Campaign welcomes engagement, but wants solid commitments
Taoiseach must back up words with investment in arts
Retaining €50million is first step to sustainable investment
Irish Oscar Nominee Ed Guiney backs NCFA campaign
The National Campaign for the Arts held a constructive 90-minute meeting with Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys today. We welcome the fact that the Minister took time to listen to our concerns regarding the need for greater investment, policy reform and a strong long-term vision for the arts. We believe it is important that this dialogue continue.
However, we received no solid commitment from Government to address the serious issues facing the sector. The Minister was not able to guarantee that her department would retain the additional €50 million that went into the Department for the 2016 Commemorations. This additional funding must be retained annually, if the government is serious about the arts. This is just the first step towards insuring that Ireland grows a sustainable Cultural sector.
The Taoiseach’s visit to US highlights the huge gap between the lip service paid to the arts, and the reality that Ireland is bottom of the European league table for investment in arts and culture. Launching the Ireland 100 arts festival in Washington, Mr Kenny quoted JFK: “I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our civilization than full recognition of the artist”. The Taoiseach added: “When it comes to Ireland, I agree”. If he does agree, he must back his words up with actions, commitments and investment.
Ireland’s funding for the Arts places us at the bottom of the European league table. Council of Europe data shows that in 2012 Ireland spent just 0.11% of GDP on the Arts and Culture, compared to a European average of 0.6% of GDP. Such facts, add to the irony of the government jumping on the band wagon whenever Irish artists win at the Oscars or the Oliviers. The National Campaign for the Artsis calling for the contribution of Irish arts to be recognised in real terms, with real investment.
Oscar Nominated Film Producer Ed Guiney of Element Pictures (Room, The Lobster) was part of the NCFA delegation at this morning’s meeting. Afterwards he said “Saudi has oil, we have creative talent. For generations we have been punching so far above our weight when it comes to our success in the arts internationally. So it’s now time to mine our greatest natural resource and to seriously engage and fund the arts in order to grow the sector into the world beater we know it can become; a true source of national pride to propel our country and its growth into the future.”
Chairperson of the National Campaign for the Arts Jo Mangan said: “As an initial target we should aim to increase arts funding to half the European average. We think that is a modest proposal by anyone’s standards.”
ABOUT THE NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR THE ARTS
Established in 2009 as a response to the McCarthy Report, The National Campaign for the Arts is a nationwide, 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.
The NCFA’s proposition is to work with the government and the sector to recognise the centrality of the Arts to the future, as well as the history, of our nation, and to achieve an appropriate and functional level of state investment in the Arts and Culture.
For further information, visit www.ncfa.ie