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Written Answers. - Funding Responsibilities of Arts Council.

Tuesday, 8 October 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 469 No. 5

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 49. Ms Keogh Information on Helen Catherine Anne Keogh Zoom on Helen Catherine Anne Keogh  asked the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht Information on Michael D. Higgins Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  the funding responsibilities of his Department vis-à-vis the funding responsibilities of the Arts Council in respect of capital projects and revenue funding. [17695/96]

Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht (Mr. M. Higgins): Information on Michael D. Higgins Zoom on Michael D. Higgins There is a clear distinction between the funding responsibilities of my Department and An Chomhairle Ealaíon.

An Chomhairle Ealaíon is an independent statutory body set up in 1951 and which operates under the Arts Acts, 1951 and 1973. Its funding is provided for in Vote 44 of the Book of Estimates and in 1996 amounts to £18.4 million. One of the principal functions of an Chomhairle set out in the Arts Act, 1951, is to “co-operate with and assist any other persons concerned directly or indirectly with matters relating to the arts, and the assistance may include payments by the council upon such terms and conditions as they think fit”. The assistance which may be offered by An Chomhairle to persons involved in the arts is in the main revenue funding, although An Chomhairle also provides capital funding to a limited number of [1488] arts organisations. These capital moneys — estimated at £1 million in 1996 — are allocated in the main towards the cost of developing small scale arts projects or for repairs and renewals to existing arts infrastructure.

In contrast funding for the arts for which my Department has responsibility relates mainly to capital projects and is financed through a combination of EU Structural Funds allocated under the Operational Programme for Tourism and matching Exchequer funding. With regard to revenue funding, my Department provides funding to the national cultural institutions such as the National Concert Hall and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. In addition, my Department is providing funding to CAFE (Creative Activity for Everyone) for the implementation of the Arts Awareness Intervention Scheme, a scheme which helps to support important local initiatives in the area of arts and culture with urban and rural marginalised communities. This particular scheme, because of its innovatory nature, does not at present come within the parameters of “excellence” that dictate the criteria applied by An Chomhairle to its funding decisions.

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