Yes (to a) Minister!

At the Theatre Forum meeting today and later on at the launch of the programme for Dublin Theatre Festival at the Gate’s Lab space the recurrent and resounding message was that we need to lobby to ensure that the arts have a place at the Cabinet table. There have been murmurings since May at least that DAST was one of the Ministries under threat and the report of An Bord Snip Nua gave substance to the murmurings when it challenged the need for the Department. We have to remember that there has only been a Minister for the Arts since 1992 and that before then the arts were a minor part of the business of the Department of the Taoiseach. Without a voice for the arts at Cabinet there is a real danger that they will slip further and further down the list of priorities. It’s hard to say at this stage when a reshuffle might happen, although it’s unlikely to happen until after the second Lisbon Referendum in October. Nonetheless, the time to start lobbying for the retention of a full Minister is now.

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