As Deirdre Falvey reports in the Irish Times, the overall budget for arts and culture in Ireland is set to decrease from €204 million this year to €185 million. In particular the Arts Council’s budget sees a reduction from €85 million to €76 million. Culture Ireland’s budget will remain static at €4.7 million.
The reductions are far from unexpected… and indeed despite protestations from the sector it would have been deeply unwise not to reduce arts & cultural funding when every other public sector will be feeling the pinch. While it’s clear that cutbacks in arts funding will be necessary, it’s difficult to yet predict how priorities will be adjusted to meet these new financial realities. With the Arts Council still in flux, I doubt a clearer picture will emerge for some time.
In more surprising news:
The National Library of Ireland, the National Archives and the Manuscripts Commission are to be amalgamated, as are the National Gallery of Ireland, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Crawford Gallery.
The department indicated this would involve amalgamating the boards, directorate, governance, HR, infrastructure and management.
This follows the reduction across the board of the number of state agencies. How this will play out in reality is anyone’s guess; to my mind this is the most worrying development for the arts from Budget 2009.
*Update*: For a more extensive breakdown of budget figures & commentary, see Theatre Forum.