NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR THE ARTS “DEVASTATED” AT THE NEGATIVE IMPACT OF BUDGET 2020 FOR IRISH ARTISTS, ARTS WORKERS AND ARTS ORGANISATIONS.

NCFA Pre-Budget Submission: July 16, 2019
16th July 2019

“We feel that despite rhetoric to the contrary, this budget is sending a message to Artists that Ireland doesn’t value them.” 

“…the real additional funding figure (for the Arts Council) is €1.25 million. How much of that is likely to make its way directly to Artists, Musicians, Writers, Dancers, Poets, Theatre Makers, Arts Workers and the Arts community in general? These are people’s wages, their rent, their food, their petrol, their kids school uniforms.”

Angela Dorgan, Chair NCFA

Following the presentation of Budget 2020 by Minister Pascal Donohue yesterday, the National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA), the movement representing over a thousand Artists, Arts workers and Arts organisations across multiple disciplines in Ireland, have stated that they are “devastated for the sector.”

The comments follow the announcement that the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht would be allocating an additional €5 million in funding to the Arts Council, who administer direct funding to Artists and Arts organisations. NCFA are noting that while Minister Josepha Madigan is stating that the Arts Council will receive an additional €5 million in funding, that figure includes €3.75 million in re-allocated funding, monies that already existed within the Department’s budget and have now simply been moved to The Arts Council to be administered to the same organisations.  That leaves just €1.25 million in actual additional funding for the Arts Council. Departmental allocations to Culture Ireland, who support Artists to work abroad, were CUT by €0.5 million, decimating funding for the other body that specifically and directly funds Artists.

NCFA Chair Angela  Dorgan said: “The announcements today are devastating to Artists’ and Arts workers’  incomes and livelihoods.  We feel that despite rhetoric to the contrary, this budget is sending a message to Artists that Ireland doesn’t value them. A €5 million increase to the Arts Council is a diversion – €3.75 million of that is a reallocation of funding already accounted for, the real additional funding figure is €1.25 million. How much of that is likely to make its way directly to Artists, Musicians, Writers, Dancers, Poets, Theatre Makers, Arts Workers and the Arts community in general? These are people’s wages, their rent, their food, their petrol, their kids school uniforms. Those who work in the Arts, work in the arts. We sell Ireland as a place bursting with artists and writers, creativity and fresh thinking, but there is no art without the Artists and makers doing the work. These are the people who work all year round at their craft, who fill our theatres, our galleries, our venues. They create employment, they contribute to our society, they pay their taxes. Many are working two, three part time jobs just to try and keep their heads above water. All to make Art for our fellow citizens to enjoy, for our Government to amplify what a great place Ireland is to invest in and visit. And this paltry increase is how we recognise their value? It’s a slap in the face.”

She added: It is devastating for the sector, for the thousands who work in the arts in Ireland, not to mention making it next to impossible for our young creative minds to live and work here. They’re all leaving and when they’re gone, who will write the songs and the books, who will create for the theatres, who will create the artworks? Where will the Taoiseach and all the Ministers bring their visiting dignitaries when there is no-one left here to create and make great art?” 

The three main tenets of the NCFA pre budget submission to Government were:

– produce a roadmap for the Government’s promised doubling of funding to the arts: None has been forthcoming, leaving the Arts sector in the dark as to how the Government plan to get to this point. In 2017, total funding for the arts was €158.3m; in 2020 it will be €193m – the year-on-year increases are not large enough to meet the Taoiseach’s target of doubling the spending on arts to €316.6m by 2023.

– an increase of €13.5 million to the Arts Council to support Artists and Arts organisations: In the NCFA pre-budget submission 2020, the request was made that Arts Council funding be increased from €75 million in 2019 to €88.5 million in 2020, an increase of €13.5 million to ensure that the Taoiseach’s commitment to doubling arts funding by 2023 was kept on track. The actual increase in funding for the Arts Council for Artists in 2020 comes to €1.25 million.  

– an increase of €1.5 million to Culture Ireland to maintain and continue growing employment opportunities for Irish artists abroad: Funding for Culture Ireland was reduced from €4.6 million to €4.1 million, a 2.5% cut to the body which brings our culture to the world – a key theme of the Government’s own Global Ireland 2025 document.  

While the NCFA accepts that monies have been allocated to other areas of culture, including the National Cultural Institutions, festivals, events and small increases in capital funding to Screen Ireland and Galway 2020, these will likely not benefit Artists directly. The Arts Council and Culture Ireland are the only two bodies that administer funding directly to Artists, Arts Workers and the organisations that fund and support them year-round. Poor funding of these two bodies impacts directly on the Artists, who will now be forced to jump through hoops to have their work commissioned or supported piecemeal elsewhere.

The NCFA now await Minister Josepha Madigan’s media briefing tomorrow, Thursday, October 10th.

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