Arts play a unique and invaluable role in our society and must be protected, says Mulholland, ahead of Rally for the Arts

Speaking at Equity Northern Ireland’s Rally for the Arts, Alliance Arts spokesperson Sian Mulholland MLA once again pledged her support for calls to reverse recent cuts to arts funding in NI, and said we need an outcome-led investment strategy in place.

Art Sian Mulholland

The North Antrim MLA attended and addressed the event that took place yesterday evening (1 November) outside Belfast City Hall, before the council voted on whether to support Equity NI’s campaign against arts funding cuts.

Ms Mulholland has said: “In a post-conflict society like ours particularly, the arts play an invaluable role in bringing people together through shared experiences, healing divisions, and providing people with a healthy and productive outlet with which they can express themselves.

“Alliance recognises this unique need we have for the arts here in Northern Ireland, and support Equity NI’s calls for the reversal of such deep and sweeping cuts to funding that we’re seeing proposed one after another. We’re calling on the Permanent Secretary to instead engage in the development of a tangible, outcome-led investment strategy on the back of the ‘Investing in Creative Delivery’ report and recommendations by the Culture, Arts and Heritage Strategy Taskforce.

“The arts sector is not protesting about one budget decision or one process of cuts. The sector has seen sustained and systematic underinvestment for decades. We are losing incredible talent from these shores because those in the creative industries cannot make a living from their art.

“The arts enrich our lives in an inconceivable number of ways; we need more investment in the sector, not less. We are seeing a decimation of our cultural output, and this stands as yet another reason why we desperately need a devolved government with a minister in place to make long term, strategic investment in the sector in order to save it.

“There is no reason why we shouldn’t be in a position to lobby the Executive to deliver on its responsibilities and statutory duties to culture, arts and heritage. Alliance will continue to do everything we can to advocate for the immediate restoration of the Assembly institutions so that can take place, and be unwavering advocates for the arts and their integral place in our communities.”