Northern Ireland cuts confirmed

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Grants to Northern Ireland’s top arts organisations will be cut by 7% this year.

Arts Council Northern Ireland has confirmed that it will be forced to reduce its grants to its major clients as a result of an emergency cut to its own budget of 8% earlier this year.

The 7% cut is less than the 10% which ACNI asked organisations to expect, largely due to savings of £250,000 from its own operating budget.

But the remaining £620,000 will be have to be found by the likes of the Lyric Theatre, the MAC arts centre, the Playhouse Theatre in Derry, the Grand Opera House, the Ulster Orchestra, the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and Féile an Phobail.

For example, the Ulster Orchestra will lose about £125,000 and The Lyric Theatre and the MAC arts centre will lose around £68,000.

As the money they receive is paid in stages, each organisation will not now receive its full grant allocation for 2015/16.

ACNI chief executive Roisin McDonagh, in a letter to the affected organisations, expressed "the shock and disappointment of the council's board members at the magnitude of this cut".

The in year cuts follow a reduction of 11% in ACNI's annual funding for 2015/16 from DCAL had already been cut by 11% or £1.38m in March, and Ms McDonagh also addresses this in her letter.

"The combined effect is an overall unprecedented cut to the arts of almost 20% this year," said McDonagh. She warned that cuts will affect jobs, programming and education and outreach programmes.

ACNI, Bob Collins, has asked Arts Minister Carál Ní Chuilín for an urgent meeting to discuss the cuts.

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