‘Arts groups facing collapse if cuts continue’ – McNulty

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Monday, February 5th, 2018

SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty has said that further Arts cuts of up to 8% will force a severe, and for many, unrecoverable crisis in the sector.

Speaking to Newry Times, McNulty explained, “After years of significant cuts to Arts Council budgets and top slicing from the pool of resources available to Arts festivals and community arts programmes, there are simply no savings left in the system. 



“Any further cuts will be directed at service delivery and organisations working in communities across the North. That will cost jobs and it will make this a poorer place.

“My fear is that the arts are seen as an easy target, that they are perceived as not being a front line service and therefore they get targeted first.

“However, the truth is, an enormous amount of community development work and reconciliation is done through the medium of Arts, whether it’s in music, dance, drama, film or any other Programme bringing people together.



He continued, “Before applying significant additional cuts to these organisations and programmes, we have to seriously ask ourselves what kind of community we’re trying to create. 

“I firmly believe the arts are undervalued, they are viewed in too narrow terms. We hear a lot of economists and local authorities talk about boosting the evening economy, about protecting town centres and growing our hospitality sectors. 

“This cannot be done if you asset strip the very fibre of that economy, our arts and cultural offering.

The local MLA added, “I will be seeking a meeting with the Arts council and sector organisations about these planned cuts. The SDLP will also be responding to the proposals robustly.”



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