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Ireland’s Arts Council gets 8% funding boost

Arts Council of Ireland chair Sheila Pratschke Arts Council of Ireland chair Sheila Pratschke
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Ireland’s Arts Council has received an 8% boost to its funding from the Irish government as part of its recent budget.

The move has been hailed as “a major vote of confidence” by the arts organisation.

The Arts Council of Ireland has received a €5 million (£4.5 million) increase in the 2016/17 budget – equivalent to an 8% increase that will see its total funding rise next year to €65.1 million.

In total, the arts budget for 2016/17 is €158.3 million (£142.7 million), although this is down 16% on the previous year. However, the decrease was attributed to one-off capital funding allocated in the previous budget for projects marking the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising.

Welcoming the news, Arts Council chair Sheila Pratschke said: “This is a major vote of confidence in the Arts Council, in our new strategy Making Great Art Work and in the arts sector in Ireland.”

She added: “It also recognises the important contribution that the arts make to the lives of people across Ireland.”

The National Campaign for the Arts described the increases as “a modest uplift” and expressed concern that funding levels had not been maintained.

NCA chair Jo Mangan said: “There is strong disappointment coming from members who expected a significant increase from budget 2017 in order to make extraordinary art happen for the citizens of Ireland.”

She added: “At 0.1% of GDP, Ireland’s expenditure on arts and culture is at the bottom of the list of EU countries, which have an average of 0.6% [arts expenditure]. Surely this is something no country can condone.”

Disputing Mangan’s figures, arts minister Heather Humphreys said an accurate assessment of state funding of the arts was currently underway.

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