Newry and Armagh Alliance representative Jackie Coade has welcomed a £4M package for the arts sector.

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín recently announced the  £4 million lifeline for the arts sector. The additional funding will provide a much needed boost for the sector including musicians, performers and cultural workers, arts venues and museums as they rebuild for the future following the devastating impact of Covid-19.

Speaking on the issue Ms Coade stated “I welcome the announcement of a support package for the Arts sector in Northern Ireland which I know locally has been finding the current pandemic situation very difficult. The Arts sector is very important to the local economy and is essential to the youth sector in particular for helping children develop their talents and skills. Furthermore it is also known to help with mental health and health and wellbeing.”

However, it is not yet clear how the money will be spent, where it will be targeted and whether additional support will be available to individuals in the arts whose incomes have been affected by the loss of work.

Ms Coade has expressed the need for funding for the Arts sector locally in Newry and Armagh. “It is very important that the Arts sector in Newry and Armagh obtains some of this funding. We have a thriving and buzzing Arts sector in the constituency with talented and exceptional people and it is important that the support package is invested locally. There are a number of local literary festivals and venues which will be hoping for a share of this funding for their survival. The John Hewitt Summer School is an outstanding International festival which relies on venues like the Marketplace Theatre to host the week long event. 

I will be writing to the Minister to seek assurances that this money will indeed be ring fenced for the Arts sector and that it will not be used for anything else. I will also be asking that some of this money will be invested locally as Newry and Armagh has a long standing history of a flourishing arts sector with the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre, Bosco Drama Group, Newpoint Players, Market Place Theatre and Abbey Lane Theatre Group to name but a few.”

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