NCFA shares the serious and widespread concern expressed at the recent cancellation of discussion events and removal of artworks, and at the larger implications both of this decision by Dublin City Council and the recent decision by the Charities Regulator regarding Project Arts Centre’s programming of artwork by Maser.
Restrictive legislation and subjective interpretations of that legislation are beginning to have a chilling effect on freedom of artistic expression and on artistic contributions to public debate.
As a voluntary organisation, the NCFA will actively engage with this issue but also recognises that it may not be resolved in the short term and will need to be addressed at a systematic level. This case also highlights the potential legal implications for free speech of a public body directly organising a festival or arts event rather than supporting a civil-society arts organisation to do so.
NCFA will pursue these issues with Government and colleagues across civil society to protect artistic freedom of expression and the arm’s length principle that public bodies should not control artistic programming.
More specifically, as Dublin City Council / International Festival of Literature Dublin included this event in the festival programme as published, NCFA calls on DCC to clarify what caused its change of position at this late stage.