The main legislative support for visual arts in Ireland is the Arts Act (2003), which established the Arts Council. Visual arts are supported through grants for artists and arts organisations. Visual artists can also apply to Revenue Commissioners for tax exemption on earning up to EUR 50,000 from the sale of their work. The works must be deemed to be original and creative. This is supported by Section 195 of the Taxes Consolidation Act. (See chapter 4.1.4 for more information.)
The One Per Cent for Art Scheme in Ireland was first introduced in 1978. Since 1997, the scheme approves the inclusion of up to 1% as funding for an art project subject to a cap of EUR 64,000 within the budgets of public infrastructure projects. However, pooling of projects has allowed for more substantial art projects. The Arts Council plays a developmental role in the scheme. The implementation is the responsibility of the local authority arts office. Many arts offices have an assistant arts officer position specifically assigned to the role of public arts development at county or municipal area.
There is no specific legislation governing crafts in Ireland. It is not listed in the definition of art forms supported under the Arts Act (2003).
The copyright legislation in Ireland creates many cultural limitations on re-use or interpretation of works. The Copyright and Related Rights (Amendment) Act (2004) clarifies that a person could place literary and artistic works on public exhibition, without breaching the copyright vested in such cultural texts. However, the ad hoc legislation is inadequate against the protective will of many artists’ estates. Many artists estates are extremely protective which inhibits the use of visual references to such works within academic studies. There is potential for the defense of ‘fair use’ to be expanded to allow for the transformative use of copyright works, particularly in respect of adaptations and derived works by visual artists. However, there has been limited legal testing of such defenses to date.