Updates

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”.

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.

Budget 2018 increases in Arts and Culture ‘meagre’ and ‘unambitious’

Sinn Féin Seanad spokesperson for the Arts Senator Fintan Warfield has described the Budget 2018 measures relating to the arts and culture ‘meagre’ and ‘unambitious’.

Senator Warfield said:

“Despite promises made from by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that the government would double funding for the arts over seven years, the cultural budget for 2018 received a paltry 6% increase.  The same budget was decimated by Fine Gael at the helm of the last government and now is the time to start returning effective investment that stands up for artists and audiences alike.

Sinn Féin call for an Artists Studio Spaces Scheme in Budget 2018

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, youth affairs and LGBTQI rights, Senator Fintan Warfield has called on the government to initiate a capital project in Budget 2018, for the development of an ‘Artist Studio Spaces Scheme’.

Such a scheme would develop State owned cultural infrastructure that offers security of tenure to artists across the country.

Senator Fintan Warfield said:

“Sinn Féin believes that designers, musicians, dancers, visual artists, web developers, and performers can and should be offered insulation from the commercial rental market and that such security of tenure can be provided through affordable, State owned spaces, rented to artistic tenants for short and long term tenancies that ensure fairness in access.

It is time to stand up for artists and audiences in Budget 2018

In advance of Budget 2018, Sinn Féin Seanad spokesperson for the Arts Senator Fintan Warfield has called on the government to enhance investment in the cultural sector.

In the Sinn Féin Alternative Budget 2018, proposals include:

  • An increased investment of €6.5 million in the Arts Council. (10% increase)
  • An increased investment of €0.5 million in Culture Ireland. (14% increase)
  • An increased investment of €4 million in the National Cultural Institutions. (10% increase)
  • An increased investment of €2 million in the Irish Film Board. (15% increase)
  • A funding increase for Heritage (including Moore Street and Cultúrlann) of €5.25million.
  • Implementation of a new Artist Studio Space Scheme worth €5 million.
  • Development of a National Youth Arts Strategy with an implementation programme worth €5 million.

Sinn Féin call for Youth Arts Strategy in upcoming budget

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, youth affairs and LGBTQI rights, Senator Fintan Warfield today launched Sinn Féin’s ‘Standing up for Young People’ pre-budget alternative alongside Deputies John Brady and Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire.

Sinn Féin is committed to the development of a National Youth Arts Strategy which would promote participation, progression and provision of the arts for young people over three years.

Senator Warfield said:

“Young people must be seen as artists and participants in their own right rather than as audiences or future artists.

Committee report on ‘Culture 2025’ prioritises the rights of artists and equality of access for public

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, youth affairs and LGBTQI rights, Senator Fintan Warfield has welcomed to passing of the ‘Response to Culture 2025’ report by the Joint Committee for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

The report authored by Senator Warfield called for culture to be embedded at the heart of Government and for the State to acknowledge the rights of artists at the heart of policy.

National Cultural Institutions should repatriate loot and stolen treasures

Sinn Féin Senator Fintan Warfield has called on Government to direct the National Cultural Institutions to repatriate all identifiably stolen treasures and loot, stemming from Ireland’s colonial past.

Senator Warfield clarified that such material should only be returned following a national conversation, as well as the public display and independent survey of such collections, and provided that their final destination is safe and secure.

Speaking from Leinster House today, Senator Warfield said;

“It is vital that we re-imagine our National Cultural Institutions to ensure that they are inclusive and accessible to all, with increased regional outreach and digital responsibilities. Government must also increase staff numbers and opening hours and commence plans for a cutting edge storage facility to preserve access to digital and physical collections for future generations.