The National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA) has issued a call on Minister Heather Humphreys to adopt a new all-party approach to national cultural policy. The NCFA urges the Minister to submit the long-awaited national cultural policy, Culture 2025, to the Joint Committee for Arts, where it can be discussed and finalised on an all-party basis. The policy can then be adopted by plenary vote in the Dáil.
The NCFA is seeking the Minister’s commitment to this inclusive, democratic approach on the same basis as the recent proposal by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, that a ten-year national health policy should be developed on an all-party basis by Oireachtas Committee.
A ten-year cultural policy which is genuinely national and which extends to the terms of future Governments, clearly needs to be discussed and agreed by all political parties, reflecting the democratic views of the Dáil as a whole. A transformative national cultural policy must have high ambitions, concrete targets, and the budgetary resources to make it reality.
The groundswell of support in recent days suggests that a majority exists in the 32nd Dáil for such an approach. The NCFA looks forward to working with Minister Humphreys, the Government, and with all parties in the Dáil to construct such a majority to agree, resource and implement a national cultural policy for the next decade that is fit for purpose and worthy of the aspirations of the nation, its founders and its citizens.
Ireland remains at the bottom of the European League for Government Investment in Culture and the Arts. Council of Europe data shows that in 2012 Ireland spent just 0.11% of GDP on the Arts and Culture, compared to a European average of 0.6% of GDP.
An estimated 21,500 people are employed in the Irish Arts and Culture sector. For every €1 invested by the Arts Council, more than €0.70 returns directly to the exchequer in taxes. For a net cost of €0.30, Arts Council investment generates €2.50 in turnover, more than an 8-fold return on investment.*
Artists work in all areas of society, including the health sector, community development and education. This is possible with the support of organisations such as Create (the national development agency for collaborative arts), Local Authorities, the HSE and the Arts Council.
Established in 2009 as a response to the McCarthy Report, The National Campaign for the Arts is a nationwide, volunteer-led, grass roots movement that makes the case for the Arts in Ireland. The NCFA’s pre-election manifesto included calls on the government to:
- Commit to increasing annual investment in Arts and Culture to 0.3% of GDP, taking us half way to the European average
- Publish the cultural policy document Culture 2025 in draft form for interrogation by the Oireachtas Arts Committee.
- Maintain on an annual basis, the €50 million allocated to the Department of Arts for 2016 commemorations, and ring-fence it for The Arts Council and The Irish Film Board.
- Implement tax efficiencies/strategies to stimulate corporate and philanthropic giving
- Create a new Arts fund from National Lottery funds.
- Appoint an expert panel of Artists/Cultural Managers to function as Policy and Strategy Advisors to the Minister and the Department.
NCFA is currently backing an online petition for the formation of a separate Department of the Arts. The petition has gained over 12,000 signatures to date, and has been supported by high-profile members of the arts community, including Oscar-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson.
For further information, visit www.ncfa.ie.
* = Assessment of the Economic Impact of the Arts in Ireland 2011, prepared by Indecon International Economic Consultants