NCFA’s proposal for the new 2021 budget

“The future of Irish arts and culture now sits in the hands of Government.”
“Happy st. Patrick’s day! – Dublin, Ireland” by Giuseppe Milo ( is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A new budget pre-submission 2020 was prepared by the National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA) yesterday and published this morning. 

“The future of Irish arts and culture now sits in the hands of Government,”  read the statement that accompanied the paper, “the livelihoods of more than 55,000 citizens and their families; the survival of an entire industry that benefits society, communities, individuals, businesses and the exchequer […]”

The NCFA cited worrying facts and figures in their explanation for their proposal: 89% of NCFA members are living with financial uncertainty; 91% of arts organisations are reporting €2.9 million loss per month since March 2020;  the impact of the evolving economic crisis on the Arts sector will be between -34.6% and -42% compared with -11% in the Irish economy as a whole..

The arts are in dire need of governmental support and ‘it is essential that this support is maintained and increased in 2021 to ensure the sector can make a full recovery’.

According to the NCFA pre-budget submission, there are 9 measures that can be taken to save the arts. 

Among them are the extension of the PUP and EWSS until mass gatherings are permitted again, the increase of the Funding to the Arts Council to to €135 million in 2021, the increase of the funding to Culture Ireland to €10 million, the review of taxation practice so that Ireland’s tax regime encourages philanthropic giving or corporate investment in the arts or in artists, the establishment of a cross departmental task force, total insurance reform and the introduction of a state insurance scheme.

Since local councils are not explicitly mandated to invest in arts or culture, though they are a key stakeholder for many of the country’s arts centres and festivals, NCFA wants local authority arts spending to be classified as a mandatory requirement. 

Other demands include the transposition of the European Union’s Directive on Copyright for the Digital Single Market into national law so that the issue with fair pay for online work is resolved, and the prioritisation and expedition of the trial for Universal Basic Income (periodic payment delivered to all citizens of a given population without a means test or work requirement). 

The paper, drafted by members of the National Campaign for the Arts, has already received attention from Twitter, with people retweeting it under the SAVETHEARTS hashtag which is also the name of the NCFA campaign to support the Arts sector.

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