National Campaign for the Arts Response to Budget 2024 Announcement
11 October 2023
National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA) welcomes the budget measures announced by Ministers Donohoe and McGrath yesterday and the breakdown outlined by Minister Catherine Martin today.
We are pleased to see funding of €134m for the Arts Council, and the sustained investment in Culture Ireland and Creative Ireland are also warmly welcomed.
Maria Fleming, Chair of NCFA commented: “Our 2024 Pre Budget submission outlined the priority for our members and the sector. We are pleased to hear today of increased investment in the arts, but we question if the government is acknowledging the urgency required to improve conditions for artists to allow sustainable careers and safeguard the feasibility of the industry. Ireland is rightfully proud of our artists and our artistic heritage and we need to protect the space for artists to live and work or we risk losing that talent to other countries or other sectors.”
We are disappointed to see that spending in the arts has not kept pace with other areas of this year’s budget. It does not provide the investment needed in our 55,000 strong arts workforce, who have felt the worst effects of the long-term closure of society during the pandemic and who are now suffering the combined blows of the housing and cost of living crises. As one of the few sectors where average wages have been falling, we see this as a truly urgent issue if we are to retain the talent and creativity of our sector. This budget is a missed opportunity to increase arts spending in line with EU spending and the NCFA will continue to campaign for a target of €150 million for the Arts Council.
The arts are unique in their capacity to challenge, to incite change and to open up possibilities to reflect and affect. Art activates a public space for society. Throughout history artists and culture are the foundations of flourishing societies. Will we still be able to turn to the arts if artists are no longer able to afford to live?
We look forward to continued engagement with Minister Martin and her department on addressing the challenges which are leaving many artists and arts workers in a serious financial crisis. We appreciate Minister Martin’s commitment to continue to work with Minister Humphreys and her officials in the Department of Social Protection to remove the systemic barriers which prevent disabled artists and arts workers from equal participation in the arts.
The NCFA Steering Committee wishes to acknowledge the work of Minister Martin and her Department officials, who have listened to the unified voices of our sector. Their engagement with us and with our Pre-Budget submission has been rigorous and illustrates their dedication to supporting the sector in a truly meaningful way.
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