05/11/2014 – Minister Humphreys tells Atlanta business leaders the arts are contributing to our economic recovery
The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, will today (Wednesday) tell Irish American business leaders that the arts are making an important contribution to Ireland’s economic recovery. Minister Humphreys is addressing the Irish Chamber of Commerce Atlanta on the arts as a gateway to business and tourism.
The Minister is on the first day of a five day visit to the southern United States. Tomorrow she will travel to New Orleans for the International Famine Commemoration 2014. The Minister will also attend the highly acclaimed Seamus Heaney exhibition at Emory University, visit the National Centre for Civil and Human Rights at Centennial Park, before launching a new volume Samuel Beckett letters at Emory University this evening.
Minister Humphreys outlined to local business leaders the significant progress made in the Irish economy since 2011, thanks to the sacrifices of the Irish people and the plan implemented by the Fine Gael-Labour Government. She also acknowledged the major role being played by US firms in our economic recovery and reaffirmed the Irish Government’s commitment to safeguarding our corporation tax rate and our business friendly environment.
Speaking today Minister Humphreys said:
“The arts are playing a crucial role in our economic recovery, both in terms of supporting jobs and contributing to cultural tourism. As Minister for Arts, I am determined to make the case for investing in the arts at both a domestic and international level. One of my key objectives is to maximise the potential of the cultural, heritage and creative industries to create growth and jobs.
“It is estimated that more than half of the 6.3 million visitors who came to Ireland in 2011 engaged in a cultural activity. Ireland’s culture acts as a huge draw for tourists, and in this way our National Cultural Institutions are important stakeholders in the tourism sector. While I am acutely aware that our Cultural Institutions have endured significant cutbacks in recent years, I am pleased to have been in a position to protect their 2015 budgets.
“The work of the Arts Council is also a very important driver of economic activity in small towns and villages across Ireland. As a result of the financial support provided for these festivals in 2013, about 8,000 artists and 600 technicians and crew were employed. Last year the Galway Arts Festival contributed €21 million to the local economy, illustrating the clear link between investing in the arts and jobs on the ground.
“I feel passionately about the individual importance of the arts, how self-expression through the arts can create a dialogue and make us think of the world in a different way. But I also welcome the opportunity to speak to Irish American business leaders about the tangible economic benefits of investing in the arts and to tell them that the Irish Government is committed to supporting our creative industries.”