AWARD-winning West Cork film-maker Carmel Winters has highlighted the current artists tax exemption, as being unfair to several genres of artists.
She pointed out that it only benefits visual artists, sculptors, composers of music, and writers, and does not apply to actors, directors, musicians who are not composers, dancers and a myriad other performance artists, and artistic endeavours in community, health and education.
Speaking at the recent National Campaign for the Arts Cork South West Hustings, which took place at Uillinn, Skibbereen, Carmel suggested the general election candidates also be wary of arts spending on infrastructure that goes to builders and architects rather than directly to artists. It was also described as a mistake by some in attendance that no artists had been consulted to make the necessary structural Skibbereen flood walls ‘at least in some way aesthetically pleasing to the beautiful West Cork town.’
The National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA) had invited all candidates to address the arts community and answer questions about their arts policies.
Candidates who made up the panel were: Bernie Connolly, Greens; Kevin O’Connor, People before Profit; Cllr Paul Hayes, Sinn Féin; Cllr Holly Cairns, Social Democrats; Cllr Karen Coakley, Fine Gael; Deputy Michael Collins TD, Independent; and Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan Fianna Fáil.
NCFA co-ordinator Yvonne Coughlan described the arts as a necessity, and not a luxury.
‘The arts are an asset. Not an overhead,’ she told the audience.
‘We are not asking for a handout, we are telling you that the arts are not only at the heart of Ireland, with social benefits in a multitude, but are a financial staple, and paying dividends to our country.’