Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Arts and Heritage Niamh Smyth TD has expressed her disappointment at the meagre increase in the Arts Council budget detailed in Budget 2020.
Deputy Smyth commented, “Budget 2020 represents a dismal budget for artists. The Arts Council is the primary vehicle for funding of artists in this State. It was established by statute to do this. Budget 2020 provides for an increase in the Arts Council budget by a mere €5m. €3.75m of this is “reallocated” from within the Department’s existing finance therefore, the increase in funding to the Arts Council is just €1.75m.
“This is an increase of less than 2%. It is difficult to see how this level of increase could possibly accord with the Taoiseach’s commitment to “double funding for arts and culture” within seven years.
“Earlier this year, the review of pay and conditions by the Theatre Forum was published. The findings of that review, whilst perhaps not surprising were nevertheless, depressing. The review sheds light on the fact that even some of our best-known and loved artists do not earn anything close to a living wage and are unable to sustain their careers.
“Due to the limited employment opportunities of artists, many of them make too few or no PRSI and voluntary pension contributions meaning that benefits, maternity, parental and sick leave are beyond reach. The Budget fails to address these issues in any meaningful way and as such this Government is continuing to fail our arts community,” concluded Deputy Smyth.