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Tourism Minister Reflects On Year Of Momentum Across Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport And Media Sectors

By Dave Simpson

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD has reflected on the key funding measures and policy development that have underpinned a year of sectoral momentum in 2022.

Statement By Minister Martin

Minister Martin said, "We have put robust and responsive support packages in place for our tourism, culture, Gaeltacht, sport and media sectors as they transitioned to the post-pandemic reality. Environmental sustainability will be a core component of this continued recovery in 2023. My department will play a critical role in ensuring that the transition to a lower carbon economy fosters creativity, expands the possibilities for people in Ireland to engage with nature through sustainable sport, culture and tourism policies, and guarantees that sustainable development is prioritised in the Gaeltacht.

"Tourism is a hugely significant economic sector in Ireland, bringing employment and revenue to all parts of the country. My department and I will continue to work closely with Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland to chart the path for the years ahead. €30 million continued additional funding was secured in Budget 2023 to support tourism development at home and to build on the initial inbound tourism demand seen this year.

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"Irish culture in its various forms - built heritage, the arts, cultural institutions, festivals and sporting events - plays a very significant role in Ireland's tourism offering and are among the primary motivators for international visitors to visit Ireland. Tourism Ireland will leverage events such as the Aer Lingus College Football match between Notre Dame and Navy in the Aviva Stadium next August, The Open in Royal Portrush in 2025 and the Ryder Cup at Adare Manor in Co Limerick in 2027, to promote Ireland amongst potential holidaymakers overseas. To aid the long-term sustainable recovery effort we will seek to harness the potential of these motivators through new initiatives like The Invitation.

"A key issue in the new National Tourism Policy will be the tourism sector’s contribution to meeting national and international policy commitments on climate action and I look forward to delivering a new Sustainable Tourism Policy next year. I also welcomed the drafting of the Short-Term Tourist Letting Bill which will allow for a balanced and efficient use of existing housing.

"Culture and the arts are a fundamental expression of who we are as a nation. A significant step forward was achieved this year with the commencement of the ground-breaking basic income pilot scheme for 2000 artists. I also prioritised the revitalisation of our night-time economy with the roll-out of the pilot Night-Time Economy Support Scheme, support for the fantastic Haunted Dancehall Festival in the NCH and the announcement of new locations for the Night-Time Advisor Pilot.

"I was also delighted to announce a significant redevelopment of the National Concert Hall, future-proofing this important cultural institution for the generations of musicians to come.

"The 2022 Programme for the Decade of Centenaries has provided a sensitive and meaningful platform of citizen engagement and remembrance for a turbulent period in our history

"Meanwhile, the National Archives continues to protect and preserve the documents of our past, and this year delivered a vibrant and moving programme of events including the very successful Treaty Exhibition and the publication of Michael Collins' diaries.

"With regard to our media sector, we have moved the Online Safety and Media Regulation to a modern and robust legislative footing this year. The new online safety commissioner will be appointed early next year, and will act as a powerful regulator to enforce accountability in the sector. €7.5 million was announced as part of Budget 2023 to enable Coimisiún na Meán commence the vital work of online safety and media regulation. Additional funding of €7.3 million is also being provided to TG4 for 2023, the largest ever annual increase to the broadcaster. Included in the increased funding allocation is provision of €3.3 million for the establishment of Cúla4, a dedicated Irish language children’s channel which will be launched on TG4 as part of their continued provision of quality Irish language programming.

"In partnership with Department of the Taoiseach, we also oversaw the publication of the Report of the Future of Media Commission and have taken the lead in implementing the commission's recommendations with the Implementation Strategy and Action Plan, to be published on 21 December. The technical group set up to examine reform of the television licence fee will make their report in Q1 2023.

"The creation of the new Media Fund, as recommended by the Future of Media Commission, will support the provision of quality public service media content, regardless of the platform it is delivered on. €6m was allocated in Budget 2023 to support the roll out of local democracy and court reporting schemes. This will aim to be of particular value to the local and regional media outlets, and complements the changes to VAT on newspapers and news periodicals in both printed and digital format which were announced by Minister Donohoe.

"Sport is crucial to our wellbeing, both physically and mentally and the work of the department is guided by the core principles of participation and equality. Sport helps to bring our communities alive and gives us a sense of identity, place and belonging. Irish athletes shone on the world stage over 2022 across a broad spectrum of sporting disciplines - from rowing to athletics and gymnastics. Our women’s soccer team has now qualified for the 2023 World Cup - a tremendous and important milestone.

"Our policy officials have been working hard, in tandem with Sport Ireland and other bodies across the country, to support and underpin this sector with effective policy measures and funding. The largest ever round of the Sports Capital & Equipment Programme was finalised this year with total funding of over €166.6 million allocated to sports organisations and community groups right across the country, and a new masterplan for the Sports Ireland Campus was launched.

"In 2022 we undertook a public consultation on the hosting of major international sports events and the results of that consultation is feeding into the development of a policy for that area. Preparations are also well underway for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic between Notre Dame and Navy in 2023 and The Europa League Final in 2024. Looking further ahead we are preparing to host the 2027 Ryder Cup in Adare and on 15 November, Government decided to support the FAI's submission of a preliminary bid for EURO 2028. The preliminary bid has been submitted and there is extensive work ongoing with our UK partners. It is our intention to bring the matter to Government again prior to UEFA's April 2023 deadline for the submission of a Final Bid Dossier. We allocated €8 million in Budget 2023 to support high-level performance sport, develop a new coaching fund, grow participation at all levels, and deliver Ireland’s first-ever national swimming strategy.

"A key mission of this Department is to support the Irish language, to strengthen its use as the principal community language of An Ghaeltacht and the development of the language in the digital age. 2022 began with the very welcome achievement of Irish as a full official and working language across EU Institutions.

"Earlier this year, 400 Irish college scholarships were announced by my department for post-primary DEIS schools, from a fund of €400,000. This fund has the over-arching aim of supporting social inclusion in the context of the Irish language

"In June, the Irish Language Services Advisory Committee was established and my department announced an allocation of almost €3.7 million for the language planning process.

"Core elements of the Official Languages Act also came into effect this year, and their impact will be far-reaching in securing a strong future for our language, while a Digital Plan for the Irish Language was also published in recent weeks.

"I want to thank the Irish language community for supporting this legislation and I look forward to it benefitting our Gaeltacht communities and enriching our society as a whole."

Additional Statement By Minister Martin

Concluding, Minister Martin said, "Our funding and support programmes will support economic recovery and resilience while also enhancing individual and community wellbeing and protecting our unique cultural, linguistic and sporting heritage for generations to come."

© 2022 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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