Arts Acts

Tensions remained about autonomy and political interference in relation to the arts. The Arts Act of 2003, the first since 1973, was subjected to much criticism. Enacted by Fianna Fáil, it strengthened the minister’s policy-making role, but the chairwoman of the Arts Council in 2007, Olive Braiden, suggested the 2003 Act, and prioritisation of collaborative endeavours, could serve art and artists “very well for years to come”, with the Arts Council responding by “embarking on a partnership for the Arts that seeks to put artists front and centre of all we do.” By then, the storm clouds of economic crisis were forming, representing new challenges for all those involved in artistic and cultural endeavour and once again raising the thorny old problems of funding, control and realisable policies. But there was optimism expressed in the Irish Arts Review of 2007 about the Celtic Tiger legacy and the extent to which the boom had succeeded to some extent in rectifying historic regional imbalances in relation to the arts: “one happy but largely unsung result of Ireland’s prosperity has been the creation of quite spectacular new art centres in provincial towns…rooted as they are in local communities, steered by ambitious and savvy directors and hopefully supported by national and local government, these buildings herald a renaissance in Irish cultural development”.


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