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Budget 2020 - Minister Madigan announces details for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

-  Arts Council funding highest in ten years

- Additional funding for Nature Conservation & Biodiversity

- Údarás na Gaeltachta core capital funding hits €10m

* Additional funding for Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland

* Support for transfer of National Symphony Orchestra to National Concert Hall

* Additional funding for  Language Planning Process

The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD, and Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Seán Kyne TD, has announced details of €354m funding allocated in Budget 2020 – an increase of 5% on 2019 - which represents a cumulative increase of 17% for our culture, language and heritage over the last 2 years.

The total funding increase for 2020 is  €7.2m in capital expenditure (an increase of 10% on 2019) and over €8m in current expenditure (an increase of 3% on 2019).

This funding will facilitate the delivery of the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture programme; increased support for artists, culture and commemorations; an expanded programme of peatlands restoration works that will contribute significantly to the Government’s climate action plan; and increased investment in Gaeltacht areas, our language and our islands. It will also enable the continuing implementation of the Department’s 10 year €1.2bn Capital Plan, ‘Investing in our Culture, Language & Heritage 2018-2027’, being delivered under Project Ireland 2040.


Key highlights of Budget 2020

Programme A – Culture  

Promoting and developing Ireland’s world-class artistic and creative strengths at home and abroad

Total funding for the arts and culture sector in 2020 will increase by over 2% from €189m  to almost €193m.  This funding will comprise €153m in current expenditure and €39.7m in capital investment. 

  • Arts Council funding for 2020 is up €5m to over €80m.  This includes €1.25m in additional funding to enhance the work of the Arts Council to support performing artists, arts festivals, street arts, family events etc. This funding also includes €3.75m reallocated from within the Department’s existing Vote which will strengthen the breadth and reach of the Arts Council’s role particularly in relation to the traditional arts, Culture Night and Creative Schools.      
  • Following funding of €6m in 2019, an additional €1.1m in capital funding (€7.1m in 2020) is being provided for the European City of Culture – Galway2020. This supports the Government's commitment to deliver Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture, a significant platform from which to highlight Ireland’s creativity and to build bridges with European partners.
  • An additional €900k for the Decade of Centenaries 2020 Programme. This will  enable the delivery of a significant programme of commemorative events - including Bloody Sunday on 21 November and the execution of Kevin Barry on 1 November -  in an appropriate and meaningful manner consistent with the advice of the Expert Advisory Group.
  • €1m is to be provided to allow for the start of the process of transferring the National Symphony Orchestra to the remit of the National Concert Hall.
  • Funding of €250k for the amateur theatre sector across Ireland.
  • Continued funding for significant ongoing Departmental programmes including:
  • Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland is to receive additional funding of €1m.  It follows  the Government’s decision to extend the Section 481 Film tax credit  to 2024 and the regional uplift of 5% which provides an additional incentive to increase Irish and international production across the regions. These measures are in line with the Audiovisual Action Plan which sets out the Government’s ambition to make Ireland a global hub for the production of Film, TV Drama and Animation.

-          Creative Ireland Programme  which supports opportunities for people of all ages and in all parts of the country to engage with creativity and to derive all of the personal and collective benefits that flow from that engagement.  

-          Culture Ireland which promotes Irish arts worldwide by creating and supporting opportunities for Irish artists and companies to present and promote their work at strategic international festivals and venues in line with commitments set out in the Government’s Global Ireland 2025 policy.

-          Cultural Institutions - to facilitate the protection of the national collections and the enhancement of visitor experiences and services. A cornerstone of the Department’s culture investment programme under Project Ireland 2040 is the €460 million that is being set aside for the renovation of the National Cultural Institutions.

Minister Madigan said:

This additional funding for our arts and culture, at a time of prudent budgetary management reflects the Government’s commitment to supporting Irish arts and artists.  The Per Cent for Arts Scheme and the extension of the Social Welfare Scheme for Self Employed Artists in conjunction with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection announced earlier is further proof of our commitment.

Programme B - Heritage

Conserving and managing Ireland’s biodiversity and our natural and built heritage for the benefit of present and future generations.

Total funding for our Built and Natural Heritage sector in 2020 will amount to €62.5m, up from €54m last year – an increase of over €8m or 15.5% on 2019 – comprising additional capital provision of €6.75m (up 44%) on 2019 and additional current funding of €1.46m.

  • €7m in funding to embark on an accelerated programme of peatlands restoration and conservation works. This programme  will result  in 1,800 hectares of restored peatland in 2020, generating 100 jobs in the Midlands,  and ultimately the storage of 28 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. Restoration and rehabilitation of raised bogs will provide multiple additional ecosystem services such as water and air quality improvements, flood mitigation, enhancing biodiversity, opportunities for tourism development, and contribute to the social and economic well being of local communities.
  • Additional €1m to accelerate key nature conservation and biodiversity programmes under the National Parks and Wildlife Service to include the recruitment of front line conservation specialists
  • Enhance the Farm Plan programme by doubling the fund available to €1m to support measures to protect biodiversity and assist farmers with lands designated as Special Areas of Conservation in their role as custodians of nature
  • Continue to support the protection of archaeological and built heritage, including capital investment in built heritage investment schemes
  • Continue to support Ireland's national parks and reserves including the Tourism Interpretative Masterplan under which the Government is investing to enhance visitor centre experiences and facilities.

Minister Madigan said:

Over the course of the last year I have listened very carefully to the extensive public debate on biodiversity loss and the threats to nature. The National Biodiversity Conference in Dublin this year, which I hosted,  the development of the Seeds for Nature initiative, the wide ranging public debate on the Heritage Ireland 2030 Plan as well as the extensive engagement across Government on Climate Action were instrumental in my securing significant additional resources for this area.

Programme C - Irish Language, Gaeltacht and Islands

Supporting the Irish language, strengthening its use as the principal community language in the Gaeltacht and assisting the sustainable development of island communities.

Total funding for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands portfolio for 2020 amounts to almost €58m, up from €55.5m last year, which represents a 4% increase.

  • Údarás na Gaeltachta will receive an additional capital allocation of €1m bringing  its core capital allocation to €10m (an increase of over 11% on 2019). This will enable the attraction of additional investment to Gaeltacht areas and support the creation of jobs, whilst also supporting community and language development in the Gaeltacht regions.

Údarás na Gaeltachta will also receive an additional €200k in current funding for Gaeltacht co-operatives, bringing to over €1m the increases provided to this important sector over the past 5 years.

Údarás na Gaeltachta will also have access to additional funding in the event of a no deal Brexit.

  • An additional €500k will go towards the language planning process in 2020. The establishment of  Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas is well underway, and the Department expects up to 23 language Plans to be approved under the process before the end of the year. So far, of the 26 Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas, 16 plans have been approved to date. 

                This follows measures announced over the past year to support the language planning process, including additional significant investment to support the early years sector, language transmission in the family setting and the traditional arts.

  • An additional allocation of €275k for 2020 will ensure the continued provision of essential transport services to the islands. This additional allocation follows the recent establishment by Minister of State Kyne of an Inter-Departmental Committee for Island Development.

Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Seán Kyne TD, said:

I am particularly pleased to be in a position to obtain additional current and capital funding for Údarás na Gaeltachta at a time when the work of the organisation will be more important than ever. 

This Budget has been framed in the context of an imminent Brexit. The Government has been prudent in its funding decisions, and for this year we are targeting spending increases carefully, while maintaining services and delivery of on-going projects and programmes.  However, continued investment, in challenging times, in the implementation of the Government’s 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language and an additional €500k towards the language planning process in 2020 underpins the Government’s commitment to the Irish language.


Programme D - North-South Cooperation

maintaining, developing and fostering North-South co-operation in the context of the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

  • Promote the Irish and Ulster-Scots language and culture through Foras na Gaeilge and the Ulster-Scots Agency; and
  • An additional €300k will go towards funding for Waterways Ireland in 2020


Minister Madigan added:

It is prudent we base this Budget on the assumption of a disorderly Brexit which would have a significant impact on our economy.  It ensures that we have the necessary resources at our disposal to meet this exceptional challenge whilst preserving the longer-term sustainability of the public finances.

The package for culture, heritage and the Gaeltacht for Budget 2020 enables us to continue the important work on our key programme areas, and goals.

We are continuing to make progress on our commitment to double funding to Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht by 2025.  Our spending has increased by 23% since 2017 and I am confident we will honour our commitment.