The announcement this week of extra funding for the arts is a welcome recognition by government that cultural endeavours are an essential part of Irish life and worth preserving. It is also recognises that the arts is a sector that has been badly hit commercially by the pandemic.
The €25 million package to help the sector recover from the Covid-19 emergency was announced by the Minister for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan who said that she was "very aware of the challenges that artists have faced and also of the hugely important role that they have played in sustaining all of us in recent months."
Indeed, it could be argued that the mental health of the nation would be in far worse shape had it not been for the hundreds of musicians, actors, visual and other artists who kept us entertained at the height of the lockdown.
In one of his most memorable witticisms, Oscar Wilde once declared that “all art is quite useless”, meaning that it does not, of itself, have a utilitarian value but gains its worth from the joy it brings us. Useless doesn't mean worthless.