Press Release

Arts vital to the economy says Assembly Committee

Session: 2009/2010

Date: Monday, 23 November 2009

Reference: CAL03/09/10

Government funding for community arts is vital if the arts are to continue to transform communities and individuals. That is one of the key recommendations of the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure (CAL) in its Report on the funding of the arts in Northern Ireland, to be launched on Tuesday 24 November.

Commenting on the Report, Committee Chairperson Barry McElduff MLA, said: “Investing in community arts has real and tangible benefits for both communities and individuals. They give people the opportunity to develop creative skills which they can greatly enhance their employability.

“This is particularly relevant in this economic climate in which the creative industries are one of the fastest growing sectors here, employing some 36,000 people.”

The Report also points to the need for a cross-departmental approach to funding for the arts, given the impact of the arts in terms of education, employment, tourism, the economy, health, and regenerating communities.

Committee Chairperson Barry McElduff MLA, said: “We are calling on the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure to take a cross-departmental approach to funding for the arts. At this time of economic downturn the arts become even more important and should not be regarded as an easy target for any cutbacks.

“The arts are a contributor not a cost, and any dynamic society which wishes to move forward must have a strong arts infrastructure as part of its make-up.”

The Committee is launching the Report by hosting a musical event in Parliament Buildings which showcases a range of local talent. Performers from the traditional Irish music scene and musicians from the Ulster Scots tradition are being joined by a fusion band incorporating Indian, African, Polish and Irish sounds.

Committee Chairperson Barry McElduff MLA, said: “The Committee is delighted to host this musical event. There is great local talent to be found across all the traditions of our community. The arts are a wonderful way to bring people together and play a vital role in building a shared and better future for all.”


Notes to Editors:

The Chairperson of the Committee is Mr Barry McElduff MLA.
The Deputy Chairperson is Mr David McNarry MLA
The Committee has a further nine members:
Mr Dominic Bradley MLA
Mr PJ Bradley MLA
Mr Francie Brolly MLA
The Lord Browne MLA
Mr Trevor Clarke MLA
Mr Kieran McCarthy MLA
Mr Raymond McCartney MLA
Ms Michelle McIlveen MLA
Mr Ken Robinson MLA

The Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure is a Statutory Departmental Committee which has a scrutiny, policy development and consultation role with respect to the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure and has a role in the initiation of legislation.

The Committee has the power to:

  • consider and advise on Departmental budgets and annual plans in the context of the overall budget allocation;
  • approve relevant secondary legislation and take the Committee Stage of primary legislation;
  • call for persons and papers;
  • initiate inquiries and make reports; and
  • consider and advise on matters brought to the Committee by the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure.

The Clerk to the Committee is – Kathryn Bell
Northern Ireland Assembly
Room 414 Parliament Buildings
Belfast BT4 3XX
Telephone: 028 90 521841
E Mail:

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