Speech by Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD, at Showcase Scotland event
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Ladies and Gentlemen
Ceud Míle Fáilte
Thá mi an-toilichte bheith leibh anseo ann an Glaschú an-diugh.
Tá mé thar a bheith sásta bheith anseo libh i nGlaschú inniu.
It is my great pleasure to be here in Scotland and I am delighted to be here in Glasgow on my first official visit abroad as Minister.
Showcase Scotland is known worldwide as an outstanding platform for artists to reach international presenters and gain global touring opportunities. The selection of Ireland, therefore, as the focus country for this the 25th anniversary year of Celtic Connections is truly welcome.
Over the past 25 years, a wealth of Irish artists have performed here in Glasgow – from the Chieftains, who starred in the first ever Celtic Connections, to Van Morrison, Clannad, Sharon Shannon – whose concert closed the inaugural festival – to more recent times and many newer voices like Damien Dempsey, Declan O’Rourke, Lankum and Four Men and a Dog.
Ireland’s presence at Showcase Scotland is being led by Culture Ireland of my Department, which works to generate international opportunities for Irish artists and support Irish artists as they gain global contracts and develop their careers.
During 2017 Culture Ireland supported 169 presenters and programmers to visit Ireland and experience Irish arts performing at home, generating further touring opportunities for Irish artists.
In the room today we have 14 international presenters who were supported by Culture Ireland to come to Tradfest in Dublin last week and who have now travelled onward to Glasgow with the Culture Ireland team. I can only commend them for staying the pace for 11 days of music showcasing over two Celtic cities!
With your help and that of other international programmers, the Irish Government has presented 450 Irish arts events in over 50 countries in 2017 reaching 3.5 million live audience members and 7 million online viewers. Ireland is known globally for our artists but this would not be the case if it were not for your work in engaging with our artists. I applaud you and thank you for your interest.
This afternoon we will enjoy six great Irish acts. This is an important moment in their careers.
The acts are varied and unique. What they share in common is their excellence. They represent a wealth of Irish musical talent which continues to grow with each generation. Many of these bands already have a global reputation and through this showcase this afternoon it is hoped that this will be further expanded.
Ireland’s participation at Showcase Scotland this year is particularly special as it is the first flagship event of Culture Ireland’s 2018 programme, GB18 – Promoting Irish Arts in Britain. This special year-long programme seeks to renew our cultural and artistic links across Scotland, Wales and England through an enhanced programme of cultural activity at a time when other issues are causing division.
The Programme aims to celebrate the many artists from these islands who have made the journey in both directions across the sea, developing relationships and partnerships and influencing each other over the course of their careers.
The collaborations and influences of the musicians from both sides of the water have always been particularly evident here at Celtic Connections. The cross influencing in music and culture between Ireland and Scotland goes back over the millennia and deserves to celebrated.
These six Showcase selections offer a unique chance for you to experience the vibrant and diverse Irish music scene. I look forward to enjoying this afternoon with you. I thank the artists for their commitment to their work and to giving us all such pleasure and I congratulate the Showcase Scotland and Culture Ireland teams for their work over the past year to achieve this showcase event.
Go raibh maith agaibh.