NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR THE ARTS (NCFA) has welcomed the decision of Taoiseach Brian Cowen to retain a full-time ministerial position for arts in his Cabinet reshuffle, announced today. The NCFA claims it is committed to working with newly appointed Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Mary Hanafin TD, to ensure that the arts remain a vital part of Ireland’s economic and social landscape and wishes her well as she takes on her new role in Cabinet.
Sources in the Dáil had suggested earlier this month that the resignation of Minister Martin Cullen due to health reasons, could lead to the breaking up of the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism, with the three key areas of responsibility subsumed into other departments.
Speaking on behalf of NCFA, Gerry Godley said “We are relieved that the department’s portfolio has been retained in its entirety, which indicates a genuine political appreciation of the pivotal role of the arts in Ireland’s long term prospects, a point made by An Taoiseach when he stated that culture will contribute to ‘the vital task of economic renewal’. Furthermore, we’re delighted that it will be under the stewardship of as able and dedicated a parliamentarian as Mary Hanafin. Her track record in previous portfolios adds further weight to the growing consensus that the arts are an important agent of the knowledge economy, on which we are all aware our future collective well being is dependent.”
In his speech today the Taoiseach said: “The revised Programme for Government sets out the priority objectives to be pursued over the period ahead. It contains a clear agenda for change and delivery across all Departments, including those which are not affected by the re-configuration which I am announcing today. All have their role to play. In this regard, I want to refer specifically to the important role to be played by the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport not only in the vital area of tourism policy and performance, but in realising the full potential of our strong performance and reputation in the area of arts and culture, and ensuring that the creative industries play their full part in the vital task of economic renewal. The Tourism and hospitality industry employs over 200,000 people and brings in over €6 billion in revenue to this country every year. We want to significantly grow this business.”