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 Header Item Arts Funding (Continued)
 Header Item Business of Dáil

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 943 No. 2

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Heather Humphreys: Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys]  Unfortunately, some organisations, including the project to which the Deputy refers, have been unsuccessful on this occasion as they did not meet the eligibility criteria as set out under the terms of the scheme. However, my Department is happy to engage with each applicant on the specific applications. In this regard, my Department has been in contact with the applicant, which has since forwarded the outstanding documentation not provided at the time of the application. Should further funding become available, this application can be given further consideration. Unsuccessful applicants have also been informed of the stream 3 small capital grant scheme for arts and cultural facilities, which I will be announcing shortly. It will be geared towards providing smaller capital grants of up to €20,000 to not-for-profit organisations with a defined arts and cultural remit. Whereas the amounts involved are relatively modest, the grants will in themselves make a major difference to individual organisations.

I understand the disappointment of the Moat Theatre and arts centre, which is run on a totally voluntary basis, as the Deputy noted. I understand its disappointment but my Department is happy to work with the organisation.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan I hope that in the course of the discussions that take place in the near future, it will be possible to identify the most likely opportunities to make some funding available. I do not wish to select one particular aspect of the application against another as that could be worked out in the course of the discussions taking place now. The organisation would be extremely grateful and appreciative as it put in a major effort. There are approximately 40 people in the voluntary group who are always involved with the productions and fund-raising, and that is happening now. They are not looking for a handout as they are well capable of making fund-raising efforts themselves. They do that all the time. Having exhausted their facilities at various levels, they need to move to the next stage. Meeting health and safety requirements is fundamental to everything they do and stand for. The Minister would agree it is very important that we meet health and safety requirements on an ongoing basis. Anything that happens in that area usually brings a negative response.

I hope the Minister will find ways and means to address the issue in a favourable way. To quote the old phrase, the show must go on. It cannot go on unless we have resources and meet health and safety requirements. I hope that some time in the current year, one or more aspects of the theatre's programme might be funded under the headings already referred to by the Minister.

Deputy Heather Humphreys: Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I know the Deputy is very committed to and passionate about the Moat Theatre and the good work it does in Naas and the surrounding communities in Kildare. Volunteers are the backbone of communities right across the country, doing much work while giving up their time. I acknowledge that. This theatre underwent major upgrade works in 2003 and it has a 200-seat auditorium with retractable seating in place. I know it has an excellent programme of events coming up in the next few weeks, including "Some Like it Hot", an evening of one-act plays and Pat Shortt, just to name a few. It is certainly a very active theatre, which is good to see.

Various clubs and organisations in my constituency were not successful in getting funding and I understand the absolute disappointment coming from that. The arts and culture capital scheme was designed to be as flexible as possible to ensure projects of varying sizes could benefit. The vast majority of eligible applications received some level of funding. Seven flagship projects will receive substantial funding allocations, including the €1 million investment in the Riverbank Theatre in Kildare. A further 49 projects will receive funding ranging from €20,000 to €276,000. All these projects aim to improve the audience and creative experience. This funding package will also ensure past investment in these arts and cultural centres will be protected and sustained.

My Department has received the necessary additional information from Moat Theatre and should further funding become available, my Department will consider the matter at that stage. The application is valid and on a shortlist. I would be very optimistic that support will be forthcoming. I thank the Deputy for raising the matter.

Business of Dáil

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I move:

That notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, any division which would normally be taken at the weekly division time tomorrow, Thursday, 23 March 2017, shall be taken immediately following Topical Issues on Tuesday, 28 March 2017.

  Question put and agreed to.

  Sitting suspended at 4.25 p.m. and resumed at 5.05 p.m.

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