Alcohol companies scaremongering over cultural sponsorship cuts

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Arts, Youth Affairs and LGBTQI Rights Senator Fintan Warfield has called on the drinks industry to be honest when engaging in the debate on the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015. This week, the Alcohol Beverage Federation Ireland (ABFI) made claims that over €8.5 million would be cut from cultural events should the bill be enacted.

In response, Senator Warfield said:

“At no point in the Bill does it suggest any attempt to stifle alcohol sponsorship at cultural events. The Bill is aimed to limit the visibility of alcohol advertising to children and ensure advertising appears in a responsible fashion. There is absolutely no need for alcohol companies to hold the cultural sector to ransom. I noted at the recent Dublin Pride Festival, of the 27 sponsors, only one was an alcohol company.

Appointments to state boards must ensure a gender balance

Responding to the announcement from Arts Minister Heather Humphreys that she is to appoint nine individuals to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts Senator Fintan Warfield said in the Seanad today:

“Sinn Féin has noted the appointments to be made by Minister Heather Humphreys to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). The appointments will begin immediately and conclude in February 2017.

“Of the nine appointments, it is of major concern that only three of those appointments are women.

Warfield announces stop staffless libraries campaign

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, Senator Fintan Warfield has today announced a ‘Stop Staffless Libraries’ campaign, aiming to stop the use of staffless hours in public libraries.

Senator Warfield said:

“Staffless libraries devalue and threaten the place of our libraries as social, cultural, educational and economic focal points. Few other public spaces can boast such a diversity of service.

“Staffless libraries will erode the very service they provide and will not facilitate greater access to programming, classes, exhibits, or workshops.

Taoiseach’s cultural comments welcome, but actions speak louder than words

Sinn Féin Seanad spokesperson for the arts, youth affairs and LGBTQI rights, Senator Fintan Warfield has reacted to comments from An Taoiseach Enda Kenny who has admitted that this state has failed in the past to give the arts the support they deserve.

Senator Warfield said:

“While I welcome comments from An Taoiseach that acknowledge the reality of cultural poverty, actions speak louder than words. Only one month ago, the cultural budget was reduced by 16%.

“The 1916 centenary programme showcased Ireland’s wealth of talent, and the reality for many of those artists, across all forms, is a profession which does not support a living wage.

“Government must take certain responsibility for that and begin to build toward a creative environment where our talent can excel, live, work, and earn a living wage in a vibrant and diverse indigenous industry.

“Public bodies such as the Arts Council and the Irish Film Board all place a particular policy emphasis on the working environment of the artist. It is therefore not beyond the collective ability of Government as a whole to engage and address poverty across creative communities.”

Government must protect hedgerow wildlife

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Arts, Youth Affairs and LGBTQI rights, Senator Fintan Warfield speaking on today’s Heritage Bill in the Seanad says the proposed legislation will damage native Irish wildlife.

Senator Warfield said:

“Sinn Féin is opposed to the extension of the hedge cutting period, while providing a facility to permit farmers and landowners to continue to cut roadside hedgerows should they be a danger to road users.

“We believe the government’s bill as proposed may cause irreparable damage on Ireland’s flora and fauna.

“Sinn Féin is seeking to amend this bill to prevent any extension or derogation from the current hedge cutting period until sufficient research has been done in the area.”

Arts, culture and film fleeced again

Cuts of over €30 million to the programme areas of Arts, Culture and Film in amount to cultural vandalism.

Despite that overall reduction, Minister Heather Humphries announced increased funding to a number of state bodies. Those increases are to be welcomed.

Government must recognise the value of our film industry

Tomorrow, Government have the opportunity to begin a process of repair and re-investment in our cultural and arts communities. As a party spokesperson for the arts, I have had the pleasure of partaking in the preparation of Sinn Féin’s alternative budget submission.

A key part of Sinn Féin’s arts proposal is investment in the film industry.

Investment in the Irish film and television industry provides multiple economic and cultural benefits, far beyond the direct employment of on-set cast and crews.

We shot a video, detailing Sinn Féin’s fully-costed budget proposals for the arts

Unstaffed libraries: at what cost?

Yesterday, we drove out to the LexIcon library in Dún Laoghaire, to join library staff in expressing opposition to Council management policy that sees the introduction of staffless library hours on Sundays.

Unstaffed or staffless libraries undermine, devalue and threaten the recognised place of libraries as social, cultural, educational and economic focal points.

Few other spaces can boast such a diversity of service.

Unstaffed libraries will undoubtedly facilitate increased opening hours but will not increase accessibility in areas of programming, classes, exhibits, and workshops, and may signal further staff reductions in the cultural sphere.

Libraries in the absence of staff will begin to erode the very service they provide.

I encourage people to express their support for staff at dlr LexIcon library and for the protection of our library services.

Culture Night offers an insight into the potential of a republic of culture

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, youth affairs and LGBTQI rights, Senator Fintan Warfield, speaking from Sinn Féin’s away day in Co. Meath, claimed that Culture Night 2016 offers an insight into the potential of a republic of culture.

Senator Fintan Warfield said;

“Culture Night has become a significant, all-Ireland, national occasion in which cultural institutions open their doors, extend their hours and facilitate engagement with over 350,000 residents.

“Those numbers underline the high levels of public appreciation for cultural and creative activity. Culture is a public good and should therefore be readily available and supported passionately by both states on this island.

“Three thousand events will take place between 5pm and 11pm tomorrow evening, offering an insight into the kind of levels of cultural activity that citizens could expect from a republic of culture, a republic that truly cherishes the arts, its culture and heritage.

“Culture Night showcases our wealth of creative talent and it is of paramount importance that those artists and creators are well resourced and paid fairly for their work.

“Culture Night has also become an all-Ireland occasion, highlighting the positivity of cross border partnership, and the obvious potential for greater all-Ireland initiatives north and south”.

Local Authorities must realise the social contribution of street art

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, youth affairs and LGBTQI rights Senator Fintan Warfield has expressed concern and disappointment after Galway City Council ordered the removal of another mural from the streets of the city.

Senator Warfield said:

“Following reports by the Connacht Tribune, the removal of the William Street mural by Galway artist Finbar247 represents yet another instance where local authorities have defied public will and the wishes of the arts community.

“Major inconsistencies exist across our local authorities concerning street art policy.

“While Galway City Council and Dublin City Council have ordered the removal of murals in recent times, Waterford City has embraced local cultural activity by street artists, in recognition of its ability to reimagine an urban area.

Warfield regrets the removal of ‘Repeal the 8th’ mural

Sinn Féin spokesperson for the Arts, Youth Affairs and LGBTQI Rights Senator Fintan Warfield has expressed his regret after a warning notice, issued by the Planning Department in Dublin City Council, ensured the removal of the ‘Repeal the 8th’ mural at Project Arts Centre, Temple Bar.

Senator Warfield said;

“The ‘Repeal the 8th’ mural, its popularity and support, were manifestations of a societal consensus for a referendum to Repeal the 8th amendment.

“It is clear that the mural received an overwhelming level of support from the public. We have seen during the referendum for civil marriage equality that public art has the potential to empower citizens, to shape a narrative, and impact on the making of progressive, social change.

“I commend Project Arts Centre for showing leadership and providing the public space for citizens to engage this issue and I regret that Dublin City Council have forced the removal of the ‘Repeal the 8th’ mural.”

Capital of Culture 2020, Cinemobile, and the IFB

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.

Government should not proceed with state-wide tender for library stock

Senator and a Sinn Féin spokesperson for the arts, Fintan Warfield this afternoon urged Government not to proceed with the planned move to a state-wide tender for supply and stock of public libraries.

Speaking in Seanad Éireann this afternoon; Senator Warfield said:

“Our library services, supported by Local Authorities across the state, make an important contribution to our communities and have developed to facilitate and foster learning, creativity and inclusion.

“Government are currently planning one blanket, state-wide tender for the supply of literature and stock to public libraries.

Open letter to An Taoiseach outlines grave concern for arts policy – Senator Warfield

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.