Said the Foyle MLA: “I welcome the heartfelt appeal from Liam Neeson, who understands more than most, the critical role the arts plays in our communities and across society.
“I hope his appeal to the Executive is heard and the Communities Minister will take urgent action. Our arts sector, and the more than 8000 people employed in this sector, cannot afford any more delay.
“It is completely unacceptable that this funding was received in July and it is yet to be allocated. Given this was already four months into the pandemic; it should have been treated with absolute urgency.
“I have raised this with the Minister on a number of occasions and I will continue to do so until we get a resolution.
“I will continue to bang the drum for the arts sector; as even before the imposition of lockdown their venues, practitioners and patrons felt the impact of this pandemic. Continued venue closures means that their ability to generate an income is non-existent.”
Mr Durkan added: “Getting the money into the Department is one thing, getting it out is another.
“It is crucial that Minister Ní Chuilín and her officials now liaise with the sector and relevant bodies, to design a scheme that will ensure this money gets to where it is needed in the quickest way possible.”