via The Irish TImes

DEIRDRE FALVEY Arts Editor

THE ARTS sector is worth €782 million a year to the economy and employs 26,519 people, research released yesterday has found.

Assessment of Economic Impact of the Arts in Ireland, a report by Indecon Economic Consultants, commissioned by the Arts Council and written by economist Dr Alan Gray, suggests the economic impact of the arts may be larger than generally perceived.

“Previous figures bandied about significantly have overestimated the economic impact of the arts sector,” Mr Gray said at a briefing on the report yesterday. Because they overstated the economic impact of the arts they were not taken seriously and “led economists and policymakers to believe the arts had no impact or minimal impact on the economy.”

But this Indecon report “shows the arts sector does have significant economic impact”.

Some €76 million of Arts Council funding to organisations in Ireland supports more than 3,000 jobs, generates €192 million in turnover, and €54 million of it returns directly to the exchequer in taxes, the report found.

Arts Council chairwoman Pat Moylan said: “At last we can back up what we have known by instinct – the Arts Council is making a very significant contribution to the Irish economy, and can help to generate hundreds more jobs right now, for a proportionately small extra investment.”

Dr Gray said the research was rigorous and independent and the analysis showed the arts and cultural sectors had a significant economic impact. “While I do not believe that the arts should be evaluated solely on economic grounds, it is clear the sector is an important and labour-intensive one. It also makes a significant contribution to exchequer revenues.”

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