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Source: Social Democratic and Labour Party of Northern Ireland

Social Justice Spokesperson Mark H Durkan MLA has welcomed a £4million funding package announced as part of the Executive’s June Monitoring round.

However, he acknowledged that it does not go far enough, reiterating calls for the long-overdue Arts and Culture strategy. 

The Foyle MLA commented: 

“Following stark testimony from members of the Arts Sector at the Communities Committee last Thursday, I am pleased that funding has finally been secured albeit a comparably small sum. This £4million will no doubt assist the sector in the short term however, we need to be looking at the bigger picture of long-term funding for the Arts Sector which will inevitably be hit harder than most by restrictions as we emerge from this crisis. 

“Looking just over the border, we see that €25 million has already been committed to the Arts Sector with another €30 million in the pipeline. We must reflect that level of support in the North to ensure that all aspects of the sector are protected, from individual creatives to organisations and venues throughout the region.” 

He continued: 

“Just as a myriad of vital legislation has been delayed by three years of government, the Executive is yet to establish a long awaited and indeed needed Arts and Culture strategy. I pressed the Communities Minister to progress this vital strategy and she has assured me of her ongoing commitment.” 

“It is glaringly clear at this stage, that we need to move beyond talking shops and deliver a Strategy that supports community arts and the development of our artistic talents as economic drivers. The Executive must recognise the hugely important role the Arts Sector plays here in the North, creative talent abounds in our cities- we must harness and protect it at all costs not only through a tailored and adequate funding package but through a strategy that will ensure a sustainable creative industry here.” 

MIL OSI United Kingdom