Social Democrats propose tax breaks for artists in latest manifesto

Social Democrats propose tax breaks for artists in latest manifesto
Sarah Durcan and Gary Gannon, Social Democrats launching the party's Arts and Culture manifesto. Picture: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Tax breaks for low income artists, drama studies for the Leaving Certificate and guaranteed council funds for culture are among arts proposals launched by the Social Democrats.

The party wanted funding for the sector, at a minimum, to match that of other countries and be 0.4% of GDP, the EU average.

Party Dublin Bay South candidate Sarah Durcan warned of the need to support artists, many of whom were leaving Dublin because of high costs and rents.

She said a roadmap was needed to increase funding for the sector over the next five years to the EU average.

“That would be more than double increase that the current government are talking about.”

“We need to invest in artists in making their lives affordable and in reversing creative brain drain that we're seeing here in Dublin.

"We are in the heart of Temple Bar, our cultural quarter, which we invested significantly in in the 90s.

"But that investment hasn't kept up, and we've lost small companies, we've lost artists because they can't afford to live in Dublin, most of them are on earning under the minimum wage.”

The Social Democrats propose ensuring city and county councils give ring-fenced amounts of funds to the sector.

The party also is proposing drama and theatre studies as a Leaving Certificate subject.

Special commercial rates for creative and art spaces as well as 'rates holidays' for new projects are also part of the plans.

Affordable living spaces for artists should also be encouraged, say the party, while it wants an expansion of tax breaks for low income artists.

Speaking at the Temple Bar launch of the proposals, Social Democrats Dublin Central candidate Gary Gannon said: "The arts has to be a much bigger consideration. During times of recession, when nothing else was happening, the arts kept the country alive.

"It can't be an afterthought.

“When you see places where the arts are in existence. These are skills that are invested in confidence, in the cognitive development of character amongst young people, seeing them on stage, giving speeches.

"These are actually things that help to improve mental health to improve a young person's place in the world.”

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