The Irish Government has announced an additional €25 million to support the country’s arts and culture sector in its recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and culture minister Josepha Madigan confirmed a special financial package to assist the sector’s reopening as well as bursaries and commissions to help create new work.
The Arts Council will receive €20 million, while the remaining €5 million will go towards helping cultural organisations and museum secure their futures. It will also include a funding pot to create new digital work.
Varadkar said he wanted to show his commitment to Irish artists and institutions and described the funding as a reflection of the crucial role played by culture in society.
He said: "Over the last few months we have had many days of sorrow and suffering. In times like this we see the true value of culture to society – the books, the films, the songs, the plays – all the different forms of culture that entertain as well as enlighten.
"The pandemic hasn’t been easy for our artists and cultural institutions and I know their livelihoods have been hit hard. So many events have been cancelled, so many places have been forced to close. The government wants to recognise how important culture is to our lives and it wants to match its words with actions."
The Arts Council will manage the new bursaries and commissions facilitated by the funding, including support for freelance artists and development funding for creative collaborations.
Work is also being carried out by the government and Ireland’s cultural institutions into how the sector can recover and reopen, with plans for joint meetings "to discuss how to protect and sustain the arts and culture sector through the Covid-19 recovery and beyond".
Madigan added: "My department has been engaged in extensive consultation with cultural bodies – the Arts Council, arts organisations and individual artists and arts practices – since the commencement of the Covid-19 crisis.
"I am very aware of the challenges that artists have faced and also of the hugely important role that they have played in sustaining all of us in recent months. Many challenges lie ahead but the government is determined to ensure that we have a vibrant arts and culture sector into the future."