In an open letter to An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Senator Fintan Warfield has expressed grave concern regarding the attitude and approach this Government have taken to the arts.

Setting out his concern for the current arts policy, Senator Warfield queried the implications of the decision to broaden the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, as well as the decision to overlook the arts when appointing Junior Ministers yesterday evening.

Senator Warfield said;

“Of 42,000 words, 650 are dedicated to the arts, making up 1.5% of the Programme for Government.

“As a former tour musician, I understand acutely what it means for ones work to go unrecognised or undervalued. Collectively, artists across this state are now making their voices heard in opposition to a public policy direction that in my eyes creates a cultural atmosphere that is inert rather than dynamic.

“Taken in our time, the principles defined by the women and men of Easter Week 1916, promote a cultural policy with a republican spirit – a truly social, civic and democratic endeavour. Those volunteers were cultural as much as political activists.

“In advance of Budget 2017, the National Campaign for the Arts have proposed that all monies ring-fenced for the 2016 Centenary Programme be retained within the remit of Heather Humphries as Minister. I believe this to be a reasonable request, and have asked An Taoiseach to give due consideration to this proposal.

“The arts community have spoken, now is the time for the political system to listen.