A special event at the National Concert Hall on the eve of International Women’s Day to celebrate women in the arts and reflect on the current landscape


Opening Remarks:

  • Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I am delighted to be here with you at this wonderful event to celebrate women in the arts and thank you all very much for coming.
  • It gives me great pleasure to join an admirable group of women who all have and continue to excel in their own fields, and to reflect on the current landscape for women in the arts. I would like to thank Maura McGrath, Chairperson and Simon Taylor, CEO of the National Concert Hall for arranging what promises to be a stimulating evening of discussion and performance.

        It is an energising time for women in the arts in Ireland.  Eleanor Roosevelt once said We gain strength, and courage, and                 confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot” We are in a room full of women who have done things society for many years thought they could not.  We as a society must continue to look outward and question barriers and embrace opportunity.

  • We are all aware of the intrinsic value culture holds for us. In particular, National Cultural Institutions play a very important role in the cultural life of the country. They hold a mirror up to what defines us and I would like to think that they also challenge us.
  • The work of the NCH and Sounding the Feminists represents the best of our national cultural institutions. I am very supportive of their work.  It represents a real step forward in terms of addressing the profile of female musicians.   I will be asking my Department to liaise further with the NCH and Sounding the Feminists to see how their important work may best be supported.
  • It is a great pleasure to be joined today by Sabina Higgins, a woman who has been heavily involved in theatre and the arts in Ireland for decades. Celebrations such as today would not be occurring were it not for pioneers such as yourself.
  • It is wonderful to have a current participant on the Female Conductor programme, Síobhra Quinlan, here to perform with harpsichordist David Adams, as well as internationally renowned Loah, a unique talent as a performer and songwriter.
  • I look forward to hearing Dee Forbes, RTÉ director General and Eleanor McEvoy, artist and chairperson, IMRO. Both have excelled to the top of their respective fields and will have interesting insights to offer.
  • I also eagerly await the renowned actress, Lisa Dwan, and her performance of Not I, #MeToo and The Mind’s Eye. Lisa continues to inspire and amaze crowds with her acclaimed Beckett interpretations.
  • I would finally like to say how inspired I am today. I see women, in various fields, who shine and inspire, and have no doubt that future generations will see more clearly the benefits and less of the barriers that have gone before for women in the arts.

Thank you








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