Derry writers demand ‘Fair Deal For The Arts’

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

Derry publishing houses Guildhall Press and Yes! Publications are calling on the general public to join with them to register their support for the Arts Council of NI’s ‘Fair Deal For The Arts’ campaign at the City of Culture office tomorrow, February 9, from 1pm until 5pm.

An array of published authors, writers and journalists will be gathering at the City of Culture HQ in Guildhall Square tomorrow afternoon to highlight the campaign and seek the support of everyone who cares about the importance of reading, writing and the arts in general.

Major cuts to arts funding of £4.2m over a four-year period are proposed by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL). When inflation and the redirection of funds to new venues are taken into account, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) estimate the cuts will be in the region of 23% in real terms. This is devastating news for the arts sector that will inevitably mean closures and job losses.

Guildhall Press Manager Paul Hippsley told the ‘Journal’: “There is a short but vital period of consultation and this is our opportunity to have our say on the proposed budget cuts. We invite everyone who feels strongly about what the arts can offer our society – and who is concerned about the future of the creative arts, literature, reading and writing – to come along to the City of Culture office to demonstrate their support for this campaign. Local authors, writing group members and new writers will be in attendance and we urge members of the public to join us and sign our petition from 1pm until 5pm. We will then present all petition signatures to the Budget Consultation offices by the deadline of February 16 highlighting the support from Derry and its people.”

Noelle McAlinden, Creative Advisor, City of Culture Team, added: “This is a crucial time for all artists, arts and cultural organisations and the creative industries in a city that has been designated City of Culture 2013. We totally support the ‘Fair Deal For the Arts’ campaign and welcome members of the public to register their support through the City of Culture office.

“This is an opportunity for all to have their voice heard in support of a sector that already faces severe cutbacks and works in a climate of extreme funding constraints.”

Fionnuala Deane of Yes! Publications added: “We can, and must, fight against the unfair and disproportionate cuts proposed for the NI arts budget. It’s imperative that we respond to this budget consultation and make our combined voices heard while there’s still time to influence the decision makers.”

Support for the campaign can also be made by email submission. To assist, ACNI have prepared a pre-written campaign letter that you can use by clicking www.artscouncil-ni.org/campaign/csr/index.htm. You can also support the campaign by visiting the Arts Council’s ‘Fair Deal for the Arts NI’ Facebook site, clicking the ‘Like’ button and forwarding the link.

You may also write to: Budget Consultation S1, New Building, Rathgael House, Balloo Road, Bangor BT19 7NA. Email: budgetconsultation@nics.gov.uk Textphone: 02891 858 051