Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
I have met with the new Director of the Arts Council remotely on a number of occasions including 15 April, 21 April and again on 1 May.
In addition, officials from my Department are in ongoing contact with the Arts Council and as well as with a broad range of sectorial stakeholders including resource organisations, advocacy groups as well as individual artists and arts practices.
The Council has undertaken a detailed survey of arts organisations to identify the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on audiences, employment and finances for March, April and May as well as a survey of artists seeking information of the economic impact on individual artists.
My Department has worked with the Arts Council from an early stage in the COVID-19 crisis, on measures to sustain our cultural infrastructure, support artists and arts practitioners and ensure the ongoing provision of cultural services. Following a meeting I convened on 12 March with the Arts Council, the national cultural institutions and Screen Ireland, the Arts Council announced a series of immediate measures, including an undertaking to honour all funding commitments made to organisations and allow grantees to draw down up to 90% of their funding commitment.
In the context of the wider cultural sector, officials from my Department are continuing to work with the Arts Council as well as other parts of Government, to assess and measure the effects of COVID-19 on the cultural sector and continue to plan how best to manage through this crisis.