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Proper funding could make West Cork the country's arts capital

April 7th, 2019 7:05 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Geata Arts's Samhain Festival Parade took place in Clonakilty last November. (Photo: Dermot Sullivan)

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WEST Cork could become Ireland’s new ‘Arts Capital’ and surpass Galway if more funding for creative hubs could be generated, according to Clonakilty-based councillor Christopher O’Sullivan.

Cllr O’Sullivan was speaking following the recent announcement of arts grants funding by Cork County Council to various groups in the region. 

He noted that Clonakilty-based Geata Arts received €8,000 towards their performance-based art, while Skibbereen Arts Festival received €6,500 towards the running of their popular event.

‘There are groups in West Cork who are creating miracles on just a shoe string. Imagine what they could do if they received proper funding and investment?’ he asked. 

He paid particular tribute to Geata Arts, who have received widespread acclaim for their Samhain Parades in Clonakilty for the past two years.

‘Many people in West Cork will be very familiar with the incredible work of Craic na Coillte back in the 90s. They were a performance-based group that toured nationwide. For me, Geata Arts are the continuation of the spirit of Craic na Coillte and there is magic on the streets of Clonakilty again.’

Cllr O’Sullivan said that the Council needs to think seriously about investing in spaces for groups like this who have so much potential.

‘There are some exciting proposals on the table for towns like Macroom, Clonakilty and Skibbereen who are all looking to create performances spaces and investment hubs. If the local authority invests in these then I really feel we can go on to become Ireland’s ‘Capital of the Arts.’

Just last month, Cllr O’Sullivan supported  a motion raised by Sinn Féin Cllr Paul Hayes who called on the local authority to purchase the Old Linen Hall in Clonakilty.  A feasibility and sustainability study is to be carried out by Cork County Council before any purchase of the building.

Other successful applicants include Clonakilty International Guitar Festival (€4,000), Clonakilty Community Arts Centre (€1,200), Clonakilty Friends of Asylum Seekers (€1,250), Uilinn: West Cork Arts Centre (€4,000 and South of Ireland Band Championship (€1,250) among others.

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