Updates

Senator Warfield urges early release of 1926 Census Returns

Senator Fintan Warfield has urged the Government to allow for the early release of the 1926 Census in order to put inestimable value, nuance and humanity on what are generally regarded as the most contested events in the foundation of the state.

Senator Fintan Warfield said:

“The early release of the 1926 Census returns has a pivotal role to play in expanding our knowledge of the most defining and contested events in modern Irish history, from the 1913 Lock Out through to the War of Independence, the partition of Ireland and subsequent civil war”.

Having argued [see memorandum on the Statistics (1926 Census Release) Bill 2017] for special heritage status to be afforded this hugely significant historical document, Senator Warfield says:

“It’s timely to remind ourselves that the value of the Census goes way beyond merely sating the curiosity of family and social historians in the manner of the hugely popular 1901 and 1911 census documents.

“By conferring on the 1926 Census a special heritage status and enabling its early release, we are acknowledging its critical historical and genealogical significance at what was a seminal time in our history.

“Access to the 1926 Census returns will put inestimable value, nuance and humanity on what are generally regarded as the most contested events in the foundation of the state.

“It’s beyond time that government embrace the spirit and imperative of the Statistics (1926 Census Release) Bill 2017 and afford Irish society a window into a unique chapter in our journey of self-determination.”

 

Ends

 

See further:

http://www.fintanwarfield.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Statistics-1926-Census-Release-Explanatory-Memorandum.pdf

 

Restoration of funding to culture has begun but Government are not on course to double funding in seven years

In response to Budget 2019, Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Arts Senator Fintan Warfield has welcomed the restoration of funding to cultural bodies and agencies but has called on the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to finally offer clarity about the government’s commitment to double arts funding by 2025.

Senator Warfield said:

“In 2017, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar committed to double arts funding over seven years. Two budgets later, the government have only increased spending on culture by 13.8% (from €130.2m to €148.2m), a long way off an increase of 100%.

“Minister Madigan said today that this budget demonstrates a realisation of that promise. But the figures simply do not back that up.

“Artists continue to be left devastated by austerity. According to CSO data, artists now earn 3.5% less income than they did in 2013.

“It is therefore critical for the Arts Council to ensure that the full 10% increase provided by Government is passed on to artists who have been making brilliant work, while struggling for years to make ends meet”.

Government must recognise the economic contribution of the arts, heritage, and audio-visual, and invest accordingly

In advance of Budget 2019, Sinn Féin Senator Fintan Warfield has called on Government to recognise the economic contribution of the arts, heritage, and audio-visual sectors and to significantly increase investment in the people and organisations that create this wealth.

Senator Fintan Warfield said:

“Together, the arts, heritage, and audio-visual sectors have a combined economic value of more than €4 billion and support 73,088 jobs.

“Despite the considerable impact of these sectors, the state continues to under invest in the people and organisations that create this wealth.

“Creativity is acknowledged as an economic driver; an essential input into business, economy and social policy, essential if we are to survive and thrive in a new economy.

“In our Alternative Budget 2019, Sinn Féin would significantly increase funding through existing channels, but more than that, we develop new funding policies that would ensure equality of access, opportunity and reward within the cultural sector.

“It is time for an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to make good on his commitment to double arts funding and to begin that process in the Budget next week.”

Vital amendment to archive digital works passed in the Seanad

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Arts, Youth Affairs and LGBTQI Rights Senator Fintan Warfield has welcomed the passing of a Sinn Féin amendment in the Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Bill 2018 to allow certain libraries to sweep and archive the ‘dot-ie’ domain, despite Government opposition.

Senator Warfield said:

“The amendment allows for the creation of a legal digital deposit, which would allow the National Library of Ireland and others to sweep the dot-ie domain and archive digital publications.

“This deposit is already established in as Britain and most other EU countries, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

“The absence of this deposit has created an ever-increasing hole in our national memory which will make the future understanding of our society difficult.

“This is a live issue as the average life of an individual web page is 100 days.

“I am glad to see common sense prevail and I look forward to see this proposal come to fruition”.

Warfield welcomes Minister’s statement on drug-safety testing at music festivals

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Arts, Youth Affairs and LGBTQI rights Senator Fintan Warfield has welcomed confirmation from the government that a stakeholder-led working group will be convened by the Department of Health to examine the provision of drug safety testing at music festivals and nightclubs in 2019.

Senator Warfield said:

“During a commencement debate today with Minister Catherine Byrne on the subject of drug safety testing, the Minister confirmed that a commitment to establish a working group to investigate best-practice in drug safety testing will commence in 2019.

“According to Eurobarometer poll in 2014, use of psychoactive drugs in this state among 15-24 year olds is the highest in Europe. This has become apparent at our music festivals where the use of MDMA, ecstasy, ketamine and cocaine are all common.

Harm reduction services at festivals should include drug-safety testing

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Youth Affairs, the Arts and LGBT rights, Senator Fintan Warfield has today commended the Ana Liffey Drug Project and Electric Picnic who will facilitate a harm-reduction service at Stradbally this weekend.

Senator Warfield said;

“The provision of educational materials on drugs and alcohol, as well as one-to-one advice and referrals are an important part of a health-led response to drug and alcohol use – but we can do more.

“Harm-reduction services at festivals should be allowed to include confidential drug safety testing facilities for festival goers who consider using drugs.

“Sinn Féin believe that the success of harm-reduction initiatives abroad that offer confidential drug safety testing at music festivals confirm the need for similar initiatives at Irish music festivals.

Dublin City Council must reverse the cancellation of International Literature Festival event

Senator and Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, Fintan Warfield has called on Dublin City Council to immediately move to withdraw their request that the International Literature Festival Dublin cancel an event called ‘Question of the Eighth’.

Senator Warfield said;

“It is of major concern that Dublin City Council would seek to interfere in the artistic and cultural independence of a literary festival. I am calling on Dublin City Council to respect the arms length principle, to withdraw their request and to allow the event to proceed.

Government should intervene to protect our orchestras

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Arts, Senator Fintan Warfield has welcomed the publication of a review that recommends that both the National Symphony Orchestra and the National Concert Orchestra should be retained.

Senator Warfield said:

“The funding issues involved within RTÉ, particularly involving the two orchestras, have been evident for some time. Voluntary redundancies have decimated both orchestras’ numbers.

“Therefore, it’s heartening to see the review recommend that funding be restored to its historical levels. The low staffing and funding have meant that the orchestras have not been able to undertake crucial roles in recent years, such as community outreach.

Government again have serious questions to answer over Creative Ireland

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Arts Senator Fintan Warfield has condemned the government for using taxpayers money that was earmarked for the arts, on advertorials.

Senator Warfield said:

“In December, following an FOI, Sinn Féin asked why the Creative Ireland initiative had spent 30% of its €4.4 million budget on marketing and PR, while less than 33% was spent on supporting cultural activity.

“This included €760,000 for media advertising, €330,000 for social media, and €192,000 to develop a number of websites.

Current artists’ welfare scheme is not fit for purpose

Sinn Féin Seanad spokesperson for the Arts Senator Fintan Warfield has called on Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan TD to completely redesign the Artists’ Social Welfare pilot after only 24 artists and writers have availed of the scheme to date.

Senator Warfield said:

“Artists, writers and performers should be supported to produce their work. While the artists’ social welfare pilot is very much a welcome initiative, the current pilot fails to recognise artists as self-employed and aligns itself closer to a jobseekers’ model of social welfare.

“In reality, there are few jobs for artists. There are none listed in the employment sections of our newspapers or online.

Only one-third of Creative Ireland budget spent on the arts

Sinn Féin Seanad spokesperson for the Arts Senator Fintan Warfield has called on the new Minister for Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD,  to clarify the excessive spending on marketing and PR in the Creative Ireland budget.

Senator Warfield said:

“Following a request from Sinn Féin, an FOI response shows that of the €4.4million spent on the Creative Ireland programme to date – less than 33% of the budget was spent on supporting cultural activity.

“This is in contrast to 30% or €1.325 million of the budget being spent on marketing. For example, €760,000 was spent on media advertising, €330,000 on social media, and €192,000 spent on developing two websites.