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The treating of the Arts Council as a quango by the Government in their frantic effort to apply slash and cut tactics to save money is short sighted.
Our culture, be it Irish dancing, music, singing, literature, films or painting, has done so much for the wellbeing of our society. It has given us deserved recognition throughout the world for our artistic and merited achievements. It is not the concrete remains of half-built housing estates that are dotted around the country that makes you proud to be an Irishman(woman). I can tell you now that there will be no tourists flocking to our shores in the short or long term to study the graffiti or listen to birds flying in and out through broken windows to get to their nests in these concrete jungles.
Our culture has been used to sell Ireland and attract visitors for years upon years. Just think of the Book of Kells as part of our heritage to the phenomenon of Riverdance that spread like wildfire around the globe, which would never have happened if it was not supported in the embryo stages by the Arts Council.
Making such drastic cuts in this area will have a devastating long-term effect that starts in the classroom and feeds like the potato blight into the féiles and the fleadh ceoils.
You could be sitting across from a person in a train or a bus, who smiles or tries to control a laugh as they read through the content of the book that would never have seen the light of day if not for the Arts Council. In case you may jump to conclusions, I did not receive any funding whatsoever for my book Hard Times Good Times and The Celtic Tiger.
The organisers of the annual Guth Gafa film festival that was held in Gortahork have thrown in the towel for now in their gallant effort to stage this educational mix of documentary films through lack of funding.
The mixture of small businesses, the pubs, the shops, the hotel in the village of Gort an Choirce in the Donegal Gaeltacht, will lose out more than some may realise.
There were screen showings to suit all tastes. The opportunity was there for you to consult, question, debate or offer advice after the showing of each film. The directors themselves were there from many different countries and this was an opportunity not to be missed to showcase our cultural talents.
Those who advocate the discontinuation of arts funding would in my book be the ones who understand the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Gort an Choirce
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