, ‘Enabling Creativity in Every Community’, which saw 750 events taking place across Ireland in 2017.  It will also help to actively support cultural participation in rural communities, which is a key commitment in the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development.

Culture Ireland will receive an extra €500,000 next year, enabling an enhanced culture programme to be presented across Great Britain in 2018. This will build on the unique cultural relationship between the two countries and expand the reach of Irish culture to new audiences. It will also build on Pillar 5 of the Creative Ireland Programme, which hinges on extending our cultural footprint globally and highlighting our culture as a unique national strength.

I will also continue to work with the Expert Advisory Committee and the All-Party Oireachtas Group on Commemorations to develop a respectful and appropriate programme of commemorations for 2018 and onwards.

The Creative Ireland Programme is the implementation vehicle for a wider, all of Government policy on culture in Ireland, and also links to the heritage, Gaeltacht and Irish language sectors, where I have also increased funding for 2018.

In addition to the 2018 funding envelope, I have secured additional capital funding of €90 million for culture, heritage and the Gaeltacht for the period between 2018 and 2021. This represents an increase of almost 50% in my Department’s capital budget over that period, and will, for the first time, allow for incremental planning on a multi-annual basis, to benefit our National Cultural Institutions and regional arts infrastructure, in particular.

Our country is bursting with creativity. Today, I am demonstrating my continued commitment to bolstering and mainstreaming that creativity through the overarching framework of the Creative Ireland Programme, together with partners at national and local level.
Minister Heather Humphreys

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