According to the ministerial 2019 budget speech (November 2018), the departmental expenditure for the arts and culture sector in 2019 increased by EUR 22.6 million to almost EUR 190 million, which is an increase of 14% on 2018. This funding related to EUR 148.2 million in current expenditure and EUR 41.7 million in capital investment.
Local authorities are the second largest funding source for the arts in Ireland. In 2018, their net investment was almost EUR 40.1million. Local authority’s arts expenditure now represents a significant proportion of the total figure of expenditure on culture in Ireland. Data collated annually by the Arts Council states that between 2005–2014 Arts Council funding of the arts totalled EUR 623 million, while local authority expenditure figures on the arts totalled EUR 386 million. However, local authority arts funding was severely cut during the recession and is only recently recovering. An embargo on recruitment of new staff was put in place across the entire civil service in Ireland in response to the recession in 2008. While this embargo is beginning to lift in places, it still impacts greatly on the service provision at local authority level. Programming budgets were cut from the level of both the national Arts Council and the local authorities.This had an enormous impact on the sustainability of the professional arts level in Ireland and on the opportunity for people to participate in and engage with the arts.
Table 5. Public cultural expenditure by level of government
|Level of government||Total expenditure in EUR|
|2018||% share of total||2019||% share of total|
|State (central, federal)||166.4m||80.60%||189m*||81%|
|Regional (provincial, etc.)||0||0||0||0|
|Local (municipal, incl. counties)||40.1m**||19.40%||44.5m***||19%|
*Exchequer Funding, Further Revised Estimate
**Arts Council Annual Report, 2018
***Arts Council Annual Report, 2019
 Arts Council, Three Year Plan Making Great Art Work, 2020 – 2022.