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Minister Humphreys prioritises culture and rural Ireland in Budget 2017

The Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, has today (Tuesday) announced increases in funding across a range of arts and heritage bodies under her Department’s remit, as well as increases in a number of rural schemes under Budget 2017. The Minister has said that Budget 2017 will allow her Department to build on the positive legacy of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, while also delivering for rural communities across the country.

Key highlights of Budget 2017 include:
· An additional €5 million for the Arts Council, an 8% increase in its annual budget;
· Boosts in funding for all of the National Cultural Institutions;
· €2 million to allow for the opening of the newly restored historic wings at National Gallery of Ireland and the opening of Killarney House on foot of significant capital investment by the State;
· An increase of €2 million for the Irish Film Board and €1 million for Culture Ireland;
· An additional €1 million to assist the Heritage Council with its work;
· Funding of €5 million for implementation of Culture 2025/Ireland 2016 Legacy Programme;
· A trebling in funding for the Town and Village Regeneration Scheme (€12m in total for 2017);
· An additional €8 million for National Rural Development Schemes, including €5 million for the recently re-opened CLÁR Programme; and
· €40 million for the delivery of the LEADER Rural Development Programme in 2017

Speaking today Minister Humphreys said:
“Through Budget 2017, I am determined to build on the positive legacy of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme by providing increases in funding to the key institutions and agencies under my remit which deliver arts and culture to people right across the country.

“As committed to in the Programme for a Partnership Government, the Arts Council and the Irish Film Board are both receiving funding increases for 2017. The additional funding of €5 million for the Arts Council will allow the Council to continue to enhance support to artists and arts organisations around the country on both a small and large scale, from locally-based groups to the Abbey Theatre.

“The increased allocation for the Irish Film Board will provide further vital support to the Irish film industry and allow them to build on the unprecedented level of success enjoyed in 2016. All of our National Cultural Institutions will receive a boost in funding in 2017, including €1.7 million for the National Gallery, which will allow it to open its recently restored Milltown and Dargan wings. The expansion project, which has received more than €30 million in State investment, has transformed the Gallery into a world class exhibition space, and represents a hugely exciting new chapter for this outstanding cultural institution.

“I have also secured €5 million in funding to deliver a Culture 2025/Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme legacy initiative, further details of which will be announced in the coming weeks. It will focus on boosting cultural provision and participation in communities and harnessing the goodwill and very positive public engagement generated by the successful delivery of our ambitious and diverse commemorative programme during 2016.

“All of the measures to support art, culture and film re-affirm the commitment of this Government to progressively increase funding for the arts as the economy improves and also reflect the importance attached to promoting and supporting our artistic and cultural strengths, and supporting jobs in our creative industries.

“Budget 2017 also includes important increases across a range of schemes which will benefit people living and working in rural Ireland. As committed to in the Programme for a Partnership Government, an enhanced Town and Village Regeneration Scheme will be delivered in 2017. I am trebling funding for the scheme, bringing it to €12 million in 2017. This will allow for local business and Local Authorities to enhance amenities and facilities that improve the quality of life for rural dwellers.

“I also intend to run a pilot scheme in 2017 to encourage increased residential occupancy in town and village centres. Funding is also made available for preparations for the roll-out of broadband in rural Ireland from 2017. The increase in funding of almost 20% for the Heritage Council will benefit communities in rural Ireland and the Built Heritage Investment Scheme will also operate again in 2017.

“While these initiatives will individually make a positive contribution to rural development, it is their combined impact, along with other initiatives across Government, which will make a real and sustainable difference to rural Ireland. I will shortly be publishing an Action Plan for Rural Development, which will co-ordinate and provide an overarching structure for rural development across the whole of Government.”

Minister of State for Regional Development Micheal Ring TD said:
“I have prioritised increased investment in our National Rural Development Schemes under Budget 2017, to ensure these schemes continue to have a positive impact on both the rural economy and the social and cultural development of rural Ireland.

“Just last week I announced the reopening of the very popular CLÁR programme. The scheme will run again in 2017, with an increased allocation of €5 million. This will pump money directly into rural communities across the country. The combined impact of this scheme and other rural schemes run by this Department will have a tangible and positive impact on rural areas.

“This year’s budget allocation will also allow for the opening of Killarney House in Killarney National Park, as well as the continued operation and management of all our national parks and nature reserves, which are such an important asset for our tourism sector. Killarney House has received significant State investment and the increased funding in this year’s Budget will allow the House to open its doors to the public.”

Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and the islands, Seán Kyne TD said:
“The Department will continue to prioritise the support of the Irish language and the sustainable development of our island communities in 2017. Funding allocations for Gaeltacht Support Schemes and Irish Language Support Schemes are both being increased for next year. Funding is also being increased for the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language, which will allow for this essential strategy to be further progressed in the year ahead.

“Údarás na Gaeltachta, which provides critical support for enterprises in Gaeltacht areas, will receive an allocation of €3.25 million for its current programme expenditure and maintain its capital allocation of €6.687 million, which, together with an extra capital allocation of €2.4 million which I have secured for it this year, will allow the agency to continue to support job creation in Gaeltacht areas.”


Notes to Editors:

2016 Commemorations Funding:
In 2016, once off funding of approximately €49 million was allocated to the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme under the Department’s Arts, Culture and Film section; approximately €18 million in current funding and €31 million in capital.
This capital funded once off projects including the new visitor centre at the GPO, Richmond Barracks, the Kevin Barry Rooms at the National Concert Hall and the Athenaeum in Wexford.
Minister Humphreys has retained the majority of the €18 million current funding for 2017, which is now part of the baseline for the Arts division of the Department, meaning it will be available for future years.

Funding for the National Cultural Institutions:
The National Gallery of Ireland will receive an allocation of €1.5 million to facilitate the opening of its newly restored wings, following a major expansion project.

In addition, an extra €2 million is being allocated across the Cultural Institutions, which breaks down as follows:

Current Capital Total
National Gallery of Ireland €200k €200k
National Museum of Ireland €500k €150k €650k
National Library of Ireland €250k €50k €300k
National Archives of Ireland €200k €200k
National Concert Hall €150k €100k €250k
Irish Museum of Modern Art €200k €200k
Crawford Gallery €100k €100k
Chester Beatty Library €100k €100k
Total Increase €1,700k €300k €2,000k

Funding for Rural Development:
Funding for the Rural Development division of the Department has increased by 29%, when compared to the 2016 baseline (from €61.2 million to €79.2 million). This will allow for increased funding for the key rural schemes administered by this Department, and will also complement the broader work of the Department, much of which has a positive impact on rural Ireland.