May 4, 2012: VAI asks for meeting with Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform

Like many organisations across the country we, in Visual Artists Ireland, have a keen interest in the critical review by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.  We are aware of the urgency and necessity of such a review, and in our support we wish to offer our counsel.

At present the review of Culture Ireland and the potential amalgamations of IMMA, the Crawford Gallery and the National Gallery of Ireland are items for which there has been no transparency regarding any broad sectoral consultation.  We understand that there are many aspects to consultation and want to ensure that the grass roots voice of the representative organisations is heard and actively contributes to the future shape of government interaction with the arts.

Bearing in mind Ireland’s undertaking as a signatory of the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist, we are asking to be part of the deliberations that are currently taking place that directly effect the arts. The Recommendation that Ireland has signed states “Member States should ensure, through appropriate legislative means when necessary, that artists have the freedom and the right to establish trade unions and professional organizations of their choosing and to become members of such organizations, if they so wish, and should make it possible for organizations representing artists to participate in the formulation of cultural policies and employment policies, including the professional training of artists, and in the determination of artists’ conditions of work.”

Ireland’s clear support of the recommendation that places emphasis on our sector being part of the formulation of policies indicates a trust that has been keenly developed over the past years of government support of the arts sector and is one that we wish to see continued into the future.

Visual Artists Ireland is the representative organization for professional visual artists in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland.  Since 1980 we have worked to support visual artists in their professional careers as well as developing many projects that ensure that the visual arts operate in an effective and trusted manner. Therefore we feel that we are ideally placed to contribute to the consultations that directly affect our sector.

VAI has asked for a meeting to develop an understanding on how we can contribute to the department’s deliberations, and particularly pointed out that such consultation is vital and necessary before any decisions are made concerning the arts in Ireland.