Sense Prevails: Funding Restored for 32 Northern Irish Arts Organisations


Having been told that they were set to lose 7% of their planned funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, 32 of the biggest and most vital arts organisations in Northern Ireland have been informed that’s been reversed as part of the Stormont executive’s November budget.

Amongst those organisations – a collective cultural beating heart in the North of the country – are the MAC, Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, The Ulster Orchestra, the Lyric Theatre and Derry’s

With the Culture Minister Carál Nί Chuilίn having been criticised over cuts to the Art’s Council budget, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure have confirmed that £620,000 would be restored.

In a statement on their website, Arts Council NI said: “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland welcomes the Minister’s announcement that she  has successfully secured additional funding resources for the arts in the November monitoring round.

The Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure has been able to confirm that £620,000 will be allocated to the Arts Council to reinstate grants to the 32 organisations affected by earlier in-year cuts.

We appreciated greatly the opportunity to meet with the Minister in October when we conveyed the Arts Council’s and the sector’s deep concerns at the impact of the in-year reductions. There will be a sense of relief shared by those affected by today’s announcement.

The Arts Council will, as ever, continue to support the Minster in her efforts to bring  public funding for the arts to the level at which they should be, to achieve the full potential of the arts in the lives of all the people.”

Whilst the ever-burdensome moral, fiscal and cultural tug-o-war here will likely always remain a fluctuating battle of the wills, this is a resounding victory for both art and sense in the North of the country.

is the editor of The Thin Air. Talk to him about Philip Glass and/or follow him on Twitter @brianconey.