Chronic lack of cultural investment

Ian McGarry, Equity general secretary has put a proposal in front of Peter Hain to tackle what he terms the general lack of investment in Northern Irish culture and arts. He is critical of several players in the field.

“For decades there has been under-investment, which perhaps was understandable when it was hard even to take film crews on location in Northern Ireland, given the situation. But we think the circumstances are there now for investment to go ahead.”

Union representatives were particularly disappointed with recent government cuts to the Arts Council Northern Ireland budget.

“We thought it was a regrettable decision,” said McGarry. “There is so little theatre in Northern Ireland. The Lyric in Belfast had to cut back on productions. There is no theatre in education, virtually no small-scale theatre.

“There is virtually no investment by the BBC or UTV in drama in the province. It’s a cultural desert.”