8.2 Administration and governance
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Main actors involved in policy-making
The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage is a Government department responsible for housing, local government, heritage and planning. The majority of heritage functions were transferred to this Department from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht from 9th September 2020, under the Heritage (Transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions) Order 2020.
The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media oversees the protection and presentation of Ireland’s cultural assets. Amongst the Department’s divisions are the Culture and Arts Division and the Gaeltacht Division. The Gaeltacht are the regions in Ireland where the Irish language is, or was until the recent past, the main spoken language of the majority of the community. The Gaeltacht is further discussed in Chapter 8.1. The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media’s mission is to:
- support the tourism industry in increasing revenue and employment through enhancing competitiveness and through marketing and product development
- promote, nurture and develop Ireland's culture and arts
- support and promote the use of the Irish language and to facilitate the development of the Gaeltacht
- contribute to a healthier and more active society by promoting sports participation, and by supporting high performance and the provision of facilities
- develop broadcasting and media policy, including online safety legislation, and to provide oversight of the Broadcast Authority of Ireland, RTÉ [Ireland's National Television and Radio Broadcaster] and TG4 [public service television channel which broadcasts in Irish].
The Department of Education and Skills is a department of the Irish state with responsibility for education and training. Its mission is to facilitate individuals through learning, to:
- achieve their full potential, and
- contribute to Ireland’s social, cultural and economic development.
Arts education is primarily the responsibility of the Department of Education and Skills and of education providers. Further details about the Department of Education and Skills are in Chapter 6.2 Administration and governance.
The Arts Council of Ireland is the Irish government agency for developing the arts. It was established in 1951, to stimulate public interest in, and promote the knowledge, appreciation, and practice of, the arts. The Council is funded primarily by an annual grant from Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. The Arts Council's statutory functions, under the Arts Act, 2003 are to:
- stimulate public interest in the arts
- promote knowledge, appreciation, and practice of the arts
- assist in improving standards in the arts
- advise the Minister and other public bodies on the arts.
The Arts Council supports and promotes children and young people’s engagement with the arts from birth to early adulthood. An objective of The Arts Council’s ten-year strategy, Making Great Art Work (2016-2025) is to Plan and provide for children and young people, including to:
- make provision for children and young people a key focus of its relationship with local government
- incorporate its commitment to young people into the mainstream of its decision-making and, where appropriate, into its funding agreements with arts organisations.
The Heritage Council is a statutory body under the Heritage Act, 1995. It works with others, particularly at local level, to increase awareness of our national heritage and to highlight its importance to public policy and everyday life. County Heritage Officers are employed by Local Authorities in partnership with the Heritage Council with the support of the Heritage Officer Programme. Local Authority Heritage Officers promote heritage awareness, aid in developing policy and provide advice and information on local and national heritage issues.
There are several trade unions involved in creativity and culture, such as The Musicians Union of Ireland and Irish Equity. Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU) also directly represents several workers who earn their living from the arts, including professional musicians, writers, actors, other performers, film staff, broadcasting staff and theatre staff.
National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) works to realise the potential of young people through good quality youth arts practice within youth work organisations and the non-formal educational sector, and to develop appropriate policies and activities at local, regional and national level. NYCI represent young people’s interests and to shape and influence legislation and emerging policy and programme development initiatives that may impact on the lives of young people. The NYCI Youth Arts programme provides evidence-based policy and programme advice and represent young people’s interests and works to shape and influence legislation and emerging policies that impact on the lives of young people and their engagement in the arts. Among NYCI Youth Arts’ recent activities has been a submission to Joint Oireachtas Committee on Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht on the theme The Arts in Ireland Today from NYCI’s perspective, and the development of a Youth Arts Forum testing NYCI’s principles of high-quality youth arts from a young person’s perspective. The NYCI Youth Arts Programme is co-funded by the Department of Children (DCEDIY) and the Arts Council.
Youth Theatre Ireland is the development organisation for youth theatre in Ireland. It supports youth drama in practice and policy by advocating the benefits of young people’s participation, promoting quality youth theatre practice, and providing leadership for the sector. Youth Theatre Ireland receives funding from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth; and The Arts Council.
The National Youth Orchestra of Ireland receives funding from the Department of Education; and Strategic Funding from the Arts Council in the area of Young People, Children and Education (YPCE). Its guiding principles are:
- to provide an opportunity for young Irish musicians to engage with music professionals
- to promote equal access to our activities, overcoming financial and geographical barriers, to benefit young musicians in all parts of Ireland
- to promote classical music to audiences and communities at home and abroad.
The Design and Crafts Council of Ireland is the national economic organisation for the Design and Crafts Sector. It aims to stimulate innovation, champion design thinking, and inform Government policy. Its activities are funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.
Distribution of responsibilities between top-level and regional/local authorities
The Local Creative Youth Partnerships was a pilot initiative of Creative Youth - A Plan to Enable the Creative Potential of Every Child and Young Person as part of the Creative Ireland Programme (discussed in Chapter 8.3). Under the pilot initiative, three Education and Training Boards (ETBs) established networks, to enable information sharing and collaboration between local creative youth service providers to bring about better use of existing resources, practices and initiatives in an ETB area. The pilot was announced in 2018 and a total of €300,000 was made available for the pilot up to the end of 2019.
This LYCP response to Covid-19 highlighted how as a nation Ireland recognised even more the powerful contribution that creativity can make to our health and wellbeing. The Creative Ireland Programme’s work in 2020 was recognised through the prism of the emergency brought about by COVID 19. In a time of national crisis, the Creative Ireland Programme worked at speed and with agility to activate creative programmes that helped participants to combat isolation, create social cohesion and enhance a sense of wellbeing. Working with partners in government and local authorities, we supported the work of communities, cultural practitioners and other organisations to create initiatives that targeted citizens who were particularly impacted by the pandemic.
Each local authority has its own Culture and Creativity Strategies, to identify, activate and support the creative life of in that area from 2018-2022. They were developed by local authority Culture Teams in consultation with artists, creatives, cultural and heritage organisations, community groups, the creative industries, centres of education and schools across the country. €2 million was allocated among all 31 local authorities to allow them to implement these strategies.
The Gaeltacht is the name for the areas in Ireland where the Irish language is, or was until the recent past, the main spoken language (discussed further in Chapter 8.1). The Gaeltacht Authority (Údarás na Gaeltachta) provides assistance towards language, culture and arts events and activities aimed at promoting the Irish language in the community. Support is available for the provision of Irish language classes and courses and for classes that are taught through the medium of Irish.
Numerous organisations and bodies play a role in developing cultural policy and delivering cultural services. They include Government Departments, State bodies, cultural institutions, local authorities, commercial bodies, the media, the voluntary sector, and various other national, regional and local organisations.
Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: The National Policy Framework for Children and Young People, 2014-2020 states the government’s commitment to enabling greater access to arts and culture for all children and young people. It promotes cross-agency collaboration for the benefit of young people.
Creative Ireland (discussed further in Chapter 8.3) brings an enhanced level of coordination, focus and leadership to existing policies and initiatives across national and local government, State agencies, the arts and culture sector, Irish language speaking areas (Gaeltacht) and Irish language organisations, and will provide linkages to the private business and NGO sectors. Under Creative Ireland, the Government committed to encouraging strong mutually beneficial links between business and the arts community. The Creative Ireland Programme describes itself as a “collaboration – between central and local government, between culture and industry, between artists and policy makers – to facilitate an ecosystem of creativity”.
Increased collaboration in recent years between the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, and the Department of Education and Skills has provided the foundation for the Creative Youth - A Plan to Enable the Creative Potential of Every Child and Young Person (Government of Ireland, 2017) (Creative Youth Plan), under Pillar One of the Creative Ireland Programme (discussed further in Chapter 8.3).
The Arts Council is the Irish government agency for developing the arts. It works in partnership with artists, arts organisations, public policy makers and others to build a central place for the arts in Irish life.
An Invitation to Collaboration scheme is run by the Arts Council of Ireland. The scheme is open to local authorities to apply for projects or initiatives that they identify as being of strategic significance to arts development locally, regionally and nationally. The maximum grant is €75,000. It is open to projects which focus on the following areas:
- Policy development
- Public engagement
- Artists-focused programmes.