Dáil Éireann - Volume 433 - 07 July, 1993

Written Answers. - Classification of Arts Projects.

25. Mr. Cox asked the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht his views on the classification of arts projects as a subsection of the Tourism Operational Programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

[1465] Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht (Mr. M. Higgins): I welcome the fact that arts projects received some Structural Funds assistance under the current Operational Programme for Tourism, which covers the years 1989-93. However, I believe that the classification of such projects under a Tourism Operational Programme has imposed inappropriate limitations on their potential to secure funding. I fully acknowledge that there are areas of overlap between the arts and tourism sectors, and that both areas can be regarded as complementary in many respects. However, I would contend that there are significant differences at the level of aims and objectives which have automatically rendered arts projects ineligible for consideration. The eligibility criteria for funding under the current Tourism Operational Programme have, in practice, resulted in a focus on heritage projects largely to the exclusion of the contemporary arts. This fact has also led to an imbalance in the level of funding for arts projects.

The Government will very soon be considering the structures for the expenditure of the next round of Structural Funds which will pertain under the next National Development Plan covering the years 1994-99. No decisions have yet been taken on future structures, but I am hopeful that these structures can, over time, address the imbalance to which I have referred.