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For Oral Answer on : 11/11/2021
Question Number(s): 184 Question Reference(s): 54986/21
Department: Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.


To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media the supports available to groups such as brass bands, pipe bands, marching bands and choirs in recognition of their cultural contributions to local communities; her plans to expand supports in this area; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


The Creative Ireland Programme is a culture-based programme led by my Department to promote individual, community and national wellbeing. Its core proposition is that participation in arts, cultural and heritage-based activities drives personal and collective creativity, with significant implications for individual and societal wellbeing and achievement. Under the Creative Communities initiative in the Creative Ireland Programme, my Department and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage provide funding to each of the 31 local authorities to enable them to implement their individual Culture and Creativity Strategies 2018-2022. These Strategies were developed in 2017 following extensive local public consultation and are unique to each local authority, reflecting the breadth of cultural and creative work being undertaken in each area as well as the strategic priorities identified by the local community.  Within this context many music groups as referred to by the Deputy have received support from their local authorities. Further information is available on

The Department also provides funding to support Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ), which is the largest group involved in the preservation and promotion of Irish traditional music both at community and national level. Annual funding is provided to CCÉ for its work in the protection and promotion of Irish traditional music and culture.

Thousands of children and young people develop their musical performance (instrumentation and vocal) skills and appreciation skills at these mentored weekly classes, where the emphasis is oral transmission in an appropriate context.  Pre- Covid there were over 1,500 Classes are delivered weekly in community settings.

With over 400 branches, 18 centres, 7 Regional centres and 11 Outreach centres, a wide variety of formal and informal performance opportunities are provided through the Comhaltas structures and Centres. Each Centre has a local performance group which provides appropriate opportunities for young traditional artists (aged 16 upwards) to participate in formal stage performances.

Many of the groups referred to by the Deputy partake in festivals and events nationwide and there are a number of initiatives in place in my Department to support such activities.

The Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann which is run by CCÉ as referred to earlier, has record attendance of 500,000 annually with over 6,000 participating in its competition pre Covid.

My Department this year again ran a Small Scale Local Festivals and Summer Schools Scheme. The Scheme is designed to support local cultural festivals and summer schools which are not in receipt of other central Government monies, and which may not be eligible under funding criteria for larger scale events supported by Fáilte Ireland, the Arts Council and similar bodies. The maximum funding available under this scheme is capped at €5,000.   Up to 28 small festival projects were allocated a total of €96,391 in 2021.  Details of this allocation may be found at It is currently envisaged that this funding scheme will run again in 2022 and will launch in the first quarter of the year.  Festivals and participative events are also an important part of Irish tourism activities and in this context, Fáilte Ireland operate the Festival Innovation Programme Fund   which can be found at this link

Primary support for the arts including music in Ireland is delivered by the Arts Council and it is independent in its funding decisions under the Arts Act 2003. The Arts Council’s strategy recognises the distinctive role of amateur arts practice, its important contribution to the vitality of the arts in Ireland, including music, theatre and musical theatre, and it’s many personal, social and artistic benefits. Earlier this year the Arts Council ran a pilot scheme as a once-off, action-research opportunity, and seeks enhanced engagement, mentorship and advocacy between the amateur and professional theatre, music and musical-theatre sector. Please see link here to the pilot scheme which was designed to enhance engagement between voluntary and professional arts sectors.

For over a decade, my Department has provided funding for the purchase of musical instruments and equipment by way of the Music Capital Scheme.  Funding is provided to a wide range of performing groups and talented musicians. Recipients have in the past included brass bands, pipe bands and marching bands as well as community organisations. The Scheme is managed by Music Network on behalf of my Department.  I hope to make an announcement on a new iteration of the scheme over the coming months.