Speaking in Seanad Éireann today, Senator Fintan Warfield requested the presence of Minister Heather Humphries in order to address the Seanad at the earliest opportunity.

Senator Warfield, a Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, raised a number of issues including Galway – European Capital of Culture 2020, the closure of the not-for-profit Cinemobile, and budget funding for the Irish Film Board.

Senator Fintan Warfield said;

“Having lived in Galway while studying film and television and playing at music sessions across town, it comes as no surprise that Galway’s cultural landscape has been recognised by the European Union.

“A vibrant economy and an open and healthy democracy all depend on a diverse and enriched creative and cultural atmosphere”.

Senator Warfield also raised the closure of Ireland’s only mobile cinema experience. After sixteen years, significant steps to boost commercial revenue ultimately failed to match both their organisational needs and the consistent erosion of public funding.

“Cinemobile was a small, not-for-profit organisation, which brought the magic of screen to communities across this island, north and south. Compare the benefits of Netflix to the benefits of communal viewing and social occasion.

“The result of a mobile cinema, free from the confines of four static and sterile walls, was a democratic form of art, greater outreach, and a more diverse experience for citizens who engaged with it.

“I want to commend the founders of Cinemobile and those who have committed their time to it over the past 16 years. It has brought joy and the magic of screen to thousands of people”.

Finally, Senator Warfield requested the presence of Minister Heather Humphries in the Seanad chamber at the earliest opportunity in order to update political representatives of budget preparations for the arts.

“Minister Heather Humphries has yet to come before this house to discuss arts policy and I request the Ministers’ presence in the chamber to detail the progress her department are making in terms of budget provision and preparation concerning the Irish Film Board and the arts sector as a whole.

“Irish film and television has endured huge austerity since 2008, with cuts of 50% to funding. The Irish Film Board supports the indigenous film, television and drama industry, and importantly, the creative development and skills of those working in the sector – a critical factor when supporting international productions who come to Ireland”.