Minister Madigan announces details of €339 million 2019 budget package for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

  • Expansion of Creative Ireland’s Creativity in the Community programmes
  • Creation of Cultural Ambassadors around the globe
  • Extended seasonal opening of National Parks and Reserves
  • Increased job creation in Gaeltacht areas

The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD, and Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Joe McHugh TD, today (Thursday) announced further details of the additional funding of over €36m provided in Budget 2019 towards our culture, language and heritage.

The total funding of €339m – an increase of 12% on 2018 – is comprised of €21m in capital expenditure (an increase of 39% on 2018) and €15m in current expenditure (an increase of 6%).

In addition to allowing for increased supports to bodies, programmes and individuals right across the Department’s remit, the increased capital allocations will also enable the implementation of the Department’s 10 year €1.2bn Capital Plan, ‘Investing in our Culture, Language & Heritage 2018-2027’.

Key highlights of Budget 2019:


Total funding for the arts and culture sector in 2019 will increase by €22.6m to almost €190m – an increase of 14% on 2018.  This funding will comprise €148.2m in current expenditure and €41.7m in capital investment.  The key areas are:

  • Arts Council funding is up by almost €6.8m or 10% to a total of €75m – this includes over €6m in current expenditure, which is more than double the increase in 2018.
  • Fís Éireann funding in 2019 will be over €20m – an increase of €2m or 11%, for implementation of the Audiovisual Action Plan.
  • €6m is being provided for the European City of Culture – Galway2020.
  • National Cultural Institutions (NCIs) receive over €2m in additional current funding.
  • Creative Ireland will receive funding of €7.15m – an increase of €1.15m primarily to support the Culture and Creativity Teams established in every local authority and to allow for the continued roll-out of Creative Youth.
  • Culture Ireland will receive an increased allocation of €4.1m, including funding for the creation of Cultural Ambassadors in key locations around the globe to grow Ireland’s cultural footprint.
  • An additional €250k for the Decade of Centenaries for commemorations (including new Markievicz bursaries for women artists and writers).
  • An additional €3.25m in capital funding for cultural infrastructure and development.

Heritage (including Waterways)

Total funding for our Built and Natural Heritage sector in 2019 will amount to €54.3m – an increase of over €7.1m or 15% on 2018 – comprising additional capital provision of €6m (up 43%) on 2018, bringing the 2019 allocation up to €15.6m and additional current funding of almost €2m.  Some key areas to benefit will be:

  • Further investment in visitor services and trails at our National Parks, with extended seasonal opening at national parks and national reserves, thereby enhancing our visitor offerings.
  • The implementation of the National Biodiversity Action Plan.
  • €200k for Heritage Council for Heritage in Schools will mean 650 additional visits to primary schools (over and above this year’s figure) and also allow the Council to progress its work on developing a scheme for secondary schools).
  • Over 520 restoration projects next year.
  • Additional support for the Irish Heritage Trust at Strokestown in Roscommon and Fota House in Cork.
  • The next phase of the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage in Dun Laoghaire.
  • An interpretative portal for the National Monuments discovered in County Meath during the summer.
  • The rollout an advice series on traditional building skills.

In addition, the Department’s funding contribution to Waterways Ireland in 2019 will be increased by €1m to over €25m.

Gaeltacht (including Foras)

Total funding for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands portfolio for 2019 amounts to over €54m. Taken together with the allocation to An Foras Teanga, the total funding will be over €67.5m – representing an increase of €5m or some 8% on 2018 allocations.

  • An additional €600k to support the implementation phase of the Language Planning Process provided for in the Gaeltacht Act 2012;
  • Údarás na Gaeltachta will receive an additional €1.5m to invest in employment maintenance and creation in Gaeltacht areas, bringing total capital allocation up to €8.5m (an increase of over 21% on 2018), together with an additional €0.5m in current funding primarily to support Gaeltacht co-operatives and community development organisations;
  • An additional allocation of €500k for the Department’s Gaeltacht Support Schemes in order to further support the Gaeltacht Language Planning Process.
  • An additional allocation of €580k for the Department’s Language Support Schemes outside the Gaeltacht in order to provide Gaeltacht scholarships for children from DEIS schools and progress the development of a network of Irish Language and Cultural Centres nationwide.
  • An additional allocation of €1m for the development of harbour infrastructure serving the Aran Islands and Tory.
  • An additional allocation of €500k for the provision of essential transport services to the islands.

Speaking in advance of a press briefing to outline the details of the 2019 Budget allocation to her Department, Minister Madigan said:

The total package that I have secured in Budget 2019, is a clear indication of this Government’s commitment to progressively increasing funding to culture, heritage and the Gaeltacht, and ultimately see funding levels double by 2025.  In particular, the significant additional capital funding will enable my Department to commence work on further developing our cultural and creative heritage under Project Ireland 2040.

In providing detail of the increased investment for the Irish language and our Gaeltacht and Island communities, Minister of State McHugh stated:

The increased investment of over €67.5m in the Irish language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands in 2019 will make a real difference to Gaeltacht communities, in particular, with the largest portion of this allocation being directed at Gaeltacht job creation, community development and language planning, in addition to harbour development and transport services primarily for Gaeltacht islands.  I welcome this emphasis on the Gaeltacht and look forward to making further progress in the areas covered over the coming year.



Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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