An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD was joined by Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan TD and Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy TD today (Wednesday) for the launch of The Limerick Culture and Creativity Strategy 2018 - 2022, as part of the all-of-government Creative Ireland Programme.
This ambitious and innovative 5-year Culture and Creativity Strategy has been developed by the Limerick Culture Team and local Creative Ireland Programme coordinator, in consultation with local artists, creatives, cultural and heritage organisations, community groups, the creative industries, centres of education and schools. The Strategy aims to provide meaningful opportunities for citizens and local communities, together with our Local Authorities, to nurture, sustain and facilitate participation in cultural and creative activities.
The launch, which took place at the Irish Architectural Archive in Merrion Square at 4pm, included a performance by acclaimed poet Stephen James Smith of a specially commissioned poem on the transformative power of creativity within local communities. Stephen was the first Spoken Word writer-in-residence for young people at the Dunamaise Arts Centre in November 2017, supported by Laois Arts Office as part of their local Creative Ireland Programme.
Speaking at today’s event An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD said: “Creative Ireland is all about improving access to culture and creativity in every county nationwide, to improve public wellbeing. The Culture Teams in each local authority have been absolutely essential to fulfilling this aim. We believed that by bringing people across a range of disciplines together in our Local Authorities, we could achieve more than the sum of their individual efforts. The plans being published today are proof that these collective efforts are resulting in projects of real scale and ambition.
“Through Creative Ireland we are prioritising and promoting arts and culture at a local, national and international level because an active and engaging cultural sector can enrich every aspect of our society and every stage of our lives. Through these Culture and Creative Strategies, we hope more and more people will become involved in artistic and cultural pursuits in their own local area, with all of the vitally important social, and indeed economic, consequences that follow.”
Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan TD said: “I would like to sincerely thank the local Creative Ireland co-ordinators, the CEO’s, Directors of Services and all the Culture Teams in our Local Authorities who have been working so hard in recent months to help us realise some of the key ambitions in the Creative Ireland programme.
I believe that as communities across the country undergo significant change, we are beginning to recognise that how a community understands itself, celebrates itself and expresses itself are major contributing factors in its ability to withstand economic, political, and cultural winds of change and transition. Arts, culture, heritage and in particular creativity are now being viewed, not only as amenities to improve the quality of life, but as a foundation upon which the future of our communities rests. Arts and creative activities can profoundly aﬀect the ability of a community not only to survive over time, but to thrive.”
Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Authority Eoghan Murphy TD said: “Our Local Authorities are the primary instruments of community engagement and activation. By investing in our communities, through the Creative Ireland Programme, my Department is empowering each Local Authority to do what they do best - to deliver appropriate, citizen focused and engaging programmes.
For any place to be truly successful as a community, people must feel not only that they belong, but also that they can actively take part in the creation, management and continued success of that place. The Creative Ireland Programme, with joint investment from both my and Minister Madigan’s Department are together, empowering you to collaborate, to make, to visit, to take part in wide and varied creative and innovative processes that are vital today and in the future.”