Dáil debates

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Financial Resolutions 2022 - Financial Resolution No. 6: General: Financial Resolution (Resumed)


6:05 pm

Photo of Jack ChambersJack Chambers (Dublin West, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I speak this evening on my own behalf and that of the Minister, Deputy Catherine Martin. Tá an-áthas orm deis a bheith agam labhairt leis an Teach faoin €1.142 billiún don Roinn seo atá i Meastacháin bhuiséid 2023 agus chun achoimre a thabhairt ar roinnt de na bearta a thacóidh le teacht aniar, forbairt agus fás na n-earnálacha a bhfuil freagracht orm astu.

Tá ról lárnach ag na hearnálacha a bhfreastalaíonn an Roinn seo orthu ar shaol laethúil agus ar thaipéis fhéiniúlacht na hÉireann. Bunaíonn comhlachtaí agus gníomhaíochtaí cultúir na hÉireann, cinn scríbe, nithe agus díol spéise turasóireachta na hÉireann, óstáin, tithe leapa agus bricfeasta, tithe tábhairne agus bialanna, ócáidí spóirt agus lúthchleasaithe na hÉireann, ardchaighdeán ábhar meán cumarsáide na hÉireann agus pobail Ghaeltachta na hÉireann na paraiméadair dúinn mar phobal coiteann agus cuireann siad go suntasach lenár bhfolláine fhisiciúil agus mheabhrach.

As we recover from the pandemic, we face the challenges presented by the economic situation, climate change and the war in Ukraine. We look to these sectors to continue to reinforce our resilience and mental fortitude but we must also ensure that these sectors continue to generate economic activity and contribute to the development and stability of the overall economy.

I will give details of the total 2023 funding for the sectors supported by the Department. There is an allocation of €214.7 million for tourism services. This funding will allow for continued additional funding of €15 million for overseas marketing of Ireland as a destination and the development of The Invitation project. It will also provide investment of €15 million in continued additional funding to support measures such as domestic marketing, investment in skills development and retention and long-term investment in the US College Football Classic series. Funding is also secured to allow Fáilte Ireland to continue its work in the area of sustainability. Other allocations include €36.5 million in capital funding for tourism product development for the continued delivery of enhanced visitor experiences in line with the national development plan, NDP.

Tourism businesses impacted by rising energy costs will also be able to avail of the Government's newly announced temporary business energy support scheme, with grants of up to €10,000 per month. Prior to the onset of Covid, the tourism industry generated revenue of almost €6 billion, supporting more than 260,000 livelihoods. That equates to one in ten of all Irish jobs. Irish tourism has had a strong year in 2022 but serious rebuilding lies ahead and, therefore, our primary focus is the consolidation of this industry in a post-Covid environment and the development and marketing of Ireland as a desirable and competitive destination for both overseas visitors and domestic tourists.

On arts and culture, we must remind ourselves of the context for funding last year. This was an unprecedented year for arts and culture, against the backdrop of the pandemic when extensive restrictions were in place. Survival was the primary focus. Thankfully, this has now changed. Against this context, however, record levels of funding have been maintained, with total funding for the arts and culture sector in 2023 amounting to €352.4 million. This budget provides for the retention of the record €130 million for the Arts Council, in recognition of the transformational impact of this funding. It also provides an additional €10 million to fund the basic income for the arts pilot scheme, a three-year €105 million scheme involving 2,000 artists and creative arts workers that aims to support each beneficiary in developing and sustaining a professional arts practice with a payment of €325 a week for three years. Some €7 million is being provided in additional capital funding for artists' spaces. An allocation of €3 million is being made to develop, oversee and manage a new archive and exhibition space as part of the overall national centre for research and remembrance. Provision is also being made for income tax relief for areas of cultural heritage, such as uilleann pipe makers and harp makers. A further €6 million has been allocated for the night-time economy to support performances and eight night-time advisers.

Funding for the media and broadcast sector in 2023 will total €306.3 million. This represents an unprecedented and innovative package of supports right across the sector, from local newspapers to audiovisual media services. In particular, it provides €7.5 million for the establishment of coimisiún na meán, the media commission that will oversee effective regulation of online safety, support the provision of high-quality public service broadcasting and put in place an expanded development and support framework for the wider media sector. These commissioners will be selected by November of this year. The recommendations of the Future of Media Commission are being implemented, including the introduction of a new media fund of €6 million, which will enable supports to be provided to the entire media sector on a platform-neutral basis. Our changes to VAT on newspapers and digital publications will also support the sector and thereby help support jobs, production and independent journalism.

Some €15 million for public service broadcasting, to provide interim support for RTÉ in 2022 through the licence fee mechanism, has also been agreed. The provision of an additional €7.3 million in 2023 will enable TG4 to better serve our Irish-speaking communities right across the country. We are particularly pleased to announce that this includes the development of a new Irish language channel for children, a really exciting development that recognises the importance of fostering engagement with their national language from the earliest years of childhood. TG4 will launch a new dedicated children's channel, Cúla4. This will be a totally new channel operating from morning until evening and will include a children's news service, entertainment, educational content, drama and Irish animation, and will reflect the diverse backgrounds of children living in all parts of Ireland but particularly in Gaeltacht and Irish-speaking communities. Its development will also support new jobs.

Regarding cost-of-living challenges, we are pleased to see funding provided to address the impact of energy bills on not-for-profit and voluntary organisations. A sum of €60 million will be provided for arts, sport, Gaeltacht and community organisations. In particular, €35 million was secured between myself and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to help support sports clubs and organisations right across the country with rising energy costs. This will help with floodlight costs, heating gyms and sports halls and a range of other energy costs. Details are being finalised as to how this will operate and engagement with the sectors will occur in the coming weeks.

Tá mé sásta méadú 10% ar mhaoiniú d’earnáil na Gaeltachta a thuairisciú, arb ionann an leithdháileadh iomlán do 2023 agus €94.2 milliún. Úsáidfear an maoiniú méadaithe seo chun na héachtaí a baineadh amach go dtí seo, a d’eascair as cur chun feidhme Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla (Leasú), 2021, a fhorbairt tuilleadh, béim a chur orthu agus pobail na Gaeltachta a fhorbairt agus a chothú. Leis an maoiniú breise in 2023, déanfar foráil do leithdháileadh €1 milliún chun dlús a chur le cur chun feidhme Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla (Leasú), 2021, d’fhonn spriocanna uaillmhianacha earcaíochta a leagtar amach ann a bhaint amach. Beidh leithdháileadh breise €1.75 milliún ann do scéimeanna tacaíochta Gaeilge na Roinne, a n-úsáidfear chun tús a chur le cur chun feidhme an phlean dhigitigh don Ghaeilge agus na straitéise do na healaíona atá teanga-bhunaithe, atá le foilsiú go luath. Cuirfear maoiniú breise €2.5 milliún ar fáil do scéimeanna tacaíochta Gaeltachta na Roinne, a n-úsáidfear go príomha chun tacaíocht bhreise a thabhairt d’earnáil na gcoláistí samhraidh Gaeilge agus chun cur le bearta um chuimsiú sóisialta a bhaineann le teanga. Beidh maoiniú méadaithe arb ionann é agus €1.3 milliún ann d’Údarás na Gaeltachta agus d’Fhoras na Gaeilge d’obair na n-eagraíochtaí seo i dtacaíocht a thabhairt do phobal na Gaeltachta agus d’earnálacha foilsitheoireachta na Gaeilge faoi seach.

I am also pleased to announce a 2023 provision of €174.8 million for sports and recreational services. This allocation will provide for measures such as an additional €8 million for Sport Ireland, which will enable continued support for our high performance system in the lead-up to the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games. It will also allow for the ongoing implementation of key actions in the sports action plan, including completion of a national swimming strategy and the development of a new coaching fund for national governing bodies of sport, as well as increasing core funding for national governing bodies. We will also enhance the roll-out of the SportForAll initiative to facilitate increased opportunities to play and participate for all people, regardless of ability, age or background. We will continue the development of the Sport Ireland campus in Blanchardstown to deliver world-class, state-of-the-art sporting infrastructure and facilities for high performance athletes and the public. The 2023 funding for the sports capital and equipment programme stands at €34.5 million, which builds on the €150 million we allocated earlier this year, while funding for the large-scale sports infrastructure fund has also been progressed to ensure that our sports infrastructure throughout the country can continue to grow and develop to meet the ever-increasing demand in this area.

Tá mé cinnte go dtosóimid an bhliain 2023 le fuinneamh, dóchas, agus saothar macánta nua, a bheidh neartaithe ag tionscal turasóireachta láidrithe, earnáil bheo ealaíon agus cultúir, earnáil spóirt lena gcuirtear le rath méadaithe idirnáisiúnta, timpeallacht ina leagtar béim ar rannpháirtíocht níos mó leis an nGaeilge, agus earnáil meán cumarsáide níos sábháilte agus níos dinimiciúla.


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