SHERKIN Island’s arts degree course has been thrown a three-year lifeline by the chief executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey who has committed, in principle, to funding for the next three years.
A letter confirming the Council’s financial backing for the course – described as vital for the socio and economic well being of the island – was sent by Mr Lucey to Michael Collins, the chairman of the Sherkin Island Development Society, on Tuesday.
The news has been described as ‘timely’ by Cllr John O’Sullivan (FG) because an open day for prospective students is scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 29th.
Cllr O’Sullivan said: ‘The Council’s decision to commit to a further three years of funding will secure the future of the DIT course and give both the participants and the staff the reassurance they need to continue with the arts degree course.’
The arts programme on Sherkin Island began in a small, innovative way in the year 2000, but by 2007 it had become a full-accredited degree programme that was funded through various schemes.
That changed in 2012 when Cork County Council and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht became funding partners for the programme.
Initially, they split the cost 50:50 but in May 2016 it was agreed that the Department of Culture would pay €40,000 and the Council would pay €20,000.
The Council did not make its usual payment in 2017 but, following a debate at a meeting of Cork County Council, the local authority subsequently offered €10,000.
However, this latest offer is a full grant of €20,000 from the Council for this year and ‘for a further three years’.