Tody’s appointment should be viewed as a major boost for the entire Arts community. The Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport has remained as a full cabinet post, and we have gained a very experienced and competent Minister, Mary Hanafin.
Announcing the new Cabinet in the Dāil An Taoiseach Brian Cowen recognised the importance of Arts and Culture in our economy “I want to refer specifically to the important role to be played by the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport not only in the vital area of tourism policy and performance, but in realising the full potential of our strong performance and reputation in the area of arts and culture, and ensuring that the creative industries play their full part in the vital task of economic renewal. The Tourism and hospitality industry employs over 200,000 people and brings in over €6 billion in revenue to this country every year.”
It’s been a very difficult few years for all sectors, and there was much concern that investment in the Arts was seen a luxury we could not afford in the current climate. Last September at The Global Irish Economic Forum held at Farmleigh, Irish diaspora present recognized the cultural value of Irish artistic success through our writers, poets, musicians, actors, and moviemakers in building Ireland’s international profile.
Many political commentators have spoken of Mary Hanafin appointment to the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport as a ‘demotion’. This should not really surprise us as for the past month these same people were speaking of the demise of the Department.
Mary Hanafin has been a senior Minister in Cabinet since 2004 and has been acknowledged as a hard working and very efficient Minister in both Education and Social Welfare. Her background in Education could prove crucial if we are to develop a more creative economy. Incorporating arts very early on in education system will help develop more rounded individuals with entrepreneurial skill required in tomorrow’s world.
With the appointments of Gabriel Byrne as Culture Ambassador last week and today’s retention of the Department as a full Ministry. An Taoiseach Brian Cowen has given a strong indication that he views Arts and Culture as playing a substantial role in the survival of and a vital in function in our economy’s eventual recovery.
All in the Arts Community should view Mary Hanafin’s appointment as Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport as a positive move and I have no doubt she will make an excellent Minister.
Categories: Film and TV