De Faoite calls for reversal of arts funding cut

Belfast City Council Arts Séamas de Faoite

SDLP Belfast City Council Group Leader Séamas de Faoite has called for the reversal of the proposed 5% cut to Arts Council NI funding by the Department for Communities.

Councillor de Faoite is bringing a motion on the issue to council on Wednesday, following a rally organised by Equity at Belfast City Hall at 5pm.

He is urging council to back Equity’s call for further investment in the arts.

Councillor de Faoite said:

“The arts make a huge contribution to life in our city and across the North. Belfast punches well above its weight when it comes to artists, musicians, actors, writers and many other creative pursuits and if we want this to continue we need to ensure that the sector is properly funded. We are lucky to boast fantastic theatres, concert venues, galleries, museums and arts centres and we want to see these grow and thrive, not limping from one crisis to the next due to constant uncertainty around their funding.

“A proposed 5% funding cut to the Arts Council NI by the Department for Communities is causing huge concern in our arts community. Given the financial pressures as a result of the cost of living emergency and soaring bills many are already struggling to make ends meet. A cut to funding will inevitably result in jobs losses and venues struggling to keep their doors open in the face of constant price increases and a 30% real-terms cut in funding over the past decade.

“I commend the work of Equity NI in resisting these cuts and making the case for increased funding so that artists can reach their full potential. We have seen far too often in recent years how council has been expected to step in and support local arts groups due to funding being withdrawn by Stormont departments. This is not sustainable and neither is this proposed cut. I would urge councillors to get behind Equity and send a clear message that artists have our support and we want to see this cut reversed.”

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