The people in the Dáil were all very friendly, I mean the staff who work there, the porters, the security staff – in fact, everyone we met inside – except for one (but perhaps he was just anxious about the Ireland/Italy match). We were there to hear the debate on a Fianna Fáil motion about the Arts in Ireland and we filled the public gallery to capacity!
A slightly surreal experience. We packed into the gallery above the Dáil chamber. We waited for the TDs to make their speeches about the “Importance of the Arts”. We’d heard it all before, to tell the truth. We agreed with nearly everything that was said – how the Arts feed our souls, stimulate our minds and lift our spirits; how the Arts define us as human beings; how our culture is what binds us together as a nation… there was a spontaneous clap for one deputy (but then we were gently reprimanded by the security staff: “I’m sorry, no clapping allowed here”). All very respectful. As you can see above, there was glass between us and the TDs – impossible to throw rotten fruit, if one felt so inclined…
Anyway, we heard that the government was not going to oppose the motion. So that was it – just a lot of talk. Of course, you know that Ireland’s state funding of the Arts is just one fifth of the European average. Some TDs were asking that it be brought up to European levels… but actually, if what was being said about the unique quality and importance of the Arts in Ireland is true – shouldn’t our state funding be even higher than the European average?
In my humble opinion, the Office of Public Works (OPW) plays a significant role in supporting artists in Ireland (by buying art for the state buildings). More significant than the Arts Council, I would say. So here’s an idea – double their budget and allow them to buy more art. Not complicated.
Your comments please 🙂 thank you.
See the link for The National Campaign for the Arts below
See also –
PS: not many people know this but those metal gates outside Leinster House were created by my ancestors J&C McGloughlin