Both the Irish and Welsh arts sectors have been digesting news this week of funding cuts in 2014.
The Arts Council of Wales is having its budget cut by 3%, which its chairman Dai Smith sought to present as a good result in the face of the Welsh government’s reduced budget.
‘Funding reductions are never welcome,’ said Smith in a statement released by the ACW. ‘But under the circumstances, we are very pleased with this outcome and see it as an important signal of the Welsh government’s commitment to the arts and their role in supporting wider government policy.
‘We thank the Welsh government for this important vote of confidence in the creative value and potential of Wales’ artists and arts organisations. We look forward to demonstrating, through our partnerships across the arts in Wales, that this confidence is justified.’
Meanwhile, Ireland’s Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has announced a 7% cut to the budget it receives from the exchequer, amounting to a loss of €16.9m (c £14.3m) for the 2014 financial year. However, it is offset by a one-off pot of €17m lottery funding which is, however, earmarked for specific ‘job-rich initiatives’ including €6m (c £5.1m) for the Limerick National City of Culture.
Arts minister Jimmy Deenihan commented: ‘Just like in every department, I have had to make difficult choices when it comes to 2014. However, this budget is a really important step to strengthening our economy, exiting the bailout and creating jobs.
‘Even with a reduced departmental budget, every week more than €2.3m will be invested in arts, culture and film next year. Well over half of this ‒ €70m ‒ will go to the Arts Council and the Film Board. This will help to maintain and support the important role the arts play in innovation and expression as well as job creation and economic recovery.’