Election 2016

our official arts policy

independent.ieWhen people around the world hear the word ‘Ireland’, what springs to mind? Chances are that the arts, culture and heritage – and well-known figures associated with them – dominate the list, because our creativity as a nation is one of our hallmarks.

In literature, film, theatre, art, dance and music – in so many disciplines, we produce premier league artists who magnify Ireland’s reputation and influence. And the benefits are tangible: their achievements help to generate revenue and jobs.

Quite rightly, we pride ourselves on being an imaginative people. Indeed, our politicians are quick to use it as a calling card. When gifts were required for Enda Kenny’s visit to the White House on St Patrick’s Day last year, hand-printed poetry books by WB Yeats were chosen. So it’s surely a given that the arts ought to be stimulated and expanded. Any outlay repays dividends exponentially, not just in the economic sphere, but by enhancing our standing. Our reputation for creativity and our cultural heritage are among the main reasons why tourists flock here. They spent €2.3bn last year, an income that’s rising year on year according to the Central Statistics Office. The 2014 figures are €1.8bn. There is a spillover effect in the field of education, with Ireland’s cultural reputation attracting overseas students.

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