Sinn Féin spokesperson for Gaeilge, Gaeltacht, Arts and Culture, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, has described as “scandalous” the manner in which 141 emerging artists were informed they were to be awarded grant funding of €25,000 under the Next Generation Artists Award, only to be subsequently informed by An Chomhairle Ealaíon (the Arts Council) that this was an error.
Teachta Ó Snodaigh said:
“This error is scandalous, and Sinn Féin stands in full solidarity with the emerging artists who have been devastated by having their promise of a livelihood snatched away.
“Artists already live in a state of financial precarity, and have just come through a two-year period of lockdowns and restrictions on their ability to work.
“A grant of €25,000 would have meant stability, bread on the table for their families, and some peace of mind at a time of cost of living and housing crises, as well as enabling these artists to fulfil their potential and produce amazing work from which we all benefit.
“To have that certainty given and then taken away is simply cruel.
“At a time of added scrutiny on how taxpayer’s money is being spent, the Arts Council must explain how they allowed letters promising €25,000 each to be sent to 141 artists by accident.
“The total cost of these ‘error’ grants would add up to €3.525 million. That’s not your average error.
“While the Arts Council has apologised and given an assurance that additional checks have been put in place since, we need clarity on what processes were in place to begin so we can make sure this does not happen again.
“The Next Generation Artists Award should be a good news story, an opportunity to encourage diversity in our arts scene and support new and emerging talent kickstart their career.
“I presume that the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, has been fully informed of how this error occurred and expect her to doe everything in her power to ensure a repeat does not occur in future.
“I will be seeking clarity in the coming days and working to make sure our artists are neither forgotten nor treated in this manner again.”