07/12/2011 €266.997m FOR ARTS, HERITAGE AND THE GAELTACHT IN BUDGET 2012
Addressing the Dail this evening (Wednesday 7th December, 2011) Jimmy Deenihan TD Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht outlined the principal features of the 2012 estimates for his Department. The allocations for both current and capital allocations reflect both the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure and the Review of Capital Expenditure respectively.
In his opening statement Minister Deenihan said that as a result of the significant fiscal deficit, resources are not available to fund all the services that he would like to provide. Clear priorities have to be established to ensure that the greatest value is achieved with available resources. “We are faced with difficult decisions in order to provide the basis for a sustainable approach to the financial situation” said Minister Deenihan.
Gross funding for the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will be €266.997m in 2012 with an allocation for current expenditure of €223.997m and a capital allocation of €43m. A further €8.588m (€7.588m in current funding and €1m in capital funding) is provided through Vote 34 – the National Gallery.
Minister Deenihan said “The key focus for the arts and culture sector is to protect jobs and stimulate creativity right across the country. With this in mind, some €129.552m, or 49% of my Department’s resources, is being allocated in 2012 to Arts, Culture and Film programme area. This will hugely, complement the significant investment in arts infrastructure in recent years. My priority now is to ensure that resources are made available to support the operation of those facilities.”
The 2012 current allocation to the Arts Council is €63.100m. This will allow the Council to continue to support arts organizations of varying sizes – from national bodies such as the Abbey Theatre to small, locally-based groups – across a very broad range of individual art forms and arts practices. Minister Deenihan said “my intention is to facilitate the Council to maintain its support to over 50 venues, approximately 200 festivals and 400 arts organisations. In this way, the Council will support employment in communities across the country, both directly through funding artists and organisations and indirectly in the tourism sector and the wider economy.”
The Government is keenly aware of the contribution arts in Ireland is making through the employment of almost 50,000 people – almost as many as the ICT sector – who make and deliver arts in communities across the country, 12 months of the year. The arts are the bedrock of our cultural tourism industry, and play a key role as an R&D engine for a smart, creative workforce.
The National Cultural Institutions during 2012 will prioritise keeping venues open, maintaining programmes and showcasing exhibitions for the public to ensure they continue to attract increasing numbers of people including overseas and domestic tourists. Culture Ireland will continue to promote Irish artists world-wide with the aim of showcasing our strengths in culture and creativity.
In line with reductions in the Public Capital Programme, the capital allocation for the arts, culture and film area has been scaled back. However, the current funding allocation for 2012 to the Irish Film Board at €2.54m represents a modest increase of 4% over the 2011 provision.“It is important to remember that for every €1 of IFB investment close to €10 is generated in the economy” added Minister Deenihan.
Speaking in respect of funding towards the Department’s Heritage programme, Minister Deenihan announced some €48.421m has been provided. “When account is taken of the reductions in my Department’s administration funding, actual reduction in current programme expenditure is just 2%. This will ensure continuity in the provision of heritage services of my Department.
The allocation to the National Parks and Wildlife Service at €14.397m represents an increase of 3% on the 2011 provision. “I have ensured that sufficient funding has been secured and available in respect of a redress package for those affected by the cessation of turf cutting on 53 raised bogs. Special Areas of Conservation. This underlines the Government’s commitment to ensuring that funding will be made available to meet the needs of those who are affected by the cessation of turf cutting under the various schemes which I have put in place” added Minister Deenihan.
A programme of capital works is to be undertaken next year at Ireland’s National Parks and Nature Reserves in order to secure the conservation of our natural heritage and to contribute to their attractiveness as a visitor/tourist amenity. “Funding in the area of the built heritage will focus on protecting those structures which are at most risk, promoting tourism, and supporting the work of the Heritage Council” stated the Minister.
With regard to the ongoing development of North-South Co-operation within the broader arts, heritage and commemorative activities a provision of €42.718m has been allocated in 2012 to support the two North-South implementation bodies, An Foras Teanga (comprising Foras na Gaeilge and the Ulster-Scots Agency) and Waterways Ireland. These budgets will be subject to the approval of the North/South Ministerial Council in due course.
Concluding Minister Deenihan said “My Departmental officials and I are fully committed to engaging with the Public Service Reform Process. We are continually reviewing our practices and structures in order to enhance coherence and ensure that staffing resources continue to be allocated to the areas of greatest need in the Department. I am confident that my Department and the sectors it represents will make a significant contribution towards getting the country out of the present crisis.”