Taoiseach welcomes investment in creative communities at launch of 31 Local Authority Culture and Creativity Strategies 2018 – 2022

Ministers Madigan and Murphy congratulate the Local Authorities on the publication of their Strategies as part of the Creative Ireland Programme

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD., will be joined by Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan TD., and Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy TD., today (Wednesday) for the launch of 31 Local Authority Culture and Creativity Strategies 2018 – 2022, as part of the all-of-government Creative Ireland Programme.

These ambitious and innovative 5-year Culture and Creativity Strategies have been developed by the network of expert and passionate Culture Teams within the 31 Local Authorities, in consultation with artists, creatives, cultural and heritage organisations, community groups, the creative industries, centres of education and schools across the country. The Strategies embody both the spirit and practice of collaboration and shared purpose, which is at the heart of the Creative Ireland Programme. They aim to provide meaningful opportunities for citizens and local communities, together with our Local Authorities, to build, nurture and sustain our creative society.

The launch, which takes place at the Irish Architectural Archive in Merrion Square at 4pm, will include a performance by acclaimed poet Stephen James Smith of a specially commissioned poem on the transformative power of creativity within local communities. Stephen was the first Spoken Word writer-in-residence for young people at the Dunamaise Arts Centre in November 2017, supported by Laois Arts Office as part of their local Creative Ireland Programme.

Speaking at today’s event, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD, said: “Creative Ireland is all about improving access to culture and creativity in every county nationwide, to improve public wellbeing. The Culture Teams in each local authority have been absolutely essential to fulfilling this aim. We believed that by bringing people across a range of disciplines together in our Local Authorities, we could achieve more than the sum of their individual efforts. The plans being published today are proof that these collective efforts are resulting in projects of real scale and ambition.

“Through Creative Ireland we are prioritising and promoting arts and culture at a local, national and international level because an active and engaging cultural sector can enrich every aspect of our society and every stage of our lives. Through these Culture and Creative Strategies, we hope more and more people will become involved in artistic and cultural pursuits in their own local area, with all of the vitally important social, and indeed economic, consequences that follow.”

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan TD., said: “I would like to sincerely thank the local Creative Ireland co-ordinators, the CEO’s, Directors of Services and all the Culture Teams in our Local Authorities who have been working so hard in recent months to help us realise some of the key ambitions in the Creative Ireland programme.

I believe that as communities across the country undergo significant change, we are beginning to recognise that how a 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.”

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Authority Eoghan Murphy TD., said: “Our Local Authorities are the primary instruments of community engagement and activation. By investing in our communities, through the Creative Ireland Programme, my Department is empowering each Local Authority to do what they do best – to deliver appropriate, citizen focused and engaging programmes.

For any place to be truly successful as a community, people must feel not only that they belong, but also that they can actively take part in the creation, management and continued success of that place. The Creative Ireland Programme, with joint investment from both my and Minister Madigan’s Department are together, empowering you to collaborate, to make, to visit, to take part in wide and varied creative and innovative processes that are vital today and in the future.”

A sample of some of the special initiatives prioritized as part of the Local Authority Strategies 2018 – 2022 include: 

  • A Creative Sector Development Programme, led by the Kerry Local Enterprise Office, will aim to assist creative practitioners to bring their work to market and to help secure local, national and international opportunities. (Kerry)
  • SkillsXChange:  The initiative is to encourage the sharing of expertise and innovation in craft and artisan skills between Syrian refugees and the Mullingar community. The combined skill base includes carpentry, stone masonry, horticultural and computer skills, sewing, kitting and cookery skills. (Westmeath)
  • If I Fall: A pioneering collaboration between Rua Red South Dublin Arts Centre, The Civic Theatre and former UFC Fighter Paddy Holohan, this initiative aims to create a dialogue, through the medium of dance, around ideas of masculinity. The project aims to challenge negative representations of Tallaght and to create a new story of this place. (South Dublin)
  • Blackpool Live Rebel Streets: An intergenerational project exploring the history and heritage of the area using street art and reverse graffiti to demonstrate the findings. This project will run for the duration of the Creative Ireland Programme. (Cork City)
  • Citizen Scientist: A 20 week programme – members of the John Sullivan Centre/Irish Wheelchair Association Clane explore, record and sketch the flora and fauna in the centre’s biodiversity garden with findings submitted to National Biodiversity Data Centre. (Kildare)
  • Campa Spraoi: Cuirfidh an campa blaiseadh den Ghaeltacht ar fáil i Muineachán. Gheobhaidh rannpháirtithe an champa léiriú ar shaol iomlán trí Ghaeilge – trí cheol, ealaíon, spórt, amhránaíocht, damhsa agus drámaíocht.  (Monaghan)

Ms Anna Marie Delaney, CEO of Offaly County Council and Chair of the City and County Managers Association said: “I am delighted to be here today at this important event where we have the opportunity to recognize and celebrate the vital commitment and achievements of our Local Authorities in supporting creativity, arts and culture within our communities.

The Local Authorities play a pivotal role in bringing people together, creating opportunities for our citizens to fully participate in the creative and cultural life of our communities and to work towards building a thriving creative society for future generations.

Creative Ireland is a remarkable and ambitious initiative and we welcome the continued investment and recognition of the Local Authorities as a flagship partner in the Programme. We believe that participation in cultural and creative activities contributes directly to building cohesive and sustainable communities and to enhancing the quality of life of our citizens we look forward to deepening our partnership with the Programme in the coming years.”

Full details of the 31 Local Authority Culture and Creativity Strategies 2018 – 2022 can be found at creative.ireland.ie.



Notes to Editors:

Creative Ireland is an all of Government five-year initiative, from 2017 to 2022, which places creativity at the centre of public policy. It is built around five pillars: Enabling the Creative Potential of Every Child; Enabling Creativity in Every Community; Investing in our Creative and Cultural Infrastructure; Ireland as a Centre of Excellence in Media Production; Unifying our Global Reputation. Each of the 31 Local Authority Culture and Creativity Strategies are available to download at creative.ireland.ie

Since the launch of the Creative Ireland Programme in December 2016, every Local Authority has established a Culture Team which includes arts officers, heritage officers, librarians, museum and gallery curators, led by a local Creative Ireland coordinator.  Contact details for the coordinators can be found at creative.ireland.ie/network

The Local Authority Culture and Creativity Strategies 2018 – 2022 are a cornerstone of Pillar 2 of the Creative Ireland Programme – Enabling Creativity in Every County – and build on the cultural priorities, achievements and investment by the Local Authorities in culture, heritage and creativity.  Each Culture and Creativity Strategy sets out the vision, values and strategic priorities of each County and City Council inspired and informed by the Creative Ireland Programme.

The Creative Ireland Programme has invested a total of €5.8m in 2017 and 2018 across the 31 Local Authorities as part of Pillar 2 of the Programme. This includes €1m in 2017 and €2.8m (including Cruinniú na nÓg) in 2018 from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and €1m in 2017 and 2018 from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

Stephen James Smith is a Dublin poet and playwright central to the rise of the Irish spoken word scene.  His poetry videos have amassed over 1 million views online, including ‘My Ireland’, a short poetry film commissioned by St. Patrick’s Festival.  Stephen has performed extensively at top venues and events such as Electric Picnic, Other Voices, the National Concert Hall, the Abbey Theatre (Noble Call), Vicar Street (alongside Oscar winner Glen Hansard), the London Palladium, the Oscar Wilde Awards (LA), Glastonbury Festival and George Town Literary Festival (ML).  His debut collection, Fear Not, published by Arlen House, is being launched tomorrow, 13 September. https://www.stephenjamessmith.com

Stephen James Smith was awarded a new Spoken Word residency for young people by Dunamaise Art Centre and Laois Arts Office, supported by the Laois County Council Creative Ireland Programme.  The residency was during the Autumn of 2017.

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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