Foster arts and culture by bringing Ireland in line with average EU spending on culture.

Today, Wednesday 29th January, Sarah Durcan and Gary Gannon, Social Democrats candidates in Dublin Bay South and Dublin Central respectively,  launch the Party’s Arts and Culture manifesto for the general election and commit to increasing Arts and Culture spending to the EU average over the next five years.

Party GE candidate for Dublin Bay South, Sarah Durcan, a leading member of the Waking The Feminists movement and former board member of the Abbey Theatre, says that Ireland has an international reputation for a rich and vibrant arts and cultural sector yet it suffers as a result of a lack of investment and the foresight to encourage creativity.

Sarah Durcan said:
“For too long the arts have been side-lined and suffered chronic underinvestment. Ireland has the lowest levels of arts funding as a percentage of GDP.  We must support Ireland’s arts sector to enable artists to make ambitious work and make a decent living, and to ensure that everyone in Ireland has access to arts and cultural activities.

“Arts and culture underpin the very essence of who we are as well fostering our collective wellbeing, creativity, and social cohesion. We will invest in our arts and culture and increase arts funding to bring it in line with EU averages over the next five years.

The Social Democrats are also calling for the establishment of a new system of rates for creative spaces that would afford a special rate to spaces designated for creative/arts purposes. The party says it would also like to see a ‘rates holiday’ for new creative projects as they try to get off the ground.

Cllr Gary Gannon, Dublin Central candidate and chair of Dublin City’s Arts and Culture committee said:

“There is a dearth of vibrant spaces for creative people to come together and create the magic that we all benefit so immensely from.  It requires a fundamental mindset shift – one that is centred on fostering and encouraging artistic and creativity.  Providing the spaces for that creativity to flourish in an affordable way is a vital step.

“We must place arts at the heart of education, public policy, and economic thinking. We believe that arts and culture can have a positive transformative effect in achieving a more equitable society. That’s why we’ve worked to ensure that our policy promotes equity, inclusion, diversity and accessibility.”

29th January 2020

1. Arts and Culture: Arts at the Heart of Irish Life is available here.
2. The Social Democrats are running 20 candidates across the country in GE2020

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