Speech by Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan T.D., at the Local Authorities’ Strategy Launch

Check Against Delivery

Taoiseach, fellow Ministers, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen; I am delighted to be here today.

The American author and political activist Helen Keller once said “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

It’s as though those words were written especially for this launch. I want to thank and congratulate those involved in this project – in particular all the City and County Managers, the Creative Ireland Co-Ordinators and the Cultural Teams in each and every one of the 31 local authorities.  The work that has been done by these teams to date is immense and I truly appreciate their commitment to the ideals set out in the Creative Ireland Programme.

I believe that as communities across the country undergo significant change, we are beginning to recognise the ways in which the community understands itself, celebrates itself and expresses itself, are major contributing factors in its ability to withstand economic, political, and cultural winds of change and transition.

Arts, culture, heritage and in particular creativity are now being viewed, not only as amenities to improve the quality of life, but as a foundation upon which the future of our communities rests. Arts and creative activities can profoundly affect the ability of a community not only to survive over time, but to thrive.

It is this sort of commitment, ingenuity, collaboration and sense of partnership that emphasises the important role local authorities, local artists and local organisations– assisted by central government – can play as providers and enablers of culture and creativity locally, something I am particularly anxious to promote through the Creative Ireland Programme.

Bhí lá iontach againn ag Cruinniú na nÓg ar an 23ú lá de Mheitheamh. Chonaic muid an chuid is fearr de cheol, de rince, de drámaíocht na hÉireann – agus go leor eile – é uilig curtha ar fáil ag daoine óga ar fud na tíre. Tá mé cinnte go rachaidh an Cruinniú seo ó neart go neart sna blianta atá amach romhainn.

Enabling children and young people to explore their creativity is at the centre of what I hope to achieve under the Creative Ireland Programme and this experience is being delivered, on a daily basis, by Local Authorities around the country.

Cultural infrastructure provides a home for all of us, a space for all of us to meet, to exchange ideas, to create the new and to imagine what could be.

Along with the €460m we are investing in our National Cultural Institutions, we are also providing €40m for local arts infrastructure.  Our national parks, historic environment, built heritage, national monuments, natural heritage and biodiversity will see a combined investment of €285m.

Agus feicfimid infheistíocht nua sa Ghaeltacht agus ar na h-oileáin le níos mó ná €150 milliún curtha ar fáil don Ghaeltacht, don Ghaeilge agus do na h-oileáin.

The Creative Ireland Programme is an ambitious and ground-breaking initiative which aims to enhance individual and collective wellbeing through increased participation in creative activity.

Much has been achieved in the first year of the programme, from Culture Teams in every Local Authority now launching their five-year Culture and Creativity plans, to the cross-departmental implementation of the ambitious Creative Youth Plan, which is now well underway.  A culture-based wellbeing initiative, the Creative Ireland Programme is guided by a vision that every person in Ireland will have the opportunity to realise their full creative potential.

With Creative Ireland, the Irish Government is telling everyone, policy makers, arts practitioners, our citizens, our diaspora and our friends everywhere that we believe in the value of creativity, for people and for society.

As Albert Einstein said, “Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.”

It’s about building bridges between culture and creativity, between artists and communities – for the benefit of our entire society

On that note, I would like to invite Stephen James Smith, who has composed a poem for this occasion, to come and share his work with us. I have heard Stephen perform twice before in London and in Dublin and is an incredible talent.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.

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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