Written answers

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Official Engagements

Photo of Paul MurphyPaul Murphy (Dublin South West, RISE)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

215. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will withdraw from attending a festival (details supplied) and make a statement which represents and supports the views of Irish artists; if she will ensure that Culture Ireland honours the payments of travel and accommodation costs to the artists who have boycotted the event; and if she will instruct her Department to urgently seek a statement from Culture Ireland, and/or her Department on this. [13412/24]

Photo of Catherine MartinCatherine Martin (Dublin Rathdown, Green Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I had a full programme of events in Austin. I met with young Irish business professionals and the Irish diaspora as part of the Government’s 2024 St Patrick's Day Programme. SXSW festival forms part of the trade mission aimed at promoting Ireland's creative industries led by Enterprise Ireland and the Department of Foreign Affairs. It brings together a wide range of stakeholders from music, film, enterprise and technology sectors. Events at the St Patrick’s Day programme in Austin took place in collaboration with Ireland’s consulates in Austin, Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as the Department of Foreign Affairs, Culture Ireland, Screen Ireland, IDA, Tourism Ireland and Music from Ireland.

The full programme of events in Austin included two events in SXSW. I spoke at the Consulate’s St Patrick’s Day Reception and I spoke at a panel discussion on the Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme, which included members of the arts and music sectors. One of panelists was a Palestinian American, Shafeka Hashash, the Associate Director of Guaranteed Income, who also spoke and used the platform to call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

At no stage did I attend any programmed music events as part of the SXSW programme while in Austin.

As a representative of the Irish Government, I used these events and every opportunity to address the grave humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and advocate for an immediate ceasefire in war-torn Gaza. I also called on US leaders to join the Irish Government in this pursuit of peace. I used my platform to call for an immediate end to the violence in the Gaza.

The musicians due to participate in the Music from Ireland showcase activities decided not to perform and instead read a statement condemning the war in Gaza. While in Austin, I met and spoke with many of these musicians who had travelled and subsequently withdrew from the SXSW Festival. I reiterated my utmost respect for their freedom of expression as artists and reassured them that I would use every opportunity to make clear my revulsion at the devastation that has been unleashed on Gaza.

Culture Ireland and First Music Contact, who stage the showcase with funding from Culture Ireland, are liaising with the artists originally scheduled to perform. Culture Ireland and Music From Ireland will honour their commitment to provide funding towards the travel and travel related costs of those selected for SXSW.

In addition, I have asked officials in my Department and Culture Ireland and Music From Ireland explore options for alternative US showcasing opportunities for these artists.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.