1230: Aengus O’Snodaigh had to leave early for a doctors appointment, Dylan Haskins left with no excuse but no insults either. The rest stayed till the end. Paul Gogarty and Mary Hanafin perhaps the strongest performers, possibly on basis of better briefing through government rather than opposition. Aengus O’Snodaigh also did well. Alex White started on economy and perhaps missed the beat of the event. Jimmy Deenihan strangely flat throughout. Overall a worthwhile exercise by NCFA even if only to help politicise the arts community.
1220: Myles Dungan now rattling through Questions. National Opera Company to be applauded, albeit highly political and dangerous. Needs to be right (FF). The best way to impact politics is to speak to local representatives. Welcome to come address through Committee structures.
1212: Representative from Ark centre says points of alignment between Children, education and Arts. JD references Norwegian rucksack model, state paid artists giving something back to help. PG Arts Education Fund. Teachers under pressure and arts often left out. Should be greater interface with arts community as part of curriculum. Lab ideas are right, need to find the energy in government. FF looking to educate pre school staff as part if free year. dEIS funding used a lot for sport at present and some realignment could be of benefit.
1203: question on lack of recognition of artists in thus debate. SF revisit idea of basic income as opposed to social welfare. MH invited local artists from Dun Laoghaire ahead of budget. Important to hear direct voice. JD spoke to many individual artists. ** Mannix Flynn exits stage right condemning the sham of this self serving self styled Forum. **
PG urging artists to keep banging on the door.
1156: Peter Scannell from Wexford Opera House asking about infrastructure. Lab audit of unused buildings. FF need to support arts council funding as best way of supporting facilities. FG looking at establishment of literary centre of excellence, possibly at Anglo head office on Stephens Green. SF make best use of existing buildings through greater promotion, tourism and possible review of VAT on tickets to reduce costs.
1145: GP maintain funding of Abbey with move to GPO. Lab needs to see more discussion on move. FF abbey development needed. NCH greater need at present for 500 rather than 2000 seats. FG Better to buy riverside buildings and increase footprint of existing Abbey. NCH Better to fund human rather than building development. SF unsure of flexibility and suitability of present Abbey site. O’Connell Street to be developed as national arts quarter.
1139: Lab and SF would merge Arts Council and Culture Ireland. GP says this would restrict promotion of sport, food and other areas. Lab aware not widely welcomed, aware of work done by Culture Ireland. Willing to listen. FF separate existence is basis for its success. FG Merger originally considered but very efficient and needs to more carefully considered.
1132: All parties commit to maintaining Arts with place at Cabinet table. FG will maintain funding “if at all possible”. SF look to maintain and improve. GP no promises but will do best. Abolish Horse Racing Fund would free money. Local authority funding also crucial. LAB coming back to limitation of resource and need to budget for growth and jobs to make funding promises real. FF when money was there it was spent. Any cuts would be proportional. New body proposed Screen Ireland
1129: PG Influence of greens was positive. Look at social welfare access for artists. Use of vacant buildings on rent free basis. Most warmly received.
1127: AO’S family background in visual and performing arts. Companies looking at Ireland because of our creativity and imagination. Education has to be developed and enhanced.
1123: JD came all way from Kerry! Cumman na gael created the national anthem, Ted Neilan first Minister of Stare responsible for Arts. You can read the FG policy. International reputation can be restored by the arts , as an organ of state!?
1122: MH The Arts Act. Establishment of cultural centres, arts and Education Report principles still there. Kept the artists exemption. Culture Ireland work not only helping culture but cultural tourism. One round if applause.
1120: AW The arts have not done any harm to our country. Invoking Michael D. Arts are at the heart if our society. Embed within the community. Also look to possibilities for economic dividend. Apologetic for use of that language.
1110 Our actors arrive back on stage, joined by Paul Gogarty. Welcome from Willie White. What can the arts do for society? It’s not all about the economy. No valentine from FG then. Mannix Flynn and Dylan Haskins in the crowd as well.
11:00 Curtain time and Jimmy Deenihan has taken his place. Mary Hanafin is next followed by Aengus O’Snodaigh, and now all out for the photo op.
1055: Seats full and likely to be turning people away. Looks like a cast change with Alex White replacing the advertised Ruari Quinn.
1045: a fine crowd from across the Arts spectrum. Fiach Maconghaill and Alan Stanford having the obligatory pictures taken downstairs. Free coffee and pin badges to warm the body and soul.
The National Campaign for the Arts is holding election hustings across the country today.
Signal and battery permitting I will maintain a live blog from the Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar, Dublin.