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.

“Artists are struggling to make ends meet, and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has yet to set out a roadmap outlining how his Government will double arts funding.

“To see the Department spend excessively on marketing initiatives, rather than supporting artists, is deeply concerning. One has to ask, is Creative Ireland currently a window dressing exercise for the Department?”

“The Creative Ireland budget will be increased from €4.4 million to €8.5 million in 2018. Minister Josepha Madigan must ensure that such an increase has a real and genuine impact on cultural activity, and an impact on the lived experience of our artists.”