Skip to main content


EACEA National Policies Platform


8. Creativity and Culture

8.10 Current debates and reforms

Last update: 31 March 2022
On this page
  1. Forthcoming policy developments
  2. Ongoing debates

Forthcoming policy developments

Heritage Ireland 2030 – Keeping you in the picture

Heritage Ireland 2030 is Ireland’s upcoming national heritage plan. It will be a comprehensive framework of values, principles, strategic priorities and actions to guide and inform the heritage sector over the next decade.

In preparation for the national heritage plan, over 70 public consultations workshops took place during 2018 and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media have published a report on the Heritage Ireland 2030 Public Consultation (November 2018). In 2019 submissions were invited to address the themes of National Leadership and Heritage; Heritage Partnerships; and Communities and Heritage. The Heritage Council’s Analysis of Submissions Received (2019) is also available.

An indicative timetable published by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht advised that Heritage Ireland 2030 was scheduled for drafting during Summer 2019 and publication in Spring 2020. As of August 2021, Heritage Ireland 2030 is still pending.


National Youth Singing Project

A National Youth Singing Project has been proposed in research (2019) commissioned by the Creative Ireland Programme Office of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. It was commissioned in response to an action within the Creative Youth Plan to support a strategy to develop and extend choral singing and the creation of a model for the National Choral Singing Project: Youth and Singing. It is proposed as a creativity programme, equally located in education and the arts, potentially delivered by a consortium of stakeholders in the group singing sector and principally with Sing Ireland. It aims to mainstream cultural and creative experiences, build audiences, and expand access to creative opportunities through the medium of group singing in and across school and community settings.

As of September 2021, there has been no updates on this National Youth Singing Project.


National Mapping of Youth Arts Provision

National Youth Council of Ireland’s National Youth Arts Programme has engaged University College Cork to undertake a National Mapping of Youth Arts Provision. This will provide data and evidence on young people’s engagement with the arts in youth work settings across the country. A census took place in January and February 2020, including Youth workers, youth arts practitioners, youth work organisations, youth ensembles and anyone participating in youth arts in youth work settings. This will provide data and evidence on young people’s engagement with the arts in youth work settings across the country. Alongside the research, an online map of practice will be developed, to showcase the work of these organisations.

As of September 2021, there are no updates on this research or the online map


Ongoing debates 

Equality of access to the arts

The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) has called on the Government to develop and implement an action plan which would guarantee each child growing up in Ireland equality of access to the arts (both in and out of school) and tackle economic, geographical and educational disadvantage as barriers to participation and deliver on the arts access promised to each child as part of the five National Outcomes for Children contained in Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: The National Policy Framework for Children and Young People, 2014-2020. NYCI also calls on the Government to fully implement the ‘Arts in Education Charter’ and to further develop the Charter to incorporate non-formal education and youth arts.

As of September 2021 the government is yet to develop and implement this action plan or the ‘Arts in Education Charter.’


Support for artists during Covid-19

Calls from the arts and cultural sector, have requested greater supports to artists and the wider cultural sector. Groups have lobbed for increased supports include the media, Literature groups, actors, the National Campaign for the Arts and festival organisers. Criticisms include that the available supports are not sufficient and do not cover the many workers in jobs which are necessary to support the cultural sector.

In 2020, the Government introduced measures to assist those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, that apply to all sectors of the economy, including those who work in the culture sector. The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has also taken additional measures to support the cultural sector, including bringing forward the payment of grants awarded in 2020 to ensure financial commitments can be met and waiving eligibility requirements which no longer apply due to the COVID-19 crisis.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Arts Council exchequer funding in 2020 increased by €25m from €80 m at the start of the year. This has enabled the Arts Council to significantly increase its support for artists and arts organisations, including those working with and for children and young people. 2020 saw the expansion of bursaries for artists, and the introduction of new awards in the area of Young People, Children and Education (YPCE), including YPCE Project Award and YPCE Commissions. Arts Council funding for 2021 is €130 million. The Arts Council strategy continues to place priority on planning and providing for children and young people.

The Music and Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme (MEBAS), and the MEBAS II, were also introduced for businesses in the live entertainment sector that have been significantly negatively affected by COVID-19 restrictions.

The Events Sector COVID Support Scheme is for small and medium-sized businesses in the events sector, which have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

Eligible businesses can get a once-off payment up to €50,000. To be eligible you must be ineligible for support under the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS).