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Martin Commits €1m Funding for Virtual St Patrick’s Festival

Martin Commits €1m Funding for Virtual St Patrick’s Festival

The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media is getting behind St Patrick’s Festival 2021 as part of its ongoing work to support and showcase Irish artists and the creative community despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister Catherine Martin has committed up to €1m in programme funding from her Department in addition to €400,000 in business continuity funding through Fáilte Ireland.

St Patrick’s Festival 2021 is placed to act as an economic driver in the arts and entertainment sector at a time of ongoing crisis, by providing employment and commissioning funding for artists, creators and live entertainment, bringing the nation six virtual days and nights of events, while also showcasing Ireland, its culture, heritage and wider tourism offering.

Furthermore, hundreds of performers, creators, artists, freelance crew, and technical workers, who typically engage in much paid work during the St Patrick’s Day celebrations, are set to be employed as a result of this government support.

Despite the pandemic, the show goes on, with a packed itinerary to be unveiled this week by the St Patrick’s Festival team. The Festival, which will run online on St Patrick’s Festival TV (SPF TV) from March 12 to 17, will tell the stories of our dynamic, modern, diverse culture, and celebrate our proud ancient traditions, offering more than 100 events for the nation to enjoy. The continuation of our St Patrick’s tradition also sends out the message that the country is ready, once it is safe to do so, to welcome the world to its shores to celebrate with us.

“This year’s Festival message calls on all Irish, at home and abroad, to cherish our ancient traditions alongside our contemporary culture and celebrate them in safety. It positions Ireland firmly in the mind of the world with a message of hope for brighter days ahead for people here at home while reassuring tourists that, when it is safe for them to do so, they will be welcomed to celebrate with us once more. I am particularly pleased that this dynamic programme will provide some employment for our arts and entertainment community and a rare opportunity for them to perform at a time when they need both most.” Catherine Martin.

“The St Patrick’s Festival week is a highlight of the calendar for creativity and tourism,” she added. “Without support, a vital part of our identity wouldn’t be marked in the way that we want. The Department is determined that this year, despite all the difficulties of COVID-19, Ireland can celebrate its culture.”

Announcing €22,000 in funding for Irish language elements of the programmes, the Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Sport and Defence, Jack Chambers TD, said: “I am pleased that my Department will be supporting Nathanna Cainte, a series of Irish language events as part of this year’s St Patrick’s Festival. The Irish language is central to our identity, and it is important that that we celebrate the language within the Festival’s programme of events in a manner that maximises its exposure to our domestic and international audiences. With Irish language events taking place online this year, including a reading workshop for young people and a bilingual poetry event, I hope that people at home and abroad enjoy the Festival.”

In a show of cross-government support for the nation’s national day, the Department has been working with relevant stakeholders, including Roinn an Taoisigh and the Department of Foreign Affairs, to promote the work and boost the impact of this year’s St Patrick’s Festival.

The Festival is now Ireland’s leading multi-disciplinary arts festival and civic celebration around Ireland’s national day. With St Patrick’s Festival going online this year, there is an incredible opportunity for the nation and the world to take a front row seat at all of this year’s events. The iconic festival has become a valuable national asset showcasing Irish cultural and creative talent to a worldwide-audience and promoting in a unique way Ireland’s tourism, cultural, diplomatic and trade links with the world.

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Fionn Davenport is the editor-in-chief of the ITTN group, including ITTN and ITTN Ireland. He's one of Ireland's best-known travel journalists and writers, with nearly 30 years' experience writing guidebooks for Lonely Planet and others.

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