3m Increase for NI Arts

29th January 2008 by Maura McHugh

According to The Stage the arts in Northern Ireland have obtained a £3 million boost in funding after a protest campaign against the original inadequate budget.

The announcement comes after a several years of “chronic under-funding” and a proposal in the Assembly’s draft budget that arts council chairman Rosemary Kelly described as “tantamount to sounding a death knell over large areas of arts activity”. The new allocation of £7.55 million for 2008/11 represents a 67% increase on the original sum proposed for the period and includes £1.7 million for the year ahead.

While welcoming the new money, arts council chief executive Roisin McDonough also noted that the allocation still fell short of the funding necessary for Northern Ireland’s arts sector to achieve parity with its British and Irish neighbours.

“It means we are now in a better position to look after the needs of our core organisations,” she said. “But the additional £1.7 million for 2008/9, while certainly an improvement, won’t be enough to sustain all of our clients and falls well short of the extra £9 million per annum needed to help us to develop a truly healthy and vibrant arts sector.”

The finance minister, Peter Robinson, also announced a £5 million Creative Industries Seed Fund that will be administered by the Arts Council.

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