Labour Party Spokesperson on Arts, Sport and Tourism Mary Upton TD has welcomed the publication of a report commissioned by the Arts Council which has highlighted the economic value of the Arts to the economy.
Deputy Upton said: “I welcome the publication of this report carried out on behalf of the Arts Council into the economic value of the Arts. This report highlights that the arts sector is worth €782 million a year to the economy and employs 26,519 people. At a time when all Government spending is under review in the wake of the McCarthy Report and in anticipation of the Budget this report clearly sets out the importance of this sector to the economy.
“Unfortunately the Arts, together with a number of other areas such as Sport and Development Aid, is seen as an easy target. Arts funding has suffered two consecutive hits in the two budgets in the last year. With this report we can finally show that the Arts sector is a huge boost to the economy and that cutting funding to Arts organisations will lead to a reduction in spending and employment in the economy.
But a nation is more than its Gross Domestic Product or its economy; the Arts nurture the spiritual and cultural elements of society. If we turn off the tap of state support it will take years to recover. “If we want to grow our way out of this banking and housing depression then we need to continue to support those industries that are providing jobs and money in the economy.
This report could hardly have come at a better time as it shows the economic and employment case for keeping supporting and sustaining the Arts and combined with the social and cultural importance of the arts I believe the Government can no longer countenance further disproportionate cuts in this sector.”