Dáil Éireann - Volume 681 - 28 April, 2009
Written Answers. - Departmental Expenditure.
Deputy Mary Upton Deputy Mary Upton
 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his views on the cutbacks introduced in the area of arts, sport and tourism under the supplementary budget on 7 April 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16368/09]
Deputy Martin Cullen Deputy Martin Cullen
Deputy Martin Cullen: I would refer the Deputy to my reply to Priority Parliamentary Question No. 76 of today’s date.
The Supplementary Budget for 2009 was a necessary measure dictated by the current national and global economic position. The Government has taken and will continue to take whatever measures are necessary to restore and renew our economy. These measures include stabilising our public finances and supporting and stimulating economic confidence. Against this background, the Supplementary Budget was a proportionate contribution to ensuring that we are well positioned to take full advantage of a global upturn when it occurs.
It is fair to say that no sector of society can be immune, in some shape or form, from the turbulent economic conditions which we now face. Within my own remit, this applies to the arts, sport and tourism sectors. However, what I have achieved successfully is to minimise reductions in the core budgets of these sectors, in accordance with the Government’s stated priority of protecting economic sectors that contribute to job creation, foreign revenue earnings and tax yield to the Exchequer. In this regard, the centrality of the role of the arts, sport and tourism sectors is recognised by their inclusion as key drivers of the economy in the Government’s Smart Economy framework document, published last December.
Specifically, expenditure in relation to arts, culture and film has been reduced by €41 million from €221 million in 2008 to €180 million in 2009, a reduction of 18.5%. Within this, the reduction in current expenditure is just 6% while the reduction in capital expenditure is 42%. However, this latter figure is somewhat misleading as it primarily reflects the reduction in expenditure due to the successful completion of once-off major capital projects such as the landmark Wexford Festival Opera House and the Gate Theatre extension.
Expenditure in relation to sports, recreation services and the horse and greyhound racing industry has been reduced by €141 million from €336 million in 2008 to €195 million in 2009, a reduction of 42%. Again, however, the 2008 figure includes a once-off expenditure of €116 million in relation to the Lansdowne Road stadium project. When this sum is excluded, the reduction in relation to sport for 2009 is actually of the order of 11%. Expenditure in relation to tourism has been reduced by €16 million from €169 million in 2008 to €153 million in 2009, a reduction of 9.5%.
In summary, while I do not pretend that reductions of any magnitude are without consequence, the real rather than headline reductions in frontline allocations to the arts, sport and tourism sectors are, in fact, quite modest. They are of an order sufficient to ensure that the sectors will be successfully husbanded over the coming period, thereby retaining their essential vigour and vitality to see them through the prevailing difficult economic conditions.
Dáil Éireann 681 Written Answers. Departmental Expenditure.