09 March 2018
DUP South Belfast MLA Christopher Stalford has called for Sinn Fein to be honest with the arts sector about funding and said their ‘hypocrisy is worthy of a theatrical award”.
Mr Stalford said,
“Sinn Fein held the Arts Ministry, yet during that time failed to address funding problems in the arts sector. Instead, Sinn Fein prioritised pet cultural projects.
Sinn Fein cannot erase Carál Ni Chuilin’s record as Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister. During that tenure, cuts totalling nearly £8.5million were implemented. On average nearly a £1.7million cut each year. When a DUP Minister came into post in 2016-2017, funding for the Arts increased by £317,000.
Ministers are entitled to make the case for extra funding for specific areas in their Departments. Sinn Fein have a record of failure for the arts yet are now sprinting to every protest about arts funding. The hypocrisy is shameless. Its worthy of a theatrical award.
In 2014, a former Arts Council of Northern Ireland Director accused their Arts Minister of;
“clearly [having] absolutely no notion of what is going on in the arts in Northern Ireland.”
Mairtin O’Muilleoir shouts now but when he was Finance Minister he prioritised a narrow SF cultural agenda over any meaningful solution for the wider arts sector in Northern Ireland.
If Sinn Fein was really serious about helping the arts sector, they would drop their red lines and get back to work in an Executive.”