I LIVE AND work in rural Ireland while watching the derogation of the arts as a major government department in Ireland. And along with 12,000 other people, I've signed an electronic petition urging the Irish govement to set up a dedicated Minister for the Arts.
I've heard some cross-talk from people who apparently believe having a Minister of Regional Affairs, Rural Development, Arts and the Gaeltacht is fine. But to me it looks like the Arts in Ireland are being parked in the basement with lower levels of funding.
Progressive governments have disrespected the arts by paying lip service to its worth. If you expect to deliver a high quality cultural product, you need to stimulate the sector. Nothing in the current Irish budget is designed to help my multimedia and animation students to promote and exhibit their creative work. Instead, the government line suggests the solution lies in looking outward. I wonder what that actually means but believe that strategy isn't accompanied by any sort of strategic investment funding or high level ministerial concern.