Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Christopher O'Sullivan (Cork South West, Fianna Fail)
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1109. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she has considered funding of an industry assistance programme to cater for the mental health and well-being of event and arts workers during the Covid-19 crisis. [11445/20]

Photo of Josepha MadiganJosepha Madigan (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael)
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The Arts Council is the main Irish Government agency for developing the arts.  The Arts Council offers a wide range of financial supports across artforms and arts practices, including arts and health.

Arts and health embraces a range of arts practices occurring primarily in healthcare settings, which bring together the skills and priorities of both arts and health professionals. From an Arts Council perspective, good arts and health practice is characterised by a clear artistic vision, goals and outcomes. It aims to promote health and wellbeing by improving quality of life and cultural access in healthcare settings. Arts and health can involve all artforms, and incorporate a variety of approaches, including conventional arts production and presentation, arts participation and environmental enhancement. Further details of the Arts Council’s programmes can be accessed at this link: www.artscouncil.ie/Arts-in-Ireland/Arts-participation/Arts-and-health/.

The national arts and health website www.artsandhealth includes resource documents, case studies, a directory of contacts, perspectives on a range of issues and current news. The website is funded by the Arts Council as an important element of its Arts and Health Policy.

Helium Arts have developed a new Creative Health Hub model with support from Creative Ireland.  This aims to will bring their innovative, multidisciplinary creative projects to more children and teenagers across Ireland.  Further details can be accessed at this link. www.creativeireland.gov.ie/en/partners/helium-arts-creative-health-hub/.

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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1110. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the further developments regarding the need to provide adequate financial supports for the arts sector in view of the receipt of her correspondence of 30 April 2020 to this Deputy (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11492/20]

Photo of Josepha MadiganJosepha Madigan (Dublin Rathdown, Fine Gael)
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As Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht I recognise that COVID-19, and the public health measures necessary to slow the spread of the virus, have had an unprecedented effect on the cultural sector. The response of the Government has been to introduce measures to support workers and businesses affected by the COVID-19 that apply to all sectors of the economy, including those who work in the culture sector.  On 22 May, I published a comprehensive booklet on the supports available to the art sector and this is available at this link:

www.chg.gov.ie/app/uploads/2020/05/covid-19-support-and-information-for-the-arts-sector.pdf.

In addition, I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the Taoiseach and I today  announced €25 million in extra supports to help the Arts and Culture sector recover from the Covid19 Emergency in 2020.  The funding will include bursaries and commissions to artists and arts organisations, and resources for museums and culture workers as they prepare for the re-opening of society. This is additional to  funding previously allocated to the sector.

A total of €20 million will be allocated to the Arts Council bringing its allocation this year to €100 million.  A further €5 million will be available for other measures, including securing the future of key cultural and museum spaces and facilities throughout Ireland, and the production of high-quality digital art and on-line performances.

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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1111. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if full refunds will be made in respect of the cancellation of Gaeltacht courses in view of the cancellation of same for summer 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11495/20]

Photo of Seán KyneSeán Kyne (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy will be pleased to learn that I recently approved a once-off emergency measure worth €4.7m to support the stabilisation of the Gaeltacht Irish summer college sector.

The measure follows the cancellation, on 20th April 2020, of Irish summer college course by my Department in the interests of protecting public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the stabilisation package which has been approved, up to €3.1m will be directed at supporting the college authorities to refund fees/deposits to parents in full while a further €1.6m is being allocated towards supporting the c. 700 certified Gaeltacht householders who normally keep students attending one of the recognised 42 colleges during the summer months.

The stabilisation fund is being provided as a specific once-off measure with the overall objective of ensuring the ongoing viability of the sector - thereby enabling it to continue to contribute to the systematic effort being made to support the language and Gaeltacht regions in line with the overarching objectives of the Government’s 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030 and the accompanying Plean Gníomhaíochta 2018-2022 (5-Year Action Plan for the Irish Language 2018-2022).

My Department will continue to engage with the sector, namely the relevant college authorities as well as the Gaeltacht households recognised under the Department's Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge in order to administer the application process over the coming weeks.

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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1112. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the expected date non-resident travel to offshore islands can resume under the reopening roadmap. [11534/20]

Photo of Seán KyneSeán Kyne (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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In accordance with the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business, only those resident on the islands and those providing essential services are permitted to travel to and from the islands until 10 August 2020.  These restrictions are still in place, pending the expected publication of revised guidance.

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