State support for the arts in the Republic of Ireland will reach its highest level in more than a decade in 2019, following the announcement of a 10% funding increase to €75 million (£65.7 million) in the Irish budget.
The figure falls short of an historic high of €83 million (£72.7 million) in 2007 but is being seen as a significant step towards Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s 2017 commitment to doubling government support for the arts within seven years.
Spending has been steadily increasing since reaching a low of €56.7 million (£49.7 million) in 2014 and follows a 5% uplift in Arts Council allocations in 2018.
Announcing the increase, culture minister Josepha Madigan said it “clearly demonstrates this government’s commitment to increase spending in the arts and culture sector on a trajectory that will see funding doubled by 2025”.
Arts Council chair Sheila Pratschke said: “This is a major increase in investment in the arts and demonstrates a genuine understanding by government of the important role of the arts in all our lives and in the life of the nation.”
She added: “The figure of €75 million allows the Arts Council to move forward with confidence, providing additional support to artists, enabling organisations to create work of excellence and allowing people across the country have access to high quality arts experiences.”