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Irish artists take centre stage at St Patrick’s Festival as funding commitment announced

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Minister Martin commits up to €1m in programme funding for new virtual celebration.

The Department has worked with Festival organisers and across Government to help bring six great virtual days and nights of superb events to Ireland and the world.

The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media is getting behind St Patrick’s Festival 2021 as part of its ongoing work to support and showcase Irish artists and the creative community despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister Catherine Martin has committed up to €1m in programme funding from her department in addition to €400,000 in business continuity funding through Fáilte Ireland.

St Patrick’s Festival 2021 remains uniquely placed to act as an economic driver in the arts and entertainment sector at a time of ongoing crisis, by providing employment and commissioning funding for artists, creators and live entertainment, bringing the nation six virtual days and nights of events, while also showcasing Ireland, its culture, heritage and wider tourism offering.

Furthermore, hundreds of performers, creators, artists, freelance crew, and technical workers, who typically engage in much paid work during the St Patrick’s Day celebrations, are set to be employed as a result of this government support.

Despite the pandemic, the show goes on, with a packed itinerary to be unveiled this week by the St Patrick’s Festival team. The Festival, which will run online on St Patrick’s Festival TV (SPF TV) at stpatricksfestival.ie from March 12 to 17, will tell the stories of our dynamic, modern, diverse culture, and celebrate our proud ancient traditions, offering more than 100 events for the nation to enjoy. The continuation of our St Patrick’s tradition also sends out the message that the country is ready, once it is safe to do so, to welcome the world to its shores to celebrate with us.

Minister Martin said:

“This year’s Festival message calls on all Irish, at home and abroad, to cherish our ancient traditions alongside our contemporary culture and celebrate them in safety. It positions Ireland firmly in the mind of the world with a message of hope for brighter days ahead for people here at home while reassuring tourists that, when it is safe for them to do so, they will be welcomed to celebrate with us once more. I am particularly pleased that this dynamic programme will provide some employment for our arts and entertainment community and a rare opportunity for them to perform at a time when they need both most.

“The St Patrick’s Festival week is a highlight of the calendar for creativity and tourism.

“Without support, a vital part of our identity wouldn’t be marked in the way that we want. The department is determined that this year, despite all the difficulties of COVID-19, Ireland can celebrate its culture.”

Announcing €22,000 in funding for Irish language elements of the programmes, the Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Sport and Defence, Jack Chambers TD, said:

“I am pleased that my department will be supporting Nathanna Cainte, a series of Irish language events as part of this year’s St Patrick’s Festival. The Irish language is central to our identity, and it is important that that we celebrate the language within the Festival’s programme of events in a manner that maximises its exposure to our domestic and international audiences. With Irish language events taking place online this year, including a reading workshop for young people and a bilingual poetry event, I hope that people at home and abroad enjoy the Festival.”

In a show of cross-government support for the nation’s national day, the department has been working with relevant stakeholders, including the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Foreign Affairs, to promote the work and boost the impact of this year’s St Patrick’s Festival.

The Festival is now Ireland’s leading multi-disciplinary arts festival and civic celebration around Ireland’s national day. With St Patrick’s Festival going online this year, there is an incredible opportunity for the nation and the world to take a front row seat at all of this year’s events. The iconic festival has become a valuable national asset showcasing Irish cultural and creative talent to a worldwide-audience and promoting in a unique way Ireland’s tourism, cultural, diplomatic and trade links with the world.

The department’s support for the Festival is part of its ongoing commitment to support key sectors, including arts, culture and tourism.

Initiatives that have supported these sectors include:

  • The €5m Live Performance Support Scheme
  • The €1.7m Music Industry Stimulus Package
  • The €55m Tourism Business Continuity Scheme

St Patrick’s Festival 2021 will broadcast online through St Patrick’s Festival TV at stpatricksfestival.ie and will be accessible globally to international audiences. RTÉ’s traditional St Patrick’s Day broadcast will also be reinvented.

These events will then be complemented by the Culture Ireland Global Online Programme, Seoda, which will present some of Ireland’s finest artists from March 17 to 21. It is aimed to ensure our Irish arts and culture community reach a worldwide audience at a time when cultural connections, including with our diaspora, are more critical than ever.

Full details of the St Patrick’s Festival programme, supported by the department, will be announced this week by the Festival team on www.stpatricksfestival.ie.

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