Northern Ireland

Arts Council outlines Northern Ireland funding cuts

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionRoisin McDonough, chief executive of the Arts Council, said cuts to organisations' funding were "very regrettable"

The Arts Council has released details of organisations that face funding cuts in the next financial year.

Of 115 groups that applied for funding, 27 face reductions on last year. Six groups will not receive any grants.

Overall, the Arts Council is distributing almost £900,000 less than in 2014/15, although 10 organisations will receive more money.

It said the cuts were inevitable because its budget from the NI Executive has been reduced by 11%.

Organisations to lose all their funding include Irish language group POBAL, Music Theatre for Youth and Blackstaff Press.

In a statement, Blackstaff Press said it was devastated to learn that its funding for 2015/2016 had been cut "from £82,200 to zero".

"While we anticipated a reduction in line with the budget cut to ACNI, we had no indication at all that we should expect a complete withdrawal of funding," it said.

The publisher said the cuts are effective from 1 April.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe Arts Council is distributing almost £900,000 less than previous with 10 organisations receiving more money, as Maggie Taggart reports

It said it was "absorbing the shock of this decision and cannot yet say with confidence how it will impact on our publishing and outreach programmes".

Janet Muller of POBAL said the group regretted the cuts to all organisations.

However she said that in particular, POBAL was angered to "see the axe fall disproportionately yet again on Irish language organisations".

The Culture NI website and social networks stated that it will "regrettably be forced to close from April" after it was announced its funding would be cut "without warning last week".

"This devastating cut means the arts sector will lose a significant resource, which benefits hundreds of arts organisations and artists each year," David Lewis, director of Culture NI, said.

'Smaller arts sector'

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMartin Lynch said his organisation, Green Shoot Productions, will now have to lay off three part-time members of staff

BBC NI arts correspondent Maggie Taggart said: "Those organisations and the 27 that will face hefty cuts are very likely to suffer job losses and a reduced arts programme."

It comes amid cuts of 10% to the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure's annual budget for the next financial year.

Arts Council chairman Bob Collins said: "The reality of passing on a £1.38m cut to the arts means we are left with a smaller arts sector, with fewer performances, exhibitions, staff and opportunities for people to engage with the arts.

"The arts make a valuable contribution to all areas of society but regrettably this latest round of cuts will be felt not only directly in arts provision but across tourism, health, community regeneration, social cohesion and the very government initiatives that are designed to promote equality and tackle poverty and social exclusion."

One body, the East Belfast Partnership Board, will receive Arts Council funding for the first time for three festivals: EastSide Arts Festival, CS Lewis Festival, and the Woodstock R&B Festival.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites