The National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA) today expressed its dismay at the reforms to the state’s National Cultural Institutions, announced yesterday by Minister Brendan Howlin.
As part of the Department of Public Expenditure’s programme for Rationalisation of State Agencies, Minister Howlin yesterday announced reforms which will have far reaching and ominous consequences for the future operation, independence and governance of the state’s National Cultural Institutions.
NCFA calls upon Minister Howlin to publish the relevant findings such as head count reductions and cost benefit analysis on which so much emphasis has been placed as the motivation for these reforms and that can justify what will be, in effect, a dismantling of key pillars of the state’s cultural governance framework. Despite repeated requests from a variety of sources, not a single figure on the savings to be effected by this rationalisation of the National Cultural Institutions has been made public.
NCFA National Coordinator, Louise O’Reilly, said: “The dissolution of the independent boards of the National Library and National Museum and the merging of Culture Ireland’s function into the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht raises serious questions as to this government’s commitment to the “arms length principle” which was enshrined in the National Cultural Institutions Act of 1997, created by the first Minister for the Arts of the State, Michael D. Higgins, and upholds a steadfast commitment to the principle of cultural independence in a modern democracy.”
NCFA calls upon Minister Deenihan to address the serious questions of cultural governance raised by these actions, most especially with regards to the structure of independent, sectorally representative, statutory boards and their role in driving policy and vision for our National Cultural Institutions.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR THE ARTS
The National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA) is a broad and inclusive coalition of people and organisations who value the arts, which includes members of National Cultural Institutions, major festivals, venues, producers and representative organisations in visual arts, theatre, film, dance, music, literature, architecture and collaborative arts.
The NCFA is governed by a National Steering Committee and is supported by a part-time National Co-ordinator, a number of sub-committees and a network of Constituency Co-ordinators.
Established in 2009 as a response to the McCarthy Report, The National Campaign for the Arts is a volunteer-led, grass roots movement that makes the case for the arts in Ireland. It seeks to ensure that the arts are on local and national government agendas and are recognised as a vital part of contemporary Irish life.