Taoiseach launches major new five-year cultural plan

The new initiative aims to provide every child in Ireland with access art, music, drama and computer coding

The Taoiseach has launched a major new initiative aimed at supporting Irish culture and creativity in communities across the country.

The ambitious new five-year plan will prioritise children’s access to art, music, drama and coding while empowering and supporting artists and driving investment in cultural institutions.

Creative Ireland/Clár Éire Ildánach also aims to develop Ireland as a global hub for film and TV production and enhance the country’s reputation for the arts abroad.

The Arts Minister, Heather Humphreys and Public Expenditure Minster, Paschal Donohoe joined the Taoiseach in launching the cross-governmental initiative.

Enda Kenny said the initiative is about “placing culture at the centre of our lives, for the betterment of our people and for the strengthening of our society.”

“Together we can do extraordinary things,” he said. “We can make Ireland the first country in the world to guarantee access for every child to tuition and participation in art, music, drama and coding. 

“We can make every local authority a dynamic hub of cultural creativity.  We can unlock the huge potential of our people in the creative industries.”

The strategy is built around five key pillars - enabling the creative potential of every child in the Ireland; enabling creativity in every community around the country; investing in creative and cultural infrastructure; building Ireland as a centre of excellence for media production; and building the country’s global reputation.

The initiative will see the introduction of a ‘Culture Team’ in every local authority around the country and a new annual cultural day, ‘Cruinniú na Cásca’ to be held nationwide on Easter Monday each year - inspired by the success of the Reflecting the Rising event, held in Dublin this year.

Investment programmes will include a new mechanism to assist self-employed artists who have applied for Jobseekers Allowance and improvements to Ireland’s cultural and heritage infrastructure.

The plan will also include an industry-wide, long term plan to develop Ireland as a global hub for film, TV drama and animation production.

The Chief Executive of Bord Scannán na hÉireann / the Irish Film Board (IFB), James Hickey said he is delighted to see that film, TV, drama and animation are an integral part of the programme.

“I am excited to explore the opportunities this programme will present in developing young Irish writers, directors, actors and crew to contribute to Ireland’s cultural life - telling Irish stories which are an important part of Irish identity.

“Ireland has become a global hub for film, animation and TV drama and we look forward to working with our partner agencies to further develop opportunities in this area, creating more jobs and strengthening Ireland's reputation as a centre of excellence,” he said.

The strategy aims to build coordination, focus and leadership on existing initiatives across the country and provide a link to the private business and NGO sectors.

There was some controversy following the announcment this afternoon after it appeared the government had shown a lack of creativity in naming the strategy - as 'Creative Ireland,' a website directory for the Irish design community was quick to point out:

Arts Minister Heather Humphreys the project was “inspired by the extraordinary public response to the Centenary Programme.”

“Creative Ireland will ensure that children can participate in the arts from an early age, and it will drive cultural engagement in every county nationwide,” she said.

“Creative Ireland puts culture and creativity at the centre of public policy, which will benefit artists and citizens nationwide.

“This is a very ambitious public policy initiative; possibly the most significant for the arts and cultural sectors in a generation.”

Irish film and television has achieved widespread international success over recent years with films like Room, Frank, The Lobster, Song of the Sea and Sing Street all making waves internationally.

By supporting and developing the industry, the strategy aims to build upon Ireland’s reputation as a prime shooting location and position the country as a real player in an industry estimated to be worth over €285bn worldwide.