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04/04/2017 - New Creative Ireland Programme unveiled in Donegal

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Cllr. Terence Slowey, Cathaoirleach and Sarah Keaveney, Creative Ireland with Michael O’Reilly Creative Ireland, Joe Peoples and Eileen Burgess from Donegal County Council at the Creative Ireland meeting


There was barely standing room in the Regional Cultural Centre last night as the Creative Ireland team unveiled their ambitious plans for the roll out of the new Creative Ireland programme in Donegal.


Over 120 people from all over the north-west region attended the event which heard from Eileen Burgess, Cultural Services Manager in Donegal County Council, Cathaoirleach Cllr. Terence Slowey and Director of Service Joe Peoples.


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Michael O’Reilly from the Creative Ireland Team


Michael O’Reilly from the Creative Ireland team outlined what the programme is all about and how the success of the 2016 Commemorative Programme has inspired this legacy initiative.


“The Creative Ireland programme is a five year programme which we hope will create a new urgency and provide a new platform to work that is already taking place throughout the country.  We did not expect the 2016 Commemorative programme to be as successful as it was and that success was down to the fact that the programme was developed and delivered by local authorities working within their own communities.  We provided the themes, the design and a bit of funding but the rest was developed locally and it became about so much more than we could ever have hoped for at a national level.”


“The Creative Ireland programme is an individual and society wellbeing strategy and is based on three key principles: collaboration & communications; community empowerment; and internationalisation.  This programme is about all aspects of our life and it is central to the work of all government departments.  It is important that people are aware that this programme is being delivered locally.”


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Sarah Keaveney and Michael O’Reilly from the Creative Ireland Team with Cathaoirleach Cllr Terence Slowey at the Creative Ireland meeting 


There are five pillars in the Creative Ireland Programme: enabling the creative potential of every child, enabling creativity in every community, investing in our creative and cultural infrastructure, Ireland as a Centre of Excellence in media production and unifying our global reputation.


Michael O’Reilly is unapologetic for the fact that this programme is not perfect and he admits that there are a number of gaps that need to be addressed and that the policy context within which it sits has not been rigorously tested using an evidence based analysis.  Instead Mr. O’Reilly believes that rather than spending time testing the theory it is about putting the approach into practice.  “We know that this is the right thing to do and it is an evolving process.  We have set out ten deliverables for 2017 and these will help guide the delivery of the programme over the coming years”.


One of the key deliverables of the programme for 2017 is the development of a Culture and Creativity Plan in every county.  The Donegal Plan will be prepared in the coming weeks and months and will be launched by Minister Heather Humphreys later in the year.


Those attending the meeting were provided with the opportunity to give their feedback on the aspects of the programme that they felt was of most relevance to Donegal and how this programme could be delivered in Donegal.  A number of interesting suggestions emerged from the meeting including ideas such as the development of creative hubs, the production of Donegal based short films, utilising existing creative resources, supporting artists and artist in residence opportunities in schools, networking opportunities, and access to training, to name but a few. The need for better broadband and better public transport was also raised. Unique aspects of and influences on Donegal’s culture were highlighted, including its music, language, islands, geographical location and links with Scotland, with Canada and with the US.  


Those attending were invited to send on other ideas, comments and suggestions to the Creative Ireland team by email to




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