There is “huge disappointment” across the arts sector at its 2018 budget allocation, the chair of the Arts Council has said. Sheila Pratschke said the council’s funding of €68m for next year – an increase of €3 million from 2017 – would allow it to meet existing commitments but would severely hamper efforts to broaden support to artists and organisations nationwide.
The increase of less than 5 per cent compares with an 8 per cent increase last year following several years of cuts.
“While this will be a very difficult year for us and those we fund, we trust that the Taoiseach and Government will stand over the promise to double funding to the arts and culture sector by 2024,” said Ms Pratschke in reference to a promise made in May by Mr Varadkar.
Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA), Jo Mangan stated that, “The Budget 2018 decisions are completely inconsistent with the commitments, and indeed policy focus, outlined by An Taoiseach and through the prism of Creative Ireland. We’re deeply disappointed at the funding allocations issued today and call on An Taoiseach to outline how his commitment of a 100% uplift to the Department’s funding will now be achieved over the coming years. Today’s announcements have proved underwhelming for our beleaguered sector where even the announcement of an increase in the minimum wage will have no impact as the majority of those working in the arts earn less than €10,000 per annum. We are a long way from restoring the €30 million stripped from the Arts Council funding since 2008. As we continue to sit at the bottom of the EU league for investment in the arts, the NCFA calls on the Government to apply their own strategy to double arts funding to the EU average as a matter of urgency.”.