14/10/2014 : Minister Humphreys secures €4 million Commemorations package and safeguards budget for 2015
Tuesday, October 14th 2014
- €4 million package to roll out an integrated plan to commemorate 1916
- Funding for current expenditure has increased for the first time in six years
- Financial support for our National Cultural Institutions has been protected, following several difficult years of cutbacks
- Minister for Finance commits to explore measures to boost the film and TV sector
- The artist tax exemption is increasing by €10,000 from €40,000 to €50,000
The Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, has today (Tuesday) announced that she has secured a €4 million package for the Commemorations programme as part of an overall Budget allocation of €274 million for 2015.
The €4 million package will allow for an integrated plan to be rolled out over 2015, to lead up to the Commemorations in 2016, in partnership with key government departments, State agencies, local authorities and other key stakeholders. This is in addition to the €22 million capital programme announced earlier this year for major commemorative projects in 2015, including the new interpretive centre at the GPO.
Speaking today Minister Humphreys said:
“Since my appointment, I have been arguing strongly that investment in the arts is crucial, both in terms of promoting and supporting our world class artistic and cultural strengths, and supporting jobs in our creative industries and through cultural tourism. This Budget is focussed on securing the recovery, and as Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht I want to see the arts benefit from and contribute to that recovery.
“Securing significant funding for the Commemorations programme was one of my main aims for this year’s Budget. The €4 million announced as part of Budget 2015 will support a comprehensive national programme of events to be put in place in the lead up to 2016, to ensure this critical period in our history is commemorated in an inclusive, appropriate and respectful manner. Now that funding is in place, my priority is to press ahead with widespread consultation on a draft programme of events and activities.
“The €4 million in funding announced today is in addition to the €22 million capital plan for the Commemorations, which will continue in the year ahead. This plan includes major projects such as the new interpretive centre at the GPO, the redevelopment of Richmond Barracks and a Tenement Museum in Dublin. In addition, the €32 million renovation of the National Gallery will continue, as will the €6 million revamp of the National Concert Hall, and work will commence on the refurbishment of the National Archives.
“Safeguarding funding for the arts will allow the Arts Council, which accounts for the largest portion of my Department’s budget, to continue to support arts organisations around the country on both a small and large scale, from the Abbey Theatre to locally-based groups. This year, the Arts Council supported 480 individuals and 470 arts organisations across the country.
“The protection of budgets for our National Cultural Institutions will come as a welcome relief after several years of difficult cutbacks. The funding secured for 2014 gives certainty to the Institutions and will allow them to continue to attract large numbers of people through their doors, including overseas and domestic tourists.
“I am particularly pleased that the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD, has today signalled his intention to look at ways to further boost the film and TV sector. More than 5,000 people are employed in the Irish audio visual sector, which has gained a very strong reputation internationally in recent years. Increasing the €50 million cap for film tax relief would help to attract more international projects to Ireland and create hundreds of new jobs, and I look forward to pursuing this in more detail with Minister Noonan over the coming year.
“The increase in the threshold for the artists’ tax exemption from €40,000 to €50,000 is a clear recognition of the need to support artists. Artists are the bedrock of our culture and they continue to represent us at home and abroad with great distinction.
“This year’s budget allocation will also allow for the continued support of our archaeological and built heritage, the management of our 6 national parks and 78 nature reserves and will also provide for the continued compensation of landowners affected by the EU Habitats and Birds Directive.
“Support of the Irish language and the sustainable development of our island communities will continue to be prioritised by my Department and its Agencies in the year ahead. This includes supporting the creation of 520 jobs and supporting an employment base of more than 7,000 through Údarás na Gaeltachta and the development of a cultural centre at Teach an Phiarsaigh, Ros Muc, Co Galway.
“The 2015 Budget sends a strong message that this Government values the arts, our heritage and the support of the Irish language. The positive allocation for my Department for 2015 will allow me to pursue a number of my priorities, including the commemorative programme and improving access to the arts.”
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Note to Editors:
Arts, Culture and Film
An integrated programme to commemorate the 1916 Rising will be rolled out during 2015, in partnership with key government departments, State agencies, local authorities and other key players.
Financial support for the National Cultural Institutions, including the National Archives of Ireland, National Gallery, National Museum of Ireland, the National Library of Ireland, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Chester Beatty Library, the National Concert Hall and Crawford Gallery, is being protected in 2015, following several years of difficult cutbacks. The priority for the National Cultural Institutions in 2015 will be to ensure that our Institutions can continue to draw large numbers of people, including overseas and domestic tourists.
The Arts Council accounts for the largest part of current expenditure on arts and culture, which, in turn, is channelled to key elements of our cultural tourism product such as the Abbey Theatre, the Wexford Opera Festival and Dublin Theatre Festival and a wide range of local festivals. This year, the Arts Council supported approximately 120 small arts festivals in towns and villages across Ireland. As a result, over 7,900 artists and 620 technicians and crew were employed, with audience figures of more than 338,000.
Their valuable work supporting the intrinsic cultural, tourism and economic value of the arts throughout the country has been recognised and this is reflected in the allocation for 2015, which will allow the Council to continue to make awards to arts organisations 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.
The Council will also be able to provide funding to organisations and individuals across a wide range of art forms extending over various programmes and schemes, including touring, festivals, major organisations, and bursaries.
The international promotion of our arts and culture through the Culture Ireland programme will continue also, and further initiatives on commemorations will be implemented.
The largest single capital funding for the Arts will be channelled towards a number of capital projects aimed at providing a significant and enduring acknowledgement of the 1916 Rising and the birth of the Irish Republic.
These include the development of a cultural/interpretative centre at the GPO, the refurbishment of Richmond Barracks as a cultural, educational, training, tourist and community facility, the completion of a proposed new visitor centre at Teach and Phiarsaigh, Ros Muc and the development of 14 Henrietta Street as a centre for the exploration of tenement life in North Inner City Dublin.
Redevelopment works at the National Concert Hall include the development of the Kevin Barry recital room where the Treaty Debates took place, whilst building development works at the Bishop Street HQ of the National Archives will provide state of the art exhibition and storage facilities.
A provision of more than €11 million will be made available to the Film Board, in recognition of its importance from both a cultural and employment perspective. One of the key reasons Ireland continues to be chosen as a film location is the work the Irish Film Board does to promote Ireland at international film and television markets. The positive impact of this work is three-fold in terms of creating jobs in Ireland, creating spend on local goods and services and promoting Ireland on the big and small screen to audiences of millions internationally.
An additional €9 million in funding is being provided to fund the redevelopment of the National Gallery Historic Wings. This project will ensure that the Gallery’s important collections can be shown and protected in an appropriate forum. It is anticipated that after its reopening, visitor numbers at the Gallery will grow to one million per year. It will also enable the Gallery to host international exhibitions and, in the longer term, to increase its contribution towards the country’s cultural tourism offering.
Priority will be given to meeting the legal requirements of the EU Habitats and Birds Directives, the maintenance of key archaeological and built heritage services and the operation of visitor service attractions provided in national parks and reserves.
A particular focus will be brought to ensuring that Ireland’s built and natural heritage are promoted as key tourism assets.
Key natural heritage outputs in 2015 will focus on the operation of Ireland’s national parks and reserves, the monitoring of protected areas, and the protection of wildlife in the countryside. Funding conservation-related scientific work and reporting to meet obligations under EU Directives will continue.
Built heritage priorities are focused on providing continued support for the Heritage Council together with the support, protection and advisory services which the Department provides for Ireland’s built and archaeological heritage. This includes policy input in support of cross-Government sustainability objectives.
Heritage capital expenditure in 2015 will continue to focus on two main areas:
(i) Peatland protection
(ii) National Park investment.
The protection of Ireland’s unique raised bog Special Areas of Conservation are a key concern, as is the avoidance of fines by the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Priority will continue to be given to the operation of turf cutter compensation schemes and investment in alternative turf cutting sites for affected cutters.
Other built heritage capital investment will support the activities of the Heritage Council, provide some funding for structures at risk and archaeological excavations.
Irish Language, Gaeltacht and the Islands
The Department will continue to prioritise the delivery of language-based supports, both within and outside of the Gaeltacht, through its various Gaeltacht Support Schemes and Irish Language Support Schemes.
A dedicated fund will continue to support the implementation of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 with a diverse range of actions. This funding will deliver in a tangible way on the commitment in the Programme for Government 2011-2016 which states that the Government ‘will support the Strategy and will deliver on the achievable goals and targets proposed.’
In addition, the Department will continue to support the activities of Údarás na Gaeltachta, the body responsible for the implementation of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 within the Gaeltacht. The Department will also continue to provide funding for Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga to enable it to fulfil its statutory role.
The allocation for the islands will ensure the continuation of lifeline transport services.
Within the limited capital resources available, the main focus will continue to be on assisting job creation in the Gaeltacht through the activities of Údarás na Gaeltachta.
The 2015 capital provision will also allow the Department to continue to fund, on a limited basis, the maintenance and development of language-based centres both within and outside of the Gaeltacht.
Limited funding will also be available to support the maintenance of transport infrastructure on the islands.
The 2015 allocation will enable the agencies of An Foras Teanga (Foras na Gaeilge and the Ulster-Scots Agency) to continue to fulfil their statutory obligations within available resources in regard to the promotion of the Irish language and the Ulster-Scots language and culture on an all-island basis.
The level of funding available in 2015 will enable Waterways Ireland to deliver on its core activities and targets, which include keeping the waterways open for navigation during the main boating season and promoting increased use of the waterways resource for recreational purposes.
The 2015 Budget will also allow for the development of inland waterways within the context of the implementation of the Good Friday and St. Andrews Agreements.