Husting Videos ℅ Civic Trust House

Civic Trust House have posted the videos from the husting on youtube. This is an excellent resource especially if you have not yet decided how you intend to vote. It is important to remember that your input does not end on Friday the 26th. The National Campaign for the Arts plan on continuing to take action when the new government is in, to ensure that the future of the arts.

My Minutes of Monday's Campaign for the Arts Husting


I attended the husting Monday, which I think was a success. Each candidate was allocated three minutes (most went over their time), one candidate from each party was permitted to speak, though others could contribute when the floor was opened up. Fianna Fail did not attend.

Kathleen Lynch, Labour Party (Cork North Central) was the first to speak. She took a few moments to warm up, seeming to stick on the topic of “the last time I was elected” without it seeming relevant. Although she did expand on that thought by quoting from her former elimination speech; “We strive not just for bread alone but demand to smell the roses”. A thought that could have been better delivered.

She spoke of the Film Industry as being a large employer and reminded us that the last time Labour were in government they almost achieved their goal of every child having access to a musical instrument. Lynch stresses the point that support must not be given to large venues but also to individual artists and that it ought not be centralised in more populated areas. She made a very good point during the open floor  that highlighting the need for arts education.

Later John Gilroy, Labour Party (Cork North Central) claimed that, if in power, Labour would put €16.15 million into the arts. He also mentioned a plan for creating affordable studios for artists willing to contribute to public outreach.

Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael (Cork South Central) told us that she has been committed to the arts for some time, a long standing member of the arts committee and was City Mayor when Cork was the European City of Culture. She mentioned “encouraging and developing audiences” but I felt she could have expanded on how she was hoping to achieve that as she spoke mostly about how Irish arts perform abroad and how “it attracts people to the island”. She did outline the need to expand arts focus across different apartments (economics, communications and education). However, I feel more needed to be said, in detail, of supporting individual artists at a grass roots level.

An additional candidate from Fine Gael had not realised that it was one candidate per party policy and made a bit of a fuss about it. He yelped at the chairperson claiming it was “undemocratic” not letting him speak and that it was “not clear in the letter”. It made him appear childish and it was counter productive to the discussion, I did not catch his name.

John Adams, Independent (Cork North Central)  had prepared a speech, which he read out. This is not my preferred style of public speaking though that is not necessarily an indication of quality. He was bold with his words, saying that Triskel Art Centre and council arts offices were unapproachable to artists and that people on the most powerful arts boards have little desire in engaging with arts practitioners.

Adams raised concerns about position of arts officers being held by non-creatives and that generally there are too many administrators in the industry. He claimed art should be brought to a level so that everyone could feel included and concluded that he is “batting for the artists and wanted to bring that wealth to the public”. During the Q & A session he mistakenly called the organisation “The We Love the Arts Campaign” which is only a slogan of The National Campaign for the Arts that was stuck up on the walls. Oddly, this made him appear like he was not really familiar with the campaign and had just read the slogan from the poster.

Mick Barry, Socialist Party, United Left Alliance (Cork North Central) was frank that he was not going to be in the government (due to being a small party) but hoped to be a “voice for the people” locally. He believes that funding is key and that the government’s biggest mistake was the bail out of Anglo Irish Bank.

He mentioned that the play Galileo Galilei was a favourite of his and shared with us a scene in which a character, a poet, was having difficulty composing because of “the rent man skulking around the corner.” His general message was that this is “our society, our community”.

Ted Tynan, Worker’s Union (Cork North Central) also philosophised about bread and roses (very fitting imagery considering that it was Valentine’s day). An advocate for local disadvantaged communities, Tynan spoke of the wealth of talent in our communities. He spoke of his love for books, from which, he received his education. He is fully supporting of the arts. His primary concerns are job creation, unemployment and emigration.

Chris O’Leary, Sinn Féin (Cork South Central) had an assertive style of speaking. He has been involved in the arts throughout his lifetime. He spoke of the “cronies” of political parties on the arts council. He mentioned the FAS C.E. scheme and, although he was not criticising it, he wants to see real jobs being created.

Dan Boyle, Green Party (Cork South Central) pointed out that during the boom the increase in funding was not properly directed. He claimed that in elected his party would nominate artists to serve on the arts council and he believe that he art policies need to be informed by artists. He believes that we need to invest in the arts and concluded a positive note, reminding us that artists strive in times of recession.

Fergus O’Rourke, Independent (Cork North Central) talked about his children who are both emigrant arts professionals. He said he had limited resources and would not make empty promises. He is interested in employment generation and believes that the arts stimulate creativity. He presents himself as being and honest person and claims that “his heart is in the right place.

Diarmuid Cadhla, Independent (Cork South Central) spoke briefly during the open floor. He proposed that he need for funding for the arts should be decided by the people. Which is a myopic opinion as many people have not had the privilege of access to the arts. This prompted Katherine Lynch's comment on the need for increased arts education. Cadhla also spoke in Irish (sadly I could not quite follow this). No doubt he has a love for the language, but I wonder if it was directed and the Fine Gael representatives, given their recent proposals to end compulsory Irish at leaving cert level.

Some members of the audience made very relevant points. Patrick Cotter of the Munster Literature Centre pointed out that the stingy private industry had to be almost blackmailed to donate to local arts organisations. Pat Kiernan of Corcadorca emphasised that both the Arts Council and Culture Ireland are needed. He said that there was no boom for artists and pointed out that Fine Gael's response was focused on the international. Another speaker added that individual arts practitioners can not compete internationally.

The FAS CE schemes were mentioned again, with one person calling for the abolition of FAS and he said that such schemes eliminated jobs in his (our) industry. I agree with this, although I am not against internships and work placement programmes, I do believe that they can be abused. They ought to be a way of gaining extra experience and not the industry standard.

I have only outlined each candidates points and I have tried not to expand too much on my opinions. Otherwise, I fear this would be an endless post.

My apologies if I have misquoted anyone. Please contact me if I have. 

Civic Trust House also posted a report that expands on a few points I have not.

National Campaign for the Arts Valentine's Day Husting

The NCFA are having invited candidates in the upcoming election to public meetings that will be held on Valentine's day. I intend to go. It is one thing to read a candidate's very prepared arts policy but it is entirely more useful to actually hear them speak on the matter. Also, it is important to be seen by the country's potential leaders as a large mobilized arts community. Who are active, organized and politically engaged.

Visual Artists Ireland recently contacted the major parties to outline the arts policy. Fianna Fáil failed to respond. Which indicated that they have given up or that they really don't care bout the arts. Labour, The Greens and Fine Gael all essentially said the same thing. There are a large number of Independents and smaller party candidates this year that were not contacted. I would liked to hear their intentions,  last time I checked Ted Tynan (Worker's Party) and Mick Barry (Socialist Part) were yet to be confirmed for Cork. Hopefully they will attend as both are in my constituency.

It is important to be seen by the country's potential leaders as a large mobilized arts community. Who are active, organized and politically engaged. Unfortunately, artists are (comparatively) very poorly paid. Fortunately, they are a highly educated, problem solving group with great initiative and that is why we have effective organisations such as National Campaign for Arts and Cork Arts Workers.

The timetable for Monday 14 February is;

Cork: 10.45am – 12.00 Crawford Art Gallery
Dublin: 10.45am - 12.15  Project Arts Centre, Temple Bar
Galway: 11.00am Radisson Blu Hotel
Limerick: 10.45am Belltable Arts Centre.

If there is no event for your constituency you can contact your  local candidates to register your interests. A few months ago there were postcards form the NCFA at arts venues for posting to your local representatives they are probably still hanging around. You can also mention it if you meet them on their door to doors (provided you don't live in an apartment without a buzzer like me).

Dancing Bears

I know this is wrong. But they make for curious images.

Art I Like: Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy is a Scottish environment artist. These partially submerged pieces are great. They look like drawings. I only stumbled upon the second piece now, while I was looking for an image of the first, it's perfect. Reminds me of the drawing I just did that I showed in the previous post.


Recent drawings. I think drawing is very important and is a stand alone art practice. In fact, I recall I did my thesis on drawing. I like that drawing reveals the progression of an idea. It shows the bigger picture.

Anyway, here is a little number that seem to reflect my current fascination from icebergs and such.