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David Stanton, Fine Gael TD for Cork East, has praised the work of Youghal Music Group, Ceolta Sí, in Dail Eireann. Deputy Stanton’s comments were made during a debate on the importance of philanthropy and the arts.

“Arts and culture form part of the fabric of Irish society. Many organisations as well as individual artists and cultural practitioners make up the arts and cultural sector. People who make donations to these people, do so as they feel passionate about what they are creating and have had an impact on the donors’ lives.

“Despite an increase in the last decade, philanthropy is not as well developed in Ireland as in other countries such as the USA. If our arts and culture are to remain vibrant, we need to focus on ways to get people to increase their charitable giving and involvement in the arts. There is a need to increase awareness of the arts in society in general however, in particular amongst our young people in schools and youth organisations.
“One such organisation I am aware of locally who are doing great work in Youghal are Ceolta Sí. I attended an event organised by the group during the summer and was impressed by the delight, joy and pride in the eyes of the young people as they performed. One could not but be swept up by their enthusiasm and by the pleasure of the audience. Those young people have a gift for life. When our young people become involved in any form of art, we are passing on a gift to them. That is why it is important to encourage the arts, and awareness of the arts, in schools and youth organisations. Art is food for the soul.
“Some young people can spend much of their time on the Internet and playing computer games. Involvement in the arts gives them a richness and value that is far better than that. Of course, artistic talent is valued and sought in the area of computers and gaming. Creativity is important there too. However, I would love to see more groups such as Ceolta Sí involving young people and developing their passion in arts and cultural life.
“Ceolta Sí are also doing their part in spreading Irish music and culture at international level. In addition, to performing at many major events across Ireland such as the Kilkenny v Tipperary All Ireland semi-final at Croke Park, cultural expeditions abroad have become an integral part of their activities. Next year, Ceolta Sí will take part in a European tour which will coincide with the end of Ireland’s Presidency of the EU. This tour will include performances in Brussells, Luxembourg, in Chateau de Malbruck, France and one in Zell in Germany.