The arts are vital to both the cultural and economic well-being of the State and the Government must not take actions which would put the arts under threat.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil Galway East TD Micheál Kitt, who was speaking following the Government’s decision to vote against a Fianna Fáil motion on the protection of arts and culture.
“I am extremely disappointed the Government did not see fit to support our motion in the Dáil,” he said. “The arts sector is extremely important and Fianna Fáil will continue to raise these issues, particularly if the Government presses ahead with mergers that are not in the best interests of the sector.”
Dep Kitt is also calling on the Government to publish a cost benefit analysis of proposed changes to the sector including any merges of national cultural institutions.
“There is serious concern in the arts sector about proposals coming forward from Government on mergers and changes to governance structures,” he said. “It is essential any changes are fully debated and that representatives of the sector are involved.”
Dep Kitt pointed out that the arts makes an important contribution to employment and the economy in the State.
“The arts sector supports 79,000 jobs nationally and is contributing almost €5 billion to the economy, directly and indirectly,” he said. “The Galway Arts Festival brought in €17.5 million to the local economy in 2011. Studies and surveys show that for 70 per cent of visitors to Galway, the arts festival was a factor in their decision to come.”
Dep Kitt also called on the Minister for Arts, Jimmy Deenihan to release the €2.1 million in necessary funds to allow the Solas Galway Picture Palace project to proceed.