Addressing Council on a Sinn Fein motion which welcomed the minister’s new arts & culture strategy which will “seek to address regional inequalities by developing bespoke proposals for the north west” and called on the Arts Council to “realign its budget profiles and strategic priorities”, the Ballyarnett representative said,
“The proposed culture, arts & heritage strategy is welcome and it’s long overdue. The current strategy, if there is one, seems to be throw money at Belfast and let everybody else fight for the crumbs.
“Last year, the Department for Communities funded organisations throughout the north via the Arts Council to the tune of £25 million.
“Belfast organisations got nearly £19 million and groups across our council area got £1.7 million. So, Belfast organisations got 11 times the funding of local groups.
“That’s not balanced, it’s not equitable and it’s not fair.
“Members from this Council have met with the Arts Council along with reps from the arts & culture sector across our city and district. And we collectively conveyed our disappointment and disillusionment with the current funding arrangements.
“The chief executive Roisin McDonough responded to us in correspondence and said she had “raised the issue of imbalance in regional funding in the north west.
“The issue doesn’t need to be raised, it needs to be addressed and it needs to be fixed. And in our view that’s the minister’s job.’
Cllr Farrell concluded: “We shouldn’t be asking the Arts Council to change how they operate.
“We shouldn’t be asking them to distribute the funding fairly.
“The Minister who funds the Arts Council should instruct them to do so.”Tags: