Tuesday, 21 June 2022
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
211. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the progress that has been made on the Government commitment to supporting a green recovery in the cultural and creative sector, in particular the events industry, assisting it in becoming a more sustainable, low-carbon industry, lowering the associated emissions, and developing an indigenous market for climate-friendly solutions for the sector; if she will provide details of the dates, times and attendees at any meetings relating to the proposed green cultural and creative recovery since June 2020; and the metrics, if any, that are being used by the Department to measure the success or otherwise of this policy commitment. [32162/22]
212. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if her Department is engaged in measuring the sustainability, carbon output and emissions of the cultural and creative sector, including the events industry. [32163/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 211 and 212 together.
My Department published an ambitious programme of actions in the Climate Action Plan 2021 that will improve sustainability across the culture and creative sectors. Implementation of the actions in the Climate Action Plan is monitored quarterly, allowing for the measurement of the progress in improving the sustainability of the sectors under my remit.
The Plan contains a number of actions to assist the cultural and creative sector to measure and lower its carbon output. The recently completed Greening Arts Centres pilot project provided 7 Arts Venues with sustainability and capacity-building support to reduce their carbon footprints. The latest round of the Cultural Capital Scheme 2019-2022 prioritised projects that will support Arts and Culture organisations’ efforts to reduce their carbon footprints, with 27 out of 44 projects funded including specific sustainability measures, e.g. upgrading windows, insulating buildings, and installing LED lighting. Other actions to be completed in 2022 include a review of international climate action in the cultural sector with a view to developing a green certification scheme for the cultural sector, and the launch of a sustainable outdoor events charter by Fáilte Ireland to improve the environmental performance of the events sector.
In addition to its actions under the Climate Action Plan, my Department and the public bodies under its remit have been working to embed sustainability into their activities to support the green transition of the creative, cultural and events sectors.
For instance, as part of the 2021 review of the National Development Plan, an assessment of the climate impact of investment decisions was conducted. Under the revised National Development Plan my Department will work to reorient its capital schemes to deliver on the ambition of the Climate Action Plan and include carbon costs as part of its appraisal processes for the redevelopment of the National Cultural Institutions and investments in Regional Cultural Infrastructure.
The Screen Greening Coalition which comprises the BAI, RTÉ, Screen Ireland, Screen Producers Ireland, TG4 and Virgin Media Ireland jointly funded the adaptation of the Albert Carbon Calculator for use in Ireland. The Albert Carbon Calculator is specifically designed for programme making and is used by other broadcasters internationally to measure their carbon emissions. TG4 made the use of the Albert Carbon Calculator mandatory for all productions in January 2021, and RTÉ’s Cláracha Gaeilge has been awarded Albert certification for sustainable production and minimising its carbon footprint.
Screen Ireland has introduced a set of sustainability supports for the film industry. Their Sustainability Plan, launched in April 2022, has a set of ambitious targets to achieve net-zero by 2025. The Plan includes a commitment for the mandatory use of a Carbon Calculator as a minimum requirement on all Screen Ireland funded productions, together with providing practical supports to use the carbon calculator.
The Arts Council is developing a Climate Action Policy and Implementation Plan in consultation with Arts Council staff, artists, arts organisations, and other key stakeholders in partnership with experts from Julie’s Bicycle EU, Native Events and the Green Arts Initiative in Ireland in order to bring sustainable practices to Irish events and green Irish arts.
The Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce included a recommendation on addressing the environmental impact of arts, cultural and event activities in its “Life Worth Living” report in 2020. In line with this recommendation, Minister Ryan and I launched the Creative Climate Action Fund on behalf of the Creative Ireland Programme in 2021. Under this fund, €2 million has been committed to a total of 15 projects that will offer innovative means, through the cultural, arts and creative events, of engaging the public on the urgent need for climate-related system, lifestyle and behaviour changes. Implementation of the “Life Worth Living” report recommendations was monitored by the Arts and Culture Recovery Oversight Group, which met 8 times in 2021. Records of the meetings of both the Taskforce and Oversight Group are available at:
The Creative Ireland Programme in my Department consulted during 2019 with other Government Departments, agencies, industry bodies, practitioners and academics in concluding a focus on design-based, digital creative and content creation sub-sectors within a Roadmap for the Creative Industries. Substantial progress was made in drafting the Roadmap in the early part of 2020, but its finalisation and implementation was impacted by the Covid pandemic. The draft roadmap drafted is now being re-positioned in the context of the current policy landscape, which requires re-validation of the pre-Covid business rationale against more recent market analysis. The relevance of the range of supports Government introduced to support and sustain the private sector and SMEs also need to be carefully explored.
The broader policy landscape relevant to the draft Roadmap has also seen significant policy developments since 2020. This includes, amongst other things:
- National SME and Entrepreneurship Growth Plan;
- Industry 4.0 Strategy;
- National Artificial Intelligence Strategy;
- Smart Specialisation;
- Implementation of the Audio-visual Action Plan;
- Tax relief for the digital gaming sector in the Finance Act 2021;
- Impact 2030: Ireland’s Research and Innovation Strategy;
- Action Plan for Apprenticeships 2021-2025;
- Technology Skills 2022.
Officials from a number of Departments continue to liaise in examining these issues further in order to understand how best to proceed and with a view to finalising the Creative Industries pillar of the new Creative Ireland Programme 2023-2027.
225. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the measures she has supported to increase the provision of affordable workspaces for artists and creative practitioners since June 2020. [32178/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 214 and 225 together.
I am critically aware of the pressures that artists and creatives face in finding suitable workspaces. The shortage of workspaces is particularly acute in Dublin and there are deficits to a lesser extent in other urban areas.
Arts and Culture capital developments are most often initiated, led and project managed by Local Authorities with funding provided by Government Departments. Over the past decade or so, a nationwide network of venues, arts centres and studios were provided in this way with funding from my Department. In recent years, significant funding for projects such as these is available from the Urban Regeneration & Development Fund in the Department of Housing and the Rural a Regeneration & Development Fund at the Department of Rural and Community Development.
The situation in the Dublin City Council area is particularly acute. My Department allocated €3m to Dublin City Council specifically for the provision and development of artists’ work spaces in Dublin. Recently, officials in my Department have met with Dublin City Council to discuss artists’ studio space in Dublin in particular. Following on from this, I have asked officials to arrange a three-way meeting between the Department, Dublin City Council and the Arts Council, to see how we can accelerate developments in Dublin. The Arts Council provides the current funding for the ongoing operation of many artists facilities. I have recently met with the Arts Council to discuss a range of issues, including Artists’ studios.
I have been proactive in providing a strong suite of supports for artists throughout the pandemic, including the introduction of a pilot basic income for artists. I can assure Deputies that supporting the provision of spaces for artists to pursue their craft is a priority for me.