The Arts and Culture in Ireland are underfunded because they are undervalued. Ireland’s per capita statutory funding for arts is one of the lowest in the EU, and despite several positive initiatives such as artists’ exemption, we are lagging behind in building a platform for the Arts.
Advocacy for young artists in Ireland, for their work and for their support is essential if we are not to lose them to emigration because of a perception that our country does not value them.
Arts and Culture promote mental well-being and the promotion of the public’s engagement with them can be an effective means of tackling mental health issues in our country.
Small and family businesses are the lifeblood of the Irish economy yet we are seeing small businesses placed under increasing pressures in a bureaucracy that favours big business.
Advocacy for policy and legislative initiatives to support small business will promote the creation of an ecosystem that will lead to a diversification of businesses and build a stronger, more robust economy.
We are educating our citizens to ever higher levels, yet we are placing financial obstacles in their way. In college they face debt and increasing fees due to university underfunding, after college they find themselves in a rental market that makes home ownership unrealistic so they look to leave, leading to a poor return on investment on the costs of higher education for Ireland.
Advocacy across a range of potential solutions can aim to address these failings including: a reform of university funding; more funding schemes for postgraduate education; the expansion of SUSI type funding supporting part-time further education and training for graduates wishing to continue education while working. It is also essential that the provision of affordable house is prioritised so we retain the talent in which the country has already invested so much.
Although the Irish economy has recovered in many respects from the last crisis, the recovery has been uneven when viewed across the entire country.
The issues which many face now in terms of housing supply, rental costs, commute times and lack of local economic development opportunities can in major part be attributed to this unevenness of recovery. Advocacy for both an approach to policy that takes an overarching perspective and for
policies that will aim to redress the current imbalance is crucial for the long term social and economic well being of our country.
In the lifetime of any Government it faces both issues that were present prior to its assuming office and problems that arise unexpectedly. Policies have to be constructed and implemented to deal with both types of concerns.
The danger of unintended consequences hovers in the background when any policy is being devised and even more so when there are several being proposed and pressed for simultaneously. Strong “devil’s” advocacy is required to ensure that proposals being brought before the houses are coherent in themselves, consistent with other operating policies, and can actually be implemented.
The purpose of the Seanad as a sounding board and as an examining body is misunderstood and a programme of increasing public awareness of its work would serve to garner greater appreciation of its role within the country’s governance. The possible institution of another third-level constituency for those not currently served by that of the University of Dublin and the National University of Ireland. The three seats associated with this “new” constituency could be taken from the 11 currently appointed directly by the Taoiseach. Perhaps the other eight seats appointed by the Taoiseach might be elected, on the basis of a list system, directly by the general public.