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20/09/18 Donegal Culture and Creativity Strategy launched as part of the Creative Ireland Programme

Creative Ireland launch

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister Eoghan Murphy and Minister Josepha Madigan with Tania Banotti, Director, Creative Ireland Programme and representatives from each of the 31 Local Authorities including Joseph Gallagher, Heritage Officer Donegal County Council at the launch of their 5 year Culture and Creativity Strategies.  


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., on Wednesday last for the launch of Donegal 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 Donegal 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 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 the 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  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 Chief Executives, 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 EoghanMurphy 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.”


Some of the special initiatives prioritised as part of Donegal Culture and Creativity Strategy 2018 – 2022 include:


  • To create an online cultural portal for public information
  • To develop strong links with tourism bodies to increase visitor engagement with culture
  • To carry out audience research to identify levels and patterns of cultural engagement
  • To encourage cultural programmes and activities in the context of health and wellbeing, nature and environment, tourism, and education
  • To establish a forum for the strategic development of culture in the county
  • To develop and promote learning opportunities such as formal courses, short training programmes and workshops
  • To communicate with the Donegal diaspora on culture and creativity
  • To establish an Open House programme to promote the county’s built heritage and culture
  • To support the establishment of creative hubs working as a co-operative to share resources, skills and costs
  • To investigate and encourage the re-use of historic/vacant buildings for cultural activities


Seamus Neely, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council said: “Donegal County Council is fully committed to the continued development of culture and creativity in Donegal and we believe that by investing in arts, culture, heritage and language we are committing to a healthier, more fulfilled, prosperous, successful place.  The Donegal Culture and Creativity Strategy 2018 – 2022 sets out a clear framework that will enable us in collaboration with all stakeholders in this vibrant sector to achieve our ambitions”.

Full details of the Donegal Culture and Creativity Strategy 2018 – 2022 can be found at or //


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