Wednesday, June 14, 2006


This "press release" just landed in my inbox (and that of every journalist in Ireland, by the looks of the cc. list). It comes from Visual Arts Ireland and the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild. And I'd like to know just how they have worked out that they speak for ALL Irish artists in the very debatable first line. Hey, let's all issue press releases on behalf of communities we haven't bothered to contact first. OK, let's assume they contacted every single visual artist, playwright and screenwriter in the country. That still leaves a lot of people in the category of "artist" who are being spoken for here, on a very contentious matter.

Yes, the tax exemption scheme is a good thing for artists. But that doesn't mean that artists have to get down on their knees and join the current revisionist hysteria.


Irish artists owe a debt of gratitude to Charles Haughey, regardless of their personal or political views and affiliations, a debt they want to acknowledge.

In a time of rapid and radical economic and cultural development, art plays an essential, often unrecognised role in identifying and examining the impact – individual and societal – of the many and often unexpected changes that are occurring. Charles Haughey made tangible his recognition of the role of artists in Ireland.

The income tax exemption scheme for artists, introduced when he was Minister for Finance in 1969, has been hugely beneficial to artists living here and has been recognised by the artistic community worldwide as visionary in its impact.

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