Enda Kenny launches Creative Ireland – a legacy project of Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD (pictured), was joined yesterday in the newly-restored Shaw Room of the National Gallery of Ireland, by the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, for the launch of the Creative Ireland Programme / Clár Éire Ildánach.

Creative Ireland is the Government’s Legacy Programme for Ireland 2016. It is a five-year all-of-government initiative, from 2017 to 2022, which at its core is what is described as "a wellbeing strategy, which aims to improve access to cultural and creative activity in every county across the country."

Creative Ireland’s stated aims are to prioritise children’s access to art, music, drama and coding; to enhance the provision of culture and creativity in every community; to further develop Ireland as a global hub for film and TV production; to empower and support Ireland's artists; to drive investment in our cultural institutions; and to further enhance our global reputation abroad. From 2018, an annual County of Culture will also be held each year.

In a statement issued by the Department of Arts, Heritage and Regional Affairs, the initiative was explained as follows:

"Creative Ireland is built around five pillars:

· Enabling the Creative Potential of Every Child

· Enabling Creativity in Every Community

· Investing in our Creative and Cultural Infrastructure

· Ireland as a Centre of Excellence in Media Production

· Unifying our Global Reputation

Key initiatives to be delivered in 2017 include:

· The publication of a five year ‘Creative Children’ plan which will enable every child to access tuition in music, drama, art and coding

· Each Local Authority will appoint a Culture Team to drive local needs and will publish a Culture Plan for their own county

· A new annual cultural day, ‘Cruinniú na Cásca’ to be held nationwide on Easter Monday each year, replicating the very successful Reflecting the Rising event, which was held in Dublin this year

· The Departments of Arts and Social Protection will devise a mechanism to assist self-employed artists who have applied for Jobseekers Allowance. This would be a pilot scheme.

· A planned investment programme for Ireland’s cultural and heritage infrastructure, including our national cultural institutions

· An industry wide, long term plan to develop Ireland as a global hub for film, TV drama and animation

Creative Ireland will bring an enhanced level of coordination, focus and leadership to existing policies and initiatives across national and local government, State agencies, the arts and culture sector, Gaeltacht and Irish language organisations, and will provide linkages to the private business and NGO sectors.”

There were encouraging words from the podium.

“Creative Ireland is about placing culture at the centre of our lives, for the betterment of our people and for the strengthening of our society, an Taoiseach, Enda Kenny said. "Together we can do extraordinary things: we can make Ireland the first country in the world to guarantee access for every child to tuition and participation in art, music, drama and coding. We can make every local authority a dynamic hub of cultural creativity. We can unlock the huge potential of our people in the creative industries. And we can make an important statement to ourselves and to the world about the interdependency of culture, identity and citizenship."

“Creative Ireland, as an Ireland 2016 legacy project, is inspired by the extraordinary public response to the Centenary Programme," Minster for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys TD., said. "This year thousands of cultural events were held around the country, bringing people together in shared reflections on identity, culture and citizenship that combined history, arts, heritage and language. We now want to build on the success of the commemorations and plan ambitiously for our arts and culture sectors for the years ahead. Creative Ireland will ensure that children can participate in the arts from an early age, and it will drive cultural engagement in every county nationwide. We want to make Ireland a global hub for film and TV production, while also investing in our cultural institutions. Creative Ireland puts culture and creativity at the centre of public policy, which will benefit artists and citizens nationwide This is a very ambitious public policy initiative; possibly the most significant for the arts and cultural sectors in a generation."

“When we talk about capital investment we must think beyond buildings," Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe TD, added. "We must think, primarily, about investment in human capital and human creativity. The Government recognises that high quality infrastructure is critical for a vibrant arts and culture sector and that such investment underpins social cohesion and supports strong and sustainable economic growth. I look forward to seeing imaginative, ambitious capital development plans for all of our cultural institutions that contain a clear focus on the element of creative human capital, and the good that our cultural institutions can do, beyond the confines of their physical buildings.”

All in all it is an ambitious programme. It deserves a positive response. But it is vital too that everyone involved at Government level lives up to the aspirations expressed.


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