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.

Among the report’s key recommendations are:

· That the Government should establish a Department of Culture.

· That the Government give a commitment to match the European Union average of an investment of 0.6% of Gross Domestic Product in the arts, culture and heritage sectors by the midpoint of the Culture 2025 strategy.

· That the Government initiate a referendum to insert a specific and direct reference to arts, culture and heritage in Bunreacht na hÉireann that would articulate, acknowledge and champion the role and value of arts, culture and heritage in Irish society.

· That the Minister introduce legislation: to vindicate the right of every citizen to cultural expression and cultural access; to vindicate the right to pursue a creative / artistic career without institutional discrimination; to ensure that artists are placed in a better position relative to the industry when concluding contracts, to ensure fair compensation for creative content that truly respects the creators for their work; to protect the Cultural Rights of the Child; and to amend the Arts Act to include Artists and Cultural Rights.

· That the Minister, in co-operation with her counterpart in the Northern Ireland Assembly establish a committee of representatives from relevant agencies and Government Departments from both jurisdictions in Ireland to work towards better co-operation in terms of project co-ordination and the strategic development of arts, culture and heritage policy.

Senator Fintan Warfield said:

“Culture 2025 is a historic opportunity and should embed – at the highest levels of Government – the understanding that cultural value is primarily intrinsic and that the intrinsic value manifests itself instrumentally in terms of well-being, creativity, innovation, enterprise, jobs, income, wealth, health, welfare, social capital, tourism, foreign-direct-investment, and more.

Culture 2025 should be built on the honest acceptance that the current structures and attitudes, developed piece-meal and over many years, are not adequately integrated, have not served us well, and may no longer be fit-for-purpose.

It should build on the best that we have achieved, and in order to do this we must acknowledge that not only will the State and its agencies have to change, but the sector itself will have to play its part if we are to achieve a meaningful co-operation over the next 10 years.

“This response to the framework document builds on the strengths of Culture 2025 and aligns those strengths with the strengths, concerns, and ideas expressed by the various stakeholders in their submissions to the Joint Committee for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.”

“It proposes necessary alterations to the framework document before it can move to final draft, and suggests an implementation plan.”