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 Header Item Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla (Continued)
 Header Item Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
 Header Item Artists' Remuneration
 Header Item National Monuments

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 975 No. 1

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Seán Kyne: Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne] Dá ndéanfadh sé aon difríocht, bheadh mé sásta cruinniú sciobtha a eagrú leis an Teachta agus le Sinn Féin agus páirtithe eile chun é seo a phlé an tseachtain seo chugainn. Bheadh Teachtaí in ann é a phlé le stiúrthóir na Gaeilge. Táimid ag déanamh chuile rud. Táimid fós dóchasach go mbeimid in ann é a fhoilsiú roimh dheireadh na bliana. Nílimid ag cur aon mhoill air. Cé go bhfuil na ceannteidil foilsithe le tamall, tá chuile Bhille casta. Táimid ag obair air. Nílimid ag cur aon mhoill ar an Bhille seo. Tá sé ráite agam ag an Oireachtas coicís ó shin go gcaithfimid brú a choimeád orainn féin laistigh den Roinn Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta agus laistigh d'Oifig an Ard-Aighne. Tá sé ar bharr mo liosta é a bhrú ar aghaidh agus a fhoilsiú.

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Question No. 6 replied to with Written Answers.

Artists' Remuneration

 7. Deputy Mick Wallace Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan to outline the measures she plans to take to address the recent figures published by the Central Statistics Office, CSO, which show that while average earnings here have increased by 7% in the five years to June 2018 earnings for those in the arts sector decreased by 3.5% in the same period; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [47437/18]

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace Figures published recently by the CSO show that while average earnings increase in Ireland by 15.7% in the five years to June 2018, earnings for those who worked in the arts sector decreased by 3.5% in the same period. The 13.5% increase in arts and culture spending overall in the budget this year is welcome. The Taoiseach has given a commitment to double arts funding by 2022. A greater increase will be required year on year to meet that target. We are working from a chronic low base due to underinvestment in the past decade in the arts sector.

Deputy Josepha Madigan: Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan I thank the Deputy for his question. I am aware of the issues raised by him and the report published by the CSO based on the earnings and labour costs for the first quarter of 2018. The CSO report shows variations in earnings across the sectors as categorised under various statistical groupings, including arts, entertainment, recreation and other service activities.

The report states that in the five years to the second quarter of 2018, average weekly earnings rose by 7% from €695.65 in the second quarter of 2013 to €744.08. There were large differences in the changes to average weekly earnings across individual sectors over this period, ranging between from an increase of 15.7% in the accommodation and food services sector and a decrease of 3.5% in the arts, entertainment, recreation and other service activities sector. It should be noted that this category is far wider than simply the arts sector. It includes gambling and betting activities as well as sports, amusements and recreation.

In budget 2019, funding for the arts and culture sector in 2019 supported by my Department was increased significantly by €22.6 million to almost €190 million. This represents an increase of 14% on 2018. Budget 2019 includes an increase to the Arts Council of almost €6.8 million or 10% to bring Arts Council expenditure to a total of €75 million. This increase was more than double the increase in 2018 and was warmly welcomed by the sector.

The Creative Ireland programme of my Department will receive funding of €7.15 million, representing an increase of €1.15 million, to support local authorities and the continued roll-out of the creative youth programme. A total of €6 million is being provided for the European Capital of Culture - Galway 2020 while the €4.1 million provided for Culture Ireland will continue to support the development of Irish artists on the world stage.

Overall, the increased funding for the arts and cultural sector secured in budget 2019 clearly shows that the Government is acting on the commitment to double funding for arts, culture and sport by 2025.

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace We are out of synchronisation with European Union norms for arts funding. The arts continue to be funded at a level barely above austerity levels. The National Campaign for the Arts movement represents artists and art workers. The movement's pre-budget statement this year asked for the Government to provide a detailed roadmap on how the Taoiseach's commitment to doubling arts funding by 2022 will be delivered. We are now in the second year of the seven-year commitment but the arts community in Ireland has no clear plan or evidence of how this doubling of funding will be achieved. Is the Government producing a roadmap to detail and put shape and structure on where it is going? That would give the arts community something to work off and some confidence that things will improve in this area.

Deputy Josepha Madigan: Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan The Deputy mentioned the National Campaign for the Arts. I will refer to what the group said. The group welcomed the €6.8 million uplift for the Arts Council in budget 2019 given the central role the Arts Council plays in supporting artistic creation across the entire country. In response to the announcement, the National Campaign for the Arts chairperson, Angela Dorgan, said:

The 10% uplift in today’s Budget 2019 allocation to the Arts Council is welcomed by the NCFA and demonstrates significant progress towards the restoration of the Arts Council’s pre-recession allocation, which has been dramatically cut since 2008, causing untold damage to the Arts sector in Ireland. The NCFA also welcomes the increase in funding for Creative Ireland, not least in relation to its important work through the Creative Youth programme. These additional investments help to make up ground in the delivery of the Government’s commitment to doubling investment in the Arts and Culture sector over the next six years.

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace It has to be pointed out as well that the artist tax exemption scheme is not helping the vast majority of working artists. In reality, only a few artists earning far higher wages are benefitting from the scheme. Under the scheme, artists can apply for an exemption from income tax on earnings from an approved work for one year of up to €50,000. My good friend, the former Minister for Justice and Equality, Mr. Shatter, was approved under the scheme for his autobiography. However, few artists will earn anywhere near enough in a year to benefit from the tax exemption. According to the latest available figures from the Revenue, tax relief earned from the artist exemption scheme in 2015 rose by €10.8 million. However, the number of artists successfully applying for the exemption only rose by 8%. This indicates that only a small group of artists are reporting higher income figures while the vast majority of artists see little or no financial benefit. There is a major discrepancy in this area. It beggars belief that someone like the former Minister, who hardly needs the money, can get tax relief on this while the average artist is on the poverty line.

Deputy Josepha Madigan: Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan I have no wish to comment on my former constituency colleague's writings. Whatever about the tax exemption, artistic endeavours have traditionally never been paid well. This is something that we have been trying to address in government. I note what Deputy Wallace has said about the tax exemptions. We are trying to counteract that and the Arts Council is giving more money towards bursaries. The council had bursaries of €19,000 to help grassroots people, for example, people who want to write a book or paint a painting. These bursaries are really important to try to help people and encourage them to develop. I will also be providing Markievicz bursaries in my Department. These are designed to fund and support female artists.

The Taoiseach has put on record a public commitment to double spending on arts and culture by 2025. Budget 2019 is a notable milestone along this journey. We put a significant amount into this - such investment has not been available for many years – and we will continue to do so.

National Monuments

 8. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan to outline the status of the programme of restoration works for 14-17 Moore Street; and the timeline for the national monument to be restored.  [47405/18]

Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan: Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan My question relates to the status of the programme of restoration works for 14-17 Moore Street and the timeline for the restoration of the national monument there.

Deputy Josepha Madigan: Information on Josepha Madigan Zoom on Josepha Madigan As the Deputy is aware, the project to conserve the national monument buildings and to open them to the public to honour the leaders of the 1916 Rising was suspended in early 2016 on foot of proceedings in the High Court.

The aim of the works was to restore the buildings in a way that would have ensured that they reflected as closely as possible what they would have been like when they were occupied by the insurgents in 1916. Each of the buildings has extensive original features. The intention was, and remains, to retain all of this original material. With the agreement of the High Court a programme of works was subsequently completed to stabilise and weatherproof the buildings. This agreed programme was completed last year and the monument buildings are now in the care of the Office of Public Works.

Working with The Moore Street Report — Securing History as its guide, the Moore Street advisory group, of which the Deputy is a member and whose support for the process I greatly appreciate, is currently engaged in discussions with the new owners of the Dublin Central site about the implementation of these recommendations and the future of the site surrounding the national monument. I was pleased to hear from the chair of the advisory group that the discussions are progressing positively.


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