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On October 15th Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan, introduced the toughest budget of the past twenty years. It was not without controversy but it appears that the Arts Sector has fared reasonably well. Arts are just one of three legs of the stool in the budget which falls to the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism. Arts Minister, Martin Cullen, saw it as “consolidating investment in arts, tourism and sports sectors for 2009″.

Some €551 million has been allocated to the Department in the budget for 2009. This sum includes €405m for current spending by the Department and the agencies under its remit, and €146m for capital projects. The area which directly affects music and performance is under the heading of Arts, Culture and Film and this will take some €185m of the total (33%). Sport will be given 37% and Tourism 30% to allow the continuation of the existing level of frontline international marketing activities and programmes in 2009.

This year (2008) was one of heavy spending on venues, with millions being allocated to Lansdowne Road Stadium, the Gate Theatre, the new Opera House in Wexford, the new Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield, Carlow Arts Centre and the Everyman Theatre. The Government’s commitment to these projects is now almost complete and they account for €113m in the Department’s capital reduction in 2009.

The Minister said that the, “Arts, culture and film sectors are primary economic contributors, real businesses and enduring employers. They are differentiators of Ireland as a cultural and tourism destination and are areas that truly distinguish us as a people”.

The 2009 funding for the Arts Council is approximately €76m; a reduction from the €82m figure in 2008. Minister Cullen said: “Of this €74.3m will be allocated for day-to-day and grants expenditure by the Council. The corresponding figure for 2008 was €77m.

This, therefore, is a 3.75% cut in current expenditure and the 3% will be found in savings in administrative costs. Thus the effective reduction in monies available to the Arts Council for grants in 2009 is marginal at 0.75%”.]

Funding for Culture Ireland at approximately €4.7m is broadly maintained. Current funding for the National Cultural Institutions is higher than the 2007 levels. Cuts in the day-to-day allocations on 2008 are marginal and a full programme of events and exhibitions is scheduled for 2009.

Permalink - Posted: October 29, 2008 at 12:45 pm