Local art services as essential as proper housing and health services

27 March 2018

Statement by Joe Costello

The people of Dublin deserve a proper Arts Service like they deserve a proper housing service or health service”, said Joe Costello, spokesperson on Urban Regeneration, speaking at a Labour meeting in Dun Laoghaire.

“Access to the arts, to personal creativity and to rich cultural experiences is the right of every citizen.  It is a quality of life issue and should be an integral part of every individual’s experience.

"The arts must be accessible through the primary and secondary school system.

"Every child and young person must, through the education system, be introduced to a wide range of art forms, to the richness of Irish and other cultures and be facilitated to explore personal creativity to the full.  This will require financial and human resources, retraining programmes for teachers and a reworking of the school timetable.

"Artist-in-residence programmes covering the full academic year should be introduced to every school in the country.

"In its Creative Ireland Programme (2017-2022) the Government promised to place “the arts alongside other subjects at the core of our education system and to launch its plan in September 2017.” To date nothing has happened.

"Secondly, artistic work does not necessarily thrive in the attic or in isolation as is sometimes thought.  It must be brought into the local community and have local space and local resources.

"Local authorities are best placed to deliver community-based arts and culture programmes.

"However, they will require trained personnel and funds to provide support for local arts festivals, adult, youth and children’s programmes, exhibitions and performances.

"Central Government should provide a specific budget to enable local authorities to engage and interact with local communities in such a way that arts and culture is recognised as much an essential local government service as the provision of housing for citizens."