Skip to main content

For Oral Answer on : 19/10/2023
Question Number(s): 35 Question Reference(s): 45031/23
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 way she is supporting traditional Irish music across the country; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


Under the Arts Act 2003, the Arts Council has primary responsibility for the development of the arts in Ireland, specifically including the traditional arts.   The Arts Council’s commitment to the traditional arts is provided for in its 10-years investment Strategy – Making Great Art Work.   The Arts Council offers a range of financial supports for festivals. The Council provides financial support to a number of single art form festivals, as well as many multidisciplinary arts festivals across different art forms, including the traditional arts. Its festivals investment scheme,  is specifically designed to support local and voluntary organisations to develop arts festivals. The Arts Council also funds Culture Night, in collaboration with RTÉ which creates opportunities for musicians and artists of all genres. All details are available on the Arts Council’s website.  In Budget 24, I provided a record €134m funding for the Arts Council in recognition of the transformational impact of this funding and to support the sector.

Within my Department, there are a number of measures in place to support traditional arts and include:

  • Annual funding is provided to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann for its work in the protection and promotion of Irish traditional music and culture.
  • In 2024, €7.6m which is the highest level of funding for Culture Ireland since its establishment will support more Irish artists, including traditional artists to launch and develop their careers on an international stage;
  • The Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme is a three year, €105m scheme, involving 2,000 artists and creative arts workers nationwide. Research will be published shortly setting out the impact on the lives of participants to date;
  • Increased funding for the Safe to Create Programme, including Minding Creative Minds, that supports all artists and creatives;
  • a new pilot capital support scheme for Arts, Culture and the Night Time Economy  will support development of vibrant late night arts and culture scenes in Irish cities, towns and villages as well as additional capital to assist in the provision of building and equipment needs, artists’ workspaces, and adapting facilities to reduce energy needs and carbon footprints. 
  • the Music Capital Scheme managed by Music Network provides funding for the purchase of musical instruments to both non-professional performing groups/ensembles and professional musicians;
  • As part of the government’s Shared Island Fund, an allocation of €1 million was made to the Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA) to develop a new studio space and enhance its digitisation capacity to promote all-island Artist and Archivist collaborations;
  • Creative Ireland Programme funding in 2023 is supporting the delivery of a number of creative projects nationwide including ones within the traditional arts;
  • a small-scale local festivals and summer schools scheme designed to support local cultural festivals and summer schools that are 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;
  • provides funding for cultural events such as St Patrick’s Festival, Other Voices, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann that in turns helps to sustain the traditional music sector;
  • In collaboration with the local authorities, Fáilte Ireland’s regional festival scheme is available to local community festivals;
  • Tourism Ireland works with many festivals to provide exposure for them in key markets oversea.
  • Some funding programmes within the Broadcasting and Gaeltacht  areas also serve to promote many artists and creative talents from across the music sectors.
  • Last month, I allocated €2m funding for the development of the Headquarters of Na Píobairí Uilleann at Henrietta Street, Dublin 1.  My colleague the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, allocated a further monies for the project, as did Dublin City Council.  The development wil; include a Visitor Centre, Theatre and instrument making training facility.

In Budget 2023, my colleague the Minister for Finance announced the introduction of a tax relief for uilleann pipes and Irish harp making. The relief provides for an income tax disregard of €20,000 on the  profits made from the manufacture, maintenance and repair of sets of uilleann pipes and Irish harp.